“An organised presentation and display of a selection of items … usually within a cultural or educational setting.” - Wikipedia
A business needs to maintain its presence in the industry, watch their competitor’s movements and create opportunities to liaise with potential customers. Attending a trade show effectively covers off these requirements. Not only this but including exhibitions in the Marketing Strategy enables the 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) to be closely monitored and adjusted in one hit.
Exhibitions, Trade Shows, Fairs, Expos and Presentations are a must as a marketing tool in broadcasting your message, announcing to your market what you are about and weighing up the competition. They also create an ideal opportunity to meet potential clients face to face. But these benefits come at a cost, literally. It’s certainly not cheap to attend exhibitions so a good return on investment is required to warrant the proportion of budget and effort involved.
Planning is key
Attending an exhibition can be a cost-effective way of rubbing shoulders with existing customers and making new contacts too. The Key to squeezing the value out of attending such events is careful planning, leaving yourself plenty of time to get all the elements right. It needn’t be complicated as just a few steps are needed:
- Start contact with the identified market
- Make your display creative and eye catching
- Attract and reach out to potential clients
- Listen and take note of their feedback
- Reminisce & recount the event’s success
- Analyse information gathered & follow up
Calculating the cost
Build an impressive display
Your exhibition stand doesn’t need to be the biggest or the most expensive, provided it does its job effectively. You can stack the odds in your favour with a great location - it can be worth liaising with the organisers a few weeks before the event to secure a top setting for a not-too-top price. Corner plots or being near the café are a great bet, while it’s recommended to avoid the toilets!
What kit is available?
Choose a selection of display units to create visual interest and to fill the space completely, width, breadth and height. Kits comprising counters, stands, banners and flags are good value, but a couple of well-placed roller banners are just as effective if the budget doesn’t stretch that far and they can be used again and again. Don’t forget to include accessories in the budget, such as lighting, strut cards for advertising and promotional literature for distribution.
For inspiration on how to make your display stand out read our blog ‘Excelling Exhibition Stands.’
How to pull in the punters?
Tips to make the most of the big event
Select the exhibition and venue based on the products and services you are offering and the type of customers you expect to attend. As soon as your place is booked set in motion communication with your chosen public informing of your presence at the show and why they need to be there. Advertise in special interest magazines, trade journals, the show programme and make the most of low-cost social media by tweeting and posting frequently on the run up to the event.
Contact existing customers via email informing them of your intention to participate in the exhibition and the special incentives you will be offering. Highlight how their business will benefit personally and attempt to make appointments to meet on the day.
Well before the show, scan all promotional materials, posters and business cards for mistakes ensuring contact details are legible and up-to-date. Organise your backdrop displays or roller banners employing a graphic designer for a professional finish.
People may love freebies but avoid wasting money on irrelevant gimmicks that will be forgotten and discarded. Be sure every gift is relevant, practical and deserves a place at the table.
You can’t go wrong with the offer of food and drink and a cosy seat to sit on. Harness the senses of passers-by with a pot of freshly brewed coffee or baked cookies.
When an interested visitor stops at your stand avoid cornering them and make them feel at ease by giving them space and smiling. Use the skills of the team to make contact by prepping the outgoing staff member to initiate conversation or the good listener for more timid individuals.
Immediately after the event, get any new relationships off on the right foot and follow up as soon as possible with a welcome email and a call to action, providing promised information or details as a matter of priority.
For more information on UK Exhibition venues read our blogs: