Exhibitions – more of a marathon than a sprint

Do you or the company you work for attend exhibitions for marketing and lead generation? Do you get the most out of your exhibition space? At Sixothree we have a wealth of experience in managing exhibitions for our clients, and we understand that for a successful exhibition, it needs to be a carefully planned process. In today’s blog, we discuss the various stages which lead to a successful exhibition, and how skipping a step could lead to an expensive failure.

Which is the right event for you?

It all starts with researching the most appropriate exhibitions to get your product or service in front of your target audience. As part of your research, you should enquire about footfall, look at available exhibition stand locations, and any additional advertising or sponsorship opportunities that could increase your brand's presence at the show. Failing to extensively research the exhibition opportunities open to you as a business, could lead to a bad decision, costing you thousands of pounds with little or no return.

Train to succeed

It is essential to start preparations early – not preparing is preparing to fail, as they say. Running in a marathon without adequate training is a recipe for disaster. The same applies to an exhibition. Thinking an exhibition will fall into place at the last minute, is unfortunately a mistake many exhibitors make. You should start by creating a list which details every element that must be addressed in the planning stages of an exhibition, assign each task, and a deadline for each. Elements include your stand design and graphics, online company profile, merchandise (if any), completion of mandatory health and safety and risk assessment forms, additional extras such as electricity and lighting, show preview adverts and editorial opportunities, social media content, set-up and staffing on the day/s… the list goes on. There are many factors which need to be considered to ensure you have a smooth run to a successful show.

Tell people you’re going to be there

In the build up to an exhibition it is important to tell your customers and those attending the event that you will be exhibiting – You want them to attend and come and say hi. This can be done via personal invitations and social media. In the months leading up to the exhibition you should leverage the profiling opportunity by promoting all over social media that you will be at the exhibition – tagging in the event you are attending to reach a wider network.

Now’s your time to shine

Day one of the exhibition arrives and this is where it all comes together, and all the hard work and months of planning pays off. You will have considered elements such as a staff rota – detailing exactly who is manning the stand and when. One of the most important factors for an exhibition is the follow up – If you haven’t captured the contact details of those who visit your stand, it makes this virtually impossible. It’s surprising how many exhibitors don’t capture their data at the shows and expect visitors to remember and contact them (even though they will have had many conversations and visited many stands on the day). So, you’ll need to consider how you will collate contact details and monitor leads generated – and ensure you do this on the day.

Time to put your feet up?

After the exhibition you will probably want a rest after being on your feet and talking to hundreds of visitors. However, the exhibition isn’t over yet. You can have the busiest exhibition and speak to hundreds of people, but if you don’t follow up on the contacts and leads you made, what was the point. We have written a blog on how to follow up an exhibition effectively – check out our 5 top tips here.

As you can see exhibitions are much more of a marathon than a sprint, but if you get the stages of the race correct you and your business could hugely benefit from your exhibition presence. At Sixothree Marketing we have extensive experience in supporting our clients with their exhibitions. We can provide full exhibition support services, from researching the best exhibition for you, to representing your business on the stand at the exhibition. Talk to us today about getting more from your exhibition space.