By: Cheryl Cliffe
Trade exhibitions can provide excellent returns on marketing investment: exhibitors get access to thousands of buyers who have come to the exhibition specifically because they are interested in the types of products on show
It's important to do your homework both before you sign up and then once you've chosen the right platform to ensure that you get maximum value for your exhibition spend.
Do your Research
Start by assessing all the options available in your market. These days, many exhibition organisers deviate from their core audience in order to boost visitor numbers, but is that really benefiting exhibitors? Trade shows target specific audiences and it's important that the organiser is committed to focusing on the relevant segment. For instance, SARCDA exhibitions are aimed only at Retail gift, toy, decor and design trade buyers; and our buyers do not want to be shopping alongside their own retail customers. If SARCDA were to sacrifice its trade only policy, simply to get more feet through the door, we would alienate buyers who are an integral point of the organiser/exhibitor/buyer triangle which sustains our exhibitions.
Gather as much information as possible about your options, it’s important to assess which exhibition best suits your business’ strategy.
Compare and Select
Having gathered as much information as possible it allows you to compare and select the most suitable exhibition for your business. Price, while always important, should not be the deciding factor’; ultimately return on investment is key. The old adage, ‘quality trumps quantity’ should always guide considerations when it comes to trade exhibitions; and the organiser should be able to explain how it ensures that only relevant visitors access its exhibitions.
Confirm your stand location and space required
Once you have chosen the right exhibition for your business, the next step is to decide on your stand positioning and how much space you need. Make sure that the stand you choose is big enough to accommodate all the products you want to display. A stand that is so crowded that buyers can’t get onto it defeats the object. Having an idea of what you want to display, and how you will display it, will help you to choose the stand size and position that suits you best.
Select your team
Once you have signed up for your stand, deciding on the right staff for your stand is crucial to make a positive first impression. Ensure that they are knowledgeable and well trained on how to conduct themselves in an exhibition stand. It is important to communicate the goals that you would like to achieve at the exhibition and what they can do to help achieve the goals.
Keep working with the organiser to explore ways to maximise your participation in the event; after all, you are partners in this venture. It’s never too early to start marketing your participation at the exhibition. Make sure that you have enough marketing material readily available for potentially interested visitors at the exhibition.