Ready for your next big exhibition? Our events man David Price provides some food for thought…
With IMHX fast approaching, exhibitors will be entering the final stages of their preparations for the event. This is the time when businesses will be adding the final touches to their stand designs, marketing collateral and PR activities. But with the recession continuing to bite and budgets being slashed, companies need now more than ever need to ensure they are delivering a good return on their investment and maximising their exposure in the hugely competitive environment of an international exhibition.
Speaking from personal experience, despite events claiming ‘higher than ever’ attendance figures, shows are feeling quieter than previous years, not busier. This is because people are spending less time at events due to work commitments affecting available time out of the office. Hence, the headline attendance figures are stable, but visitors are spending less time ‘browsing’ events.
With this in mind, companies have to make their marketing budgets work harder to ensure they deliver the results they want.
With individuals spending less time at events, how can companies maximise their stand appeal and ensure that those attending the show choose your company’s products over the competitions’?
Here are a few tips to maximise your exhibition stand’s ROI…
Aim high: The first step in making sure your stand works for you is the development of a set of objectives for the exhibition. Setting out why you are attending an event seems an obvious step, but too often companies neglect this crucial first step. Whether it is simply to build brand awareness, reach a new market, launch a new product or meet with existing clients, a line needs to be drawn in the sand to mark out your intentions in order to measure your success.
Spread the word: The second tip would be to ensure the entire team is fully briefed. There is nothing worse than a potential customer visiting a stand and asking a question that no-one is able to answer; a very simple point that often gets forgotten. However, such details are important and it is usually the straightforward things that can make the best impressions. Our advice would be to develop a stand manual. This document should be the event bible and should include information such as a timetable for activity that will take place at the show, contact details for all of the team, logistics information for the team and more importantly an idiots guide to all of the products on display on the stand as well as any additional background that might help staff members to answer enquiries. The stand manual should also be accompanied by an in-depth briefing which should take place before the event opens as well as an update each morning to ensure smooth running during the event. It is this attention to detail that will help to make that right first impression.
Less is more: Marketing collateral is another area that can often make a difference. More often than not, ‘less is more’ these days as visitors become less inclined to carry large amounts of brochures around with them. Smaller, more compact leaflets are becoming more common and offer an overview of a company and its product portfolio instead of an in-depth technical document. This style of leaflet also encourages people to visit company websites to gain any additional information. Alternatively, branded memory sticks can be used to provide lots of information if appropriate.
Information is power: The final tip would be to maximise data collection and ensure leads are followed up. Businesses are getting better at collecting data via competitions, questionnaires, lead generation forms or digital event systems. But companies need to work harder to ensure these leads are followed up and any opportunities pursued.
These recommendations may seem obvious (and we don’t wish to try and teach grandma to suck eggs), but in our experience it is often the simplest things that get overlooked in the rush to get ready for exhibitions.
Good luck at the show!