Exhibitions are one of the best forms of marketing: they offer face to face contact with new and existing customers and are a valued and honest part of the marketing mix.
Why do I want to exhibit?
Effective exhibiting doesn't rely on big expenditure but on being precise about what you want to achieve and how. Some sound reasons for exhibiting are:
- To gather a rich and pertinent source of new sales leads - both from new and existing customers.
- To establish a higher profile in the market using the only three-dimensional, direct marketing medium.
- To meet your audience face to face and know whether what you have to offer is what they want or need.
- To get to know your target market better.
- To launch a new product or service.
- To present your product or service alongside your competitors.
- To conduct research into your industry, product or service.
How do I know which is the right show for me?
An information pack will give you all the information from who's taking part to who visits and what seminars, workshops, demonstrations and other features are incorporated.
- Some organisers also have a proven track record which will give you an indication of the quality and impact of the show on your marketplace.
- Is the organiser a member of a trade body such as the AEO or the IEOA? If so, they are guaranteed to adhere to a code of conduct that includes visitor auditing, high levels of promotion, commitment to excellence and rigorous health and safety standards.
- Does the visitor profile match the audience you'd like to meet? For example, AEO and IEOA members are required to independently audit and research their events and will be able to supply detailed information.
- Are other exhibitors my competitors or do you know anyone who's either exhibited or visited? If so, ask them what they think about the event; an insider viewpoint is always worth having.
- Are the added-value elements to the show pertinent to my audience? If so, the organiser will be working hard to attract the right visitors for you. How is the show promoted? Make sure you're happy that a thorough job is being carried out on exhibitors' behalf.
Can I become part of the visitor promotion campaign?
This is only feasible if you book early enough to take advantage of the organiser's pre-planning.
- Establish how much you will spend. Dedicating the right resources to your attendance is pivotal to making the show work for you. Effective exhibiting doesn't rely on big expenditure but on being precise about what you want to achieve and how.
- Select the best stand for you from the floor plan. Consider how close you might be to features, hospitality or catering areas and how being in a crowded area might impact your activity. Ask the organiser about people-flow around the show and book a stand to suit your purpose.
- Consider how you can piggy-back on show promotion and dovetail your presence with your own marketing and PR strategies.
- Brief your staff and agencies at an early stage so they can plan ahead with you.
- Plan your stand; your original reasons for taking part are your key objectives which will steer your decisions in terms of stand design, who will represent you and how. Establish how you will monitor and record activity on the stand and how it will help you measure your performance during and after the show.
- Seek advice, if you need it, about your stand design. Your organiser can point you in the right direction or introduce you to trusted suppliers that understand the medium. The nature of the stand might also depend on whether or not you plan to use it again. Take advantage of the support that's set up by organisers.
- Be ready on time, brief your staff, make sure everything is in place to meet your objectives and measure the results.
- Follow up after the show: don't let your leads or prospects go cold, use the PR machine to let people know what you've achieved.