Where Your Business Should Exhibit?

Undertaking research about the exhibition before deciding to book is essential. Many clients fail to do this, have very poor results, and are then out of pocket and put off exhibiting at further exhibitions in the future. Simple ways of researching a show include asking the organisers for last year’s exhibitor’s lists and attendance records and speaking to the exhibitors to find out their experiences and return on investment. 

It is amazing the information that can be gleaned in this way. For example comments might include, “The show was good but we were in the wrong hall, hall 2 had most people because that was where the restaurant was”. Or “Yes there were lots of exhibition visitors but unfortunately they were not the decision makers.” The exhibition industry, like most others, has a series of professional publications that list the major events around the world.

Publications like ‘Exhibition Bulletin’ will list shows by venue, industry type and time of year.

The credentials of any show can be established by checking how long it has been going and its relevance to the products or services on offer. Also consider the exhibition’s ability to attract the market leaders to exhibit, and the decision makers to visit and the level of advertising and promotion for the event.

So you have now reviewed why, when and where you should look to exhibit now you need think about the substance behind exhibiting what should you do next and how are you going to achieve it.

Choosing what to exhibit or in what format to engage with your potential customers is an important part of the exhibiting process. From what type of space to what to fill that space with. Here are some of the key questions you need to ask yourself to determine which option is best for you.

  • Why are you exhibiting?
  • Where and when are you exhibiting?
  • What have you done before and what worked?
  • What do you want to display?
  • Who will be “manning” your stand?
  • Who is your audience and what do they expect?
  • What is your budget?

The answer to these questions will help establish exactly what your requirements are and determine the form your exhibition space should take. There is nothing worse than an over designed exhibition space that has little purpose and doesn’t work for the exhibitor or the visitor. Equally an under-designed space that has little thought behind its organisation has a reduced chance of success.

This space is meant to accentuate your company’s strengths, enable your team to move effortlessly through that space, guide visitors onto the stand and encourage them to engage with your staff and interact with your company. In essence it is an extension to your onsite team and needs perform as well as any other member in the company story telling.

It is the responsibility of the designer to relay your requirements through to the design. They will use best practice and up to date marketing research to ensure they are designing a stand that is based on current trends and proven techniques. They will chose design elements that are suitable for your target audience, venue regulations and budget to produce a design that best fits your goals and represents your company ethos and values.

So you have worked closely with your designer to produce a stand design that reflects your company and your goals at a particular show- now it’s all about how you are going to achieve exhibition success

  • How are you going to build the stand on time and on budget?
  • How are you going to get your potential customers to attend the show and visit your stand?
  • How are your onsite team going to engage with your potential customers?
  • How will you measure your success?

It will be important that moving forward you work closely with your contractor. They should provide you with a list of key deadlines that need to be met in order to ensure a smooth sailing. Stand build and preparation does take time and falling short of these deadlines will put added pressure on you and your team and may result in compromises having to be made.

Artwork is a particular sticking point- so be sure to have this finalised as quickly as possible. Onsite contractors will often put surcharges in place for orders placed within a month of the show, therefore if you can, order electrics/internet etc as soon as you can to avoid these unnecessary additional charges. Be sure that you and your contractor work closely with the organisers and ensure the industry’s Health and Safety rules set out in the eGuide are being adhered to.

We are always surprised to hear that exhibitors rarely let their potential customers know that they will be attending a show. It is often assumed that it is solely up to the organisers to fill the exhibition hall with suitable visitors. It is your responsibility too! You know who your potential customers are so use this opportunity to engage with them and give them a reason to take the time to visit you at the show. Make the most of the show’s PR and Advertising, use Social Media, Email your existing clients or send out Direct Mail to get maximum exposure.

The staff you have manning the stand need to understand your goals and the needs of your potential customers. Should you assign a technical member of staff to man the stand when your primary goal is to generate sales? Ensure your team are equipped with all the information the visitors may ask of them such as stock levels, lead times, product specs, opportunities for quantity discounts etc. Your team are the face of the company at these events so ensure they are well presented, well prepared and looked after during the event. Book them into a nice hotel, provide them with suitable training and ensure they are supported throughout the process.

How you measure the success of an exhibition is unique to every exhibitor but in all cases should be based around goals and objectives. To what extent did you achieve your goals? How can you prove if your investment was a well-judged one and if an event was a great success what can you attribute that to- what elements should you replicate or improve on at the next event?

If you are interested in finding out more about our service, such as free exhibition stand design, free pre-build, then contact our Manchester office

“Eden Exhibitions, one of the UK’s leading Exhibition Designer and Build specialists offering both free design and pre-build services”