Planning an Exhibition
Exhibitions and trade fairs are a great way to promote your business and get to know other companies working within the industry – competitors as well as partners.
However, before you can even begin to benefit from exhibiting, you should ensure that you have very clear objectives and that the event fits within your wider marketing strategy. Exhibiting just for the sake of exhibiting, or because your competitors will be, is rarely a good enough reason and will be a waste of the significant time and money invested.
Planning objectives must be specific, realistic, achievable and easily measurable. They might include, market research, sales, networking, customer relationship building and/or PR/media goals.
Committing to an Exhibition Presence
Before making the final decision to commit to an exhibition, ask the following questions:
- Why exhibit?
- What are we exhibiting?
- What do we hope to achieve?
- How do we want to present our organisation to attendees and fellow exhibitors?
- What are our long term marketing goals and will exhibiting fit with these?
- How will results be measured?
Ambitious targets are great for the long term, but objectives also need to be measurable and realistic for the short term.
Planning an Exhibition
Once you have made the decision to exhibit, planning should commence. At least 6 months should be allowed in order to be properly prepared for the event. Writing a comprehensive exhibition plan is the first step. Ideally, all relevant members of the team should be involved in writing the plan, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to proposed outcomes.
A detailed plan should include budgets, time scales, logistics, key messages, data capture techniques and methods for post event evaluation. In order to ensure that the process is cohesive across all departments, it can be helpful to assign a specific manager or management team to co-ordinate planning.
Choosing an Event
Once the objectives and budgets are clear, choosing which exhibitions to attend will be far easier. Key ways in which to identify the most beneficial events include:
- Compare information for each exhibition – time scales, costs, type of event – which is right for your campaign?
- Contact exhibition organisers and request details of previous events – exhibitor and attendee profiles are particularly helpful in identifying who else is likely to be at your chosen event. Will your target audience be there? Who are your competitors?
- If possible, contact previous exhibitors and/or attendees. Did they find the event useful? Did it meet expectations? Did they encounter any issues?
- Find out how the event is promoted. Exhibition organisers are generally happy to share this information with exhibitors.
Exhibition Stand Design
Finally, it is always best to employ a professional exhibition stand contractor, experienced in exhibition stand design, to make the most out of your presence. An exhibition stand designer will be knowledgeable in all aspects of stand design – from maximising footfall, to optimising the space available.
The right stand design company will offer a bespoke service, specifically tailored to the needs of your organisation, not only with respect to the creative aspects of stand design, but covering project management, stand contractors and more.