Planning: An Important Factor For Exhibition Marketing

Category: Event Marketing

Exhibition Planning & MarketingExhibition marketing, when used to good effect, can be one of the most invaluable marketing strategies around for a modern business. Exhibitions offer face-to-face networking and sales opportunities, and also allow a company to clearly showcase its products, services and values.

However, whether you go it alone or work with a specialist exhibition company, success in exhibition marketing requires a significant amount of preparation. In most cases, the planning process should begin months ahead of the event itself and this article outlines some of the key planning stages and explains why planning is so important.

1. Objectives and Goals

The first and perhaps most important part of the planning process is to firmly establish your reason for using exhibition marketing. Every aspect of your exhibition should be geared towards this. Are you hoping to boost sales, improve your relationship with customers, build your brand, or conduct market research?

Next, you need to set measurable goals. For example, you may make your goal to attract at least 50 leads, or to convert at least 75 percent of your leads into paying clients. Ensure these goals are realistic and achievable.

"I need to make sure that every piece of marketing I do generates a return on my investment," explains Fiona Humberstone, a brand stylist and the author of the book Exhibit!. "I go in with a clear goal to generate a specific number of leads."

2. Exhibition or Trade Show Selection

Next, you need to select which exhibition or trade show you actually want to attend. The important things to consider here are which exhibitions are most relevant to your business and which will best help you to achieve your objectives. Other things to think about include the size of the exhibition, the location, the date and the cost.

You may be able to use the internet to research potential trade shows or exhibitions, although in some cases, it may even be best to go as an attendee first, with a view to being an exhibitor the next time. It can also be useful to research which exhibitions your competitors attend, although you should not use that as a deciding factor.

Ultimately, it may come down to the exhibition that is most relevant, offers the best opportunity and is affordable.

3. Stand and Graphic Design

By their very nature, exhibitions have a strong visual element. As a result, the design of your stand and its supporting graphics need some careful planning. Not only do you need your exhibition to attract people, but you also need to give thought to boosting brand recognition by using consistent colour schemes, logos, fonts and so on.

When it comes to exhibition stand design, you need to consider the message you want to present, but also the type of display you want to use. A pop up display can be cheap, easily customisable and easy to transport from one exhibition to another, while truss displays offer greater structure and allow for great variety. Custom displays can make your exhibition highly visible, but require a lot of labour to set up, while modular displays offer more of a balance.

During this stage, you may also need to think about your requirements and limitations in terms of space and technology. Consider the logistics of transportation and set up, and link back to your objectives to make sure your planned design will actually help you to achieve them.

4. Pre-Show Promotion and Relationship Building

Last, but not least, you need to plan your pre-show promotion and relationship building strategy. Statistics show that, during the average trade show, most attendees visit less than 10 percent of the total number of exhibitions. Moreover, they attend with a clear idea in mind of most of the exhibitors they want to see.

You need to tell people you are attending as soon as you can. Plan your promotional strategy to include both online and offline elements. For example, you may use social media and email, but you should also explore options like promotional flyers, letters and even personal visits.

The main benefit of planning your promotional strategy in advance is that it allows you to get going quickly once your attendance is confirmed. After all, you want as much time as possible to let attendees know about your exhibition, so that you can give yourself the best chance of actually achieving your goals.


Posted 10th November, 2015

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