- Plan Well Ahead of the Event.
Consider the reasons why you are exhibiting. What are you trying to achieve? What is your marketing narrative? Are you trying to gain exposure for your business? Trying to find new leads? Adjusting your market position? Or perhaps promoting a new product or service? It is vital your marketing objectives are clear and concise as it will guide your planning decisions. Ensure all your staff and relevant personnel are thoroughly briefed and understand those objectives. Communicate your marketing objectives to your event organiser and stand builder to ensure your stand position and design meets those needs.
- Position Position Position
The old real estate adage also applies to exhibitions. Get a floorplan and study it thoroughly. Consider the entry and exit points, the flow through of the floor space (people have a tendency to walk towards the café/refreshment area), where industry groupings are located and the space layout – is it an island, corner, side or booth space. Who are your neighbours? Again, your marketing objectives and needs will determine where you will be positioned. Do you wish to stay alongside complementary companies who will share potential leads (for example, it may be beneficial for a printer manufacturer to exhibit alongside a camera company), or be positioned next to market leaders or away from potential competitors. Check with the organiser or venue manager your size limits such as height restrictions and allowances for overhead rigging and banners. An experienced exhibition designer will know how to design around those restrictions whilst keeping to your marketing objectives.
- Train and Motivate Your Staff
Exhibiting is one of the most effective ways of gaining leads. However, bored and uninterested staff who tell customers to “go look it up on our website” is just as effective at driving away potential leads. Ensure you adequately train your staff and have them understand the marketing objectives of your exhibitions. Plan ahead so that staff members have adequate breaks and refreshments and wear professional but comfortable attire (comfortable shoes are essential!). Don’t eat, slouch or bunch together. Most importantly smile and be willing to approach people!
- Have Plenty of Brochures / Product Literature
Your clients and potential leads have taken the time and in many cases, spent considerable money to attend your trade show. Telling potential clients to “go look it up on our website” when they ask for a brochure or further information is rude and inconsiderate. Small gifts such as branded pens are also a nice touch and shows appreciation to the client.
- Talk Less, Listen More
Take the time to understand the client’s needs and problems. Help facilitate the prospect into talking about themselves and discussing their needs.
- Inform and Invite People to Your Stand
Use the power of social media, websites and direct mail to invite people to attend your stand. Offer free passes for those who register on your website. Exhibiting shouldn’t just be used to chase new leads but to facilitate and expand existing relationships. If you don’t invite or inform people, your competitors will.
- Use Clear and Concise Graphics
Ensure your graphics and media keep to message and convey your marketing narrative. Again, your marketing plan should guide the design and layout of your graphics.
- Take Advantage of the Latest Technologies
Monitors and flatscreens are a great resource to attract attention and display the most up to date information. Use them. Explore the options of using light projectors, overhead banners and other electronic signage. Your event organiser and stand builder should be a good resource and advise accordingly. Add interactivity with touchscreens and iPads. Allow your clients the ability to add their details and keep up to date which leads to the next point…
- Track and Follow Up Your Leads
Being able to gather information and track clients is the only objective metric to determine the success of your exhibition stand. Trackers such as Infosalons are great devices that allow you to gather information simply by scanning the visitors name tag. Listen to your prospects (see point 5) and ensure to make notes for future reference. Other interactive devices such as touch screens and iPads allow other options for prospects to add their details. The hard work does not end at the close of show. Ensure your staff follow up leads and collate all the data gathered to see trends and market needs
- Choose Your Builder Wisely
The saying “The quality remains long after the price is forgotten” applies here. Things to consider should include: Do they take the time to understand your needs? Have they sought to understand your marketing objectives and corporate culture? Will they be receptive to change or alterations to design themes? Do they have the experience and knowledge to create successful and eye-catching stands? Will they work to tight deadlines? How do you get along with the builder? (Are they aggressive, receptive, closed or open minded etc?)
We hope this guide is useful for planning your next exhibition event. Cavalier Design & Exhibitions is an exhibition designer builder company based in Sydney. With over 31 years in business, we have the experience and knowledge to help make your show a success.
Cavalier Design & Exhibitions
4/2187 Castlereagh Rd
Penrith NSW 2750