How To Exhibit Successfully
By Claire West
Exhibitions and trade-shows are important routes to market for many businesses but to succeed you really need to know, ‘How to Exhibit?’
It’s not just a question of turning up on the day with a few give-aways and some standard corporate brochures.
In a challenging economic landscape it really important that every last pound of marketing spend generates a return on investment (ROI) and therefore you need to look at the; Who, What, Why, When and Where? of successful exhibiting.
Let’s start with the Why?
Why bother exhibiting in the first place? This is probably the most important question to ask because out of this will come your objective, and there can only be one. One big, fat, hairy reason, why, you are going to all the effort!
A simple acronym used to set objectives is called SMART objectives. SMART stands for:
1. Specific — Objectives should specify what they want to achieve.
2. Measurable — You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.
3. Achievable - Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?
4. Realistic — Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?
5. Time — When do you want to achieve the set objectives?
Organisations can attend exhibitions and trade shows for many reasons — the most common are to generate sales or leads.
So let’s assume that we are attending our industry trade show to generate leads for our sales-force to follow up.
Now we’re going to run this through the SMART test;
Specific — We want to come away with 30 ‘hot’ leads and 30 ‘warm’ leads.
Measurable — The only thing we now need to do to be able to ‘measure’ the objective is to clarify exactly what we mean by ‘hot’ and ‘warm’.
Achievable — The event is on for 3 days, the organisers expect 2,000 visitors, there are 100 other exhibitors, this means that we need ten of each type of lead a day. How many visitors will we have to talk to in order to dig out a lead? How long will we have to talk to them for? This is good — not only are we sharpening our objectives but our objectives are telling us how many stand staff we’ll need (also they’re indicating the size of the stand needed and influencing the design)
Realistic — Do we have the resources to achieve these objectives? Do we have enough people, space, budget?
Time — Keep a watchful eye on the clock, did you hit your objective for the first day? Do you need to up the tempo?
The work doesn’t end when the exhibition ends! In fact the really hard work is about to start, there’s no point at all going back to the office with 60 leads and not doing anything with them. Well before the event you need to plan the follow-up, but this leads us onto the ‘When?’ which will be dealt with in another article.
Mark James has been in the exhibition industry for over 25 years and leads an experienced trade show team who have experience in designing and building exhibition stands in Europe and the Middle East.