Planning your participation at an exhibition or trade show is about knowing what you want to achieve, the purpose for exhibiting within your overall marketing strategy and organising your exhibition logistics.
Before making the commitment to exhibit, you need to set specific objectives. Consider why you might exhibit:
- Customer Relationships
- Market Research
- Media Relations/PR
- Brand Building
- Channel Building and Support
Set measurable and realistic exhibiting objectives
Ask yourself some straightforward questions and use your answers to form your specific exhibition objectives:
- Why do I want to exhibit at this show?
- What products and/or services will I be exhibiting?
- What do I want to accomplish at the show?
- What image do I want to portray?
- How does this exhibition fit into my overall sales and marketing plans?
- How will I measure the results?
- What will I do with the information and data gathered at the show?
Your exhibiting objectives need to be measurable and achievable. Setting ambitious targets is important but you need to be realistic. Keep it simple. You can measure success against each of the reasons above.
Understand why you want to exhibit and what you want to achieve before you book your stand space.
Select your exhibition
Selecting which exhibition to attend should be easy if you follow your objectives. However, also consider the following:
- Gather as much information as possible about the exhibition
- Ask the exhibition organisers for the previous registration form and an attendee profile
- This will tell you who you should meet on the show floor
- Ask the organisers for names of confirmed exhibitors – are your competition exhibiting?
- Ask past exhibitors and visitors what they liked and disliked about the show
- Ask them whether it met their buying and selling needs
- Ask the exhibition organisers:
- How they are promoting the show,
- How they will find your target audience, and
- How they will help you get your target audience to your stand
Remember – it’s not enough to exhibit because the exhibition organiser tells you your competitors are there or because your sales team believe you should exhibit. Select the exhibition because it fulfills your exhibiting objectives.
Write an exhibition plan
Planning an exhibition requires you to start the process at least 6 months in advance, sometimes longer. Write an exhibition plan that you can share with colleagues, delegate responsibilities and adhere to deadlines. Appoint an exhibition co-ordinator.
A written exhibition plan should include:
- Exhibiting objectives
- Timescales and budget
- Space requirements
- Stand design and graphic design parameters
- Key message(s) to be communicated
- Products and/or services to be exhibited
- On-site services needed and deadlines
- Transportation and logistics
- Stand staff selection and training
- Pre-show, at-show and post-show promotional activity
- On-stand data capture
- Show evaluation criteria
- Follow-up procedures
Each part of your exhibition plan works together to create synergy and a formula for success.
Further help with exhibition planning
Marketingesp has been involved in exhibition and live events for more than two decades. We can help you with all aspects of exhibiting including planning, promotion, stand staff training workshops and how to measure and follow up.
Before you book your next exhibition talk to Marketingesp.