Trade show exhibiting can be a little overwhelming, especially if your show is just around the corner and you don’t have a clear trade show strategy. The key to success is careful planning. Exhibiting at an event is very different from attending an event. To drive traffic to your exhibition stand and leave a memorable impression on your visitors, you need to create a detailed plan for your event activities.
Here are some tips for planning before your exhibition:
1. Choose the right show
With thousands of exhibitions taking place around the world, it’s important to choose the right one. Exhibitions are a great marketing tool, especially for increasing brand awareness, launching new products and growing your customer base. But, not all will be the right fit for your company. Start by listing your exhibiting goals and identify shows that you think best suit your business.
Once you identified the shows that you would like to attend, make sure you learn how each one of them will contribute to your objectives. Select an exhibition that address your target audience and will help you attain your goals. To ensure your selected show attracts the right type of attendee ask organisers about attendee demographics, previous participants, attendee numbers and show statistics.
2. Pick the perfect spot
So you now know which exhibition (or exhibitions) you want to attend. It’s time to register and reserve your space. If you want to be in a prime, high-traffic location, you must register early. This means at least 6 months before the show starts. If you really want to go all out with your research (and you should) you can check the venue schedule and take a visit during another trade show to get a feel for the place.
Explore where the highlight exhibition spots are and identify dead spots where customers don’t pass through. Being in the middle of an exhibition hall isn’t always the best. These areas can become regularly congested and detract attention. Spaces in the corner can be a good option due to their open space. Stands close to a restaurant, coffee shop or toilets are cleverly positions to tempt passing visitors. It’s always worth planning to get the perfect spot!
3. Get to know the competition
To make your success even more likely, ask the organiser for a list of confirmed exhibitors (most events also make the list available online) and check out your competition and floor neighbours. Find out more about them. What products are they displaying? Are they planning any interesting at-show marketing activities? Are they using interactive technology? Use this information to refine your exhibiting strategy. It’s also good to establish a solid relationship with your neighbours. Communicate with each other, find out each other’s schedule and if possible, ask about their stand design.
4. Time to make an impact
Strategic planning is essential to maximising your return on investment. Unique design, striking content and engaging activities are all essential to making your exhibition a success. When planning your exhibition stand, instead of following design trends, always aim for individuality. Look at your communication objectives and develop a stand theme that conveys enticing messages and captures people’s attention.
When planning your on-stand activity, include fun and interactive elements that will capture the attention of show visitors—include gadgets, iPads, interactive games and competitions that help you bring your brand to life.
Don’t forget to consider your lighting needs—an element often overlooked by many exhibitors. Highlighting certain areas of your display means that the visitor’s eye will automatically be drawn to particular products or services. A good exhibition stand designer will be aware of the best lighting practices and will know how to manipulate them to create different impressions.
5. Failing to plan? Planning to fail?
Setting your exhibition strategy and identifying the role trade shows will play within your overall marketing and sales strategy is crucial and should be done as soon as possible. Remember, your next business exhibition is your chance to show off the personality of your business, without hiding behind the numbers. Taking the time to plan out exactly what you’re looking to achieve and following a few simple planning steps will ensure you make the most of your day.
Guest writer: Marta Gorka, Skyline Whitespace