Representing your brand at trade fairs or exhibitions is not for the faint hearted. You have the early starts, the physical exertion to set up, trying a million and one ways to entice people to your stand and non-stop formal dialogue with potential customers. Not only that, but the planning starts months in advance to ensure you’ve covered every aspect of the day in the hope of maximising the last cent of investment return.
Are exhibitions really all that when it comes to creating new customers, forming long-term business relationships and maintaining a place in the market? Why are exhibitions so important these days? And would you really be missing out if you didn’t attend?
What do the figures say?
The UK events industry is booming. Worth a whopping £42.3 billion to the economy, £11 million of this is generated by Exhibitions and Trade Fairs. Each year more than 13 million visitors are attracted to these events, 20% from outside the UK, highlighting the important financial role of this sector. Those exhibiting are thought to spend £2.7 billion (2010) on goods and services to promote their brand at the show*. (Eventbrite)
One of the most important problems of the modern-day company is the physical distance between producers and consumers and lack of direct communication between them. Exhibitions can bring the two groups together, forming a commercial connection and recreating the face to face liaison. The effects of this are beneficial for both businesses and customers alike.
Exhibitions – beneficial for businesses
Advantages for businesses who display at exhibitions:
- They provide a platform for companies, professionals and industry experts to come together, share information and build long-lasting business relationships.
- They are a key opportunity to market products and services through direct selling and advertising, thus increasing profitability.
- They are a major stimulus for industrial and commercial development.
- They are a good way to test the success of a new product in a given market.
- They enable businesses to identify competitors and to check on their activities and current status.
- They help companies to keep in contact with the trends and changes in the sector or industry.
- They are a way to research distribution and exportation opportunities.
- They provide a pool from which to recruit new team members, representatives and dealers.
- They highlight new customer groups.
- They help to develop strong media relations.
Exhibitions – beneficial for the visitors
Visitors attending exhibitions, whether they are trade members or the general public, also stand to benefit:
- They provide opportunities to interact with innovators, sellers and representatives.
- They allow the customer to be hands on and trial the product or ask questions about it.
- They are a way to learn about new innovations, research and trends in the marketplace or industry.
- They enable the consumer to personally put ‘a face’ behind a brand, product or service, increasing purchase confidence.
- They allow employees the opportunity to escape their usual routine and give members of the public the chance for a special day out.
- They provide a platform for negotiation.
- They enable ‘off-duty’ staff to inspect the competitors.
- They give potential employees a forum to see what’s on offer in the job market.
- They provide you with freebies, samples and numerous gadgets and gismos!
With so many assets to be reaped from attending exhibitions it makes sense for businesses to plan and participate in at least one show per year, or their business may become commercially disadvantaged. But what if budgets are low, human resources are limited and time available to prepare is in short supply?
Tips for keeping your exhibition presence simple
Attending a trade show or exhibition does not have to be an elaborate and long-winded affair. There are methods to adopt if you want to keep your stand simple but effective in drawing the visitors.
Choose your venue wisely – the bigger and more well known the venue, the greater the numbers attending the show and the higher the cost to exhibit. Select a suitable show for your business locally or at one of the lesser known sites throughout the country. Some are listed below:
- Ricoh Arena – Coventry
- The BIC – Bournemouth
- The Brighton Centre – Brighton
- Event City – Manchester
- The Business Design Centre- London
- Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre – Scotland
Design your own stand – you’ll be surprised how little equipment you need to keep your booth uncluttered and attractive to the passers-by. Order your display stands, printed banners, lighting and furniture online and chat to the inhouse designers. Rather than opting for a complete exhibition kit, choose a wide roller banner as a colourful backdrop to your stand, framed in the corners by magnetic display frames printed with your USPs or your company logo or an attention-grabbing question or quote. Fill the space with a small pop up counter, some comfy chairs or use a trestle table covered with a printed cloth decorated with your company colours.
Alternatively, you can seek out furniture available at the venue to dress up for your stand. Some carefully positioned lighting and an overhead banner advertising your brand will complete the set.
For more information on how to create your own exhibition stand read our blog ‘It’s those finishing touches that gets your exhibition stand noticed.’
Stick to your budget – don’t get carried away buying expensive equipment or overspending on free gifts and merchandise for customers.
Draw in the visitors – appeal to the senses of those walking past by playing a promotional video, using catchy background music or even plugging in the coffee pot to get their attention.
Pick the right team – even if you only have two or three representatives, makes sure they are either good at drawing in the people or at spotting the ‘right’ potential customer and bringing them to the stand.
Let your customers know you’ll be at the show – in the weeks leading up to the exhibition upload information on your website, counting down the days. Also contact existing and potential customers by email letting them to let them know where your stand is located and what you will be offering in the way of incentives.
Whether you’re exhibiting for the first time or would benefit from a guiding hand, the Roller Banners Team offer their design and printing expertise to help make your exhibition a success!