Exhibitions and trade shows are a unique chance for potential customers to see, hear, touch and experience your product or service first hand.
There exists no other way in which you can demonstrate your product or service to so many potential customers in such an effective environment. Nine out of ten visitors to exhibitions have an influence on the buying decision of their company or organisation.
But what does it take to plan and execute a successful exhibition booth?
1. Setting Your Objectives
Before you book an exhibition space, consider the following:
- Why exhibit at this show?
- What products/services will I be exhibiting?
- What do I want to achieve?
- How can I achieve the results?
- What image do I want to project?
The answers to these questions will help you set your objectives and make the exhibition a success. The objectives you set should be measurable and obtainable.
If you set a target for the number of leads you want to generate or units you want to sell, you will find it much easier to judge your success at the end of the show.
2. The Exhibition Plan
Do not underestimate the time it takes to plan a successful exhibition. Start your planning at least 5 months before the show. This will make life much easier and help you and your colleagues to avoid any last-minute panics or mishaps.
Appoint a project manager who has overall responsibility for the exhibition. List your tasks and stick to your deadlines. Circulate the exhibition plan to everyone involved and make sure they fully understand what is required of them.
Your exhibition plan should detail and include:
- Your objectives
- Time scales
- Your budget
- Space and stand requirements
- Graphic design requirements
- On-site services
- Logistics, transport and accommodation
- Staffing levels and training
- Any pre-and post-show promotions
- Data capture during the exhibition
- Follow-up procedure for new leads
Each part of your exhibition plan should work together to create a clear and concise run of events and exhibition success.
3. Prepare a Budget
When preparing your budget make sure you consider everything. It can be hard to establish your budget, particularly if you are doing it for the first time or if you have no past information to hand.
Your budget should include:
- Space rental
- On-site services
- Stand design and build
- Graphic design and print
- Logistics, transportation and accommodation
- Marketing and promotion
- Miscellaneous costs
Once you have prepared your budget it’s wise to add 10% to the total. This will be your contingency should there be any unexpected costs or last-minute requirements.
4. Pick Your Stand Space
You need to decide on the type and amount of space that best suits your objectives and how you intend to use it. Consider two factors, your objectives and your budget – this should determine how much space you require. Space is usually priced per square metre, but remember if you intend to exhibit a large piece of equipment/machinery to plan for this and consider the impact it will have on your available space and cost.
Look out for columns in or very near to your stand space as this can impact on your display area. Corner stands can catch visitors easily as they give a feeling of openness, in addition to this, stands situated in high traffic areas, such as near to cafe’s, seating areas and toilets also work well.
5. The Exhibitor Manual
Make sure you read the exhibitor manual as it is the official guide to everything you need to know about exhibiting at the show. It will contain all the rules and regulations, order forms for services, promotion and hospitality information, show dates and much more.
By reading it carefully it will ensure you are well prepared and organised. If you do not understand anything in the exhibitor manual, get in touch with one of the show organisers.
6. Your Exhibition Stand
The exhibition stand design will be your biggest decision, so start the process 5 months before the show date. Your budget will dictate the type and size of your stand and any extra equipment you require. Think about how you want your company image to be portrayed; corporate, high-tech, modern, well established etc. The shape, colour and overall design will help you achieve this.
Your stand should say who you are and what you do in a few seconds. Prepare a detailed brief for your exhibition contractor, but remember it is a very specialised field and what you think or want may not always be the case. Work closely with your contractor to achieve your goals.
7. Enjoy the Experience
Make sure you are on-site ready to populate your stand with products and promotional material the day before the show opens.
Create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere on your stand, try not to place literature and other materials right on the front of your stand, this could create a barrier so use the sides and corners of your stand.
Motivate your team and make sure everyone is in place well before the show opens. You should be feeling confident and eager to talk with new, potential and existing customers.
At INNOTIO we are experts in exhibition booth design and event management. If you would like to discuss an upcoming project with one of our team, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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