Thinking of Exhibiting? Here’s Some Preparation Tips
14 Jul 2014
Exhibitions are activities in your business’s sales and marketing calendar, and a great deal of preparation is usually involved to ensure that the spend sees a suitable return and that the exhibition achieves your objectives.
Here are five top tips for ensuring that your exhibitions are consistently excellent.
As with many marketing activities, the most important element of this marketing mix is the location of your stand. Think carefully about the questions that you want to ask the exhibiting venue. For example, what spaces are available for the stand, and what will the room’s layout be? Make sure you don’t buy a pitch that is stranded at the back of the exhibition or you will lose valuable footfall. Ask for a location map to ascertain where the majority of visitor flow is likely to be — considering entrances, speaker points and breakout areas. Many attendees will keep their visit brief and simple rather than seeking out distant stands.
Think carefully about available sign space and measure up your existing materials for the unit on offer. Check whether you need sockets, furniture or other accessories which are often made available by the event organisers at large venues but which are likely to be chargeable.
You may want to design bespoke stand materials for the event. Quality printing, good graphics and eye-catching designs can ensure that you attract visitors and promote your message. There are various different types on offer. For a small event and venue, a simple single pull-up stand is usually sufficient. For a bigger event, you may want a six-panel pop-up stand with lighting or a customised stand. Consider too whether you need handouts, forms, promotional materials or other items.
Ask to get a copy of the attendee list. This will impact on the communication channels or materials that you produce and bring with you to the event. For example, are the attendees end customers, referrers, influencers, decision makers or stakeholders? If no set attendee list is available, you should be able to make an educated guess from the target audience, marketing channels, time of event, location and so forth.
As well as considering your own exhibition presence, work out who will be exhibiting around you and whether there are any competitors to consider. You may want to place yourself strategically away from direct competitors and close to complimentary services.
Ascertain how many delegate passes you will receive on the day for your exhibition price and which staff you want present on the stand. You may want some particularly knowledgeable and excellent customer-facing staff, and some of your sales reps circulating or attending breakout sessions or networking events. Make sure your staff know when to attend, what their role is and the outcomes of the day. Try to ensure that they have name badges and business cards to hand.
For added value and increased visibility at the event, it is worth investigating sponsorship options. For larger exhibitions, there will often be a tiered list of sponsors. At the very least, sponsorship should ensure that your branding and messaging is present on key exhibition materials and visibly promoted at the event too. You may find that there is an opportunity to offer your services to the exhibition organisers in order to receive sponsorship options rather than pay out for an advertised package. Bear in mind that there is often an opportunity to negotiate on sponsorship packages, especially if anchor sponsorships haven’t been filled in the run-up to an event.