Having a stand at an exhibition is a lot of work, but it can rewarding in many ways:
- Firstly, you get to be face-to-face with customers and suppliers. In our increasingly digitalised and hybrid-working world, the opportunities to physically meet our key contacts have reduced, but there is something special about being in the same space as others. I find it helps to build and segment those relationships.
- Secondly, you get to position yourself (quite literally) next to your competitors. It’s a great opportunity to do some market research and get insights into emerging trends.
- Finally, it’s a great way to test your messaging and pricing. Use it as a sounding board and get feedback directly from customers and prospects as to what you’re doing right, and where you could improve.
The team at PP8 Marketing has decades of experience helping companies to prepare to exhibit. From strategy to design to execution, we help bring together the right experts to make it happen and deliver an award winning stand! Here’s our top tips for anyone considering taking their business to an exhibition:
1. Do your research
Believe it or not, every exhibition organiser is going to tell you their event is the best one in the area/sector. Their sales people will use lots of tactics to get exhibition spaces sold but you need to make sure it’s worth your investment. Look at previous exhibitor listings (even speak to them to get their opinion). Ask the organisers for attendance numbers and a breakdown of attendee profiles (will the people you want to speak to actually be there?). Ask your customers – which events do they attend and why. Our best advice – attend as a guest and see for yourself before you commit!
2. Once you know you’re going – get the date in the diary and start planning!
The biggest mistake you can make is saying “oh it’s months away, we have plenty of time to plan.” No, you need to use that time to plan and prepare. Weeks and months will easily pass you by if you remain focused on the marketing activity that’s immediately in front of you. Don’t leave planning to the last minute. You run the risk of not being prepared or possibly ready at all. Attendees will notice!
3. Set yourself a goal
Whether you’re new to events or a seasoned professional, your purpose for exhibiting needs to have a goal. Otherwise it becomes an expensive day out! It doesn’t have to be measured by sales, but you need to have a target of some description to measure. If it’s not to sell products/services you might consider:
- Signups to your mailing list
- Followers to your social media profiles
- Visitors with follow up opportunities for after the event
- Valuable feedback and insights on existing products and new ideas
4. Warm up your clients and prospects
Tell everyone you’re going to be there! Don’t assume they will already know (even if it’s THE event to attend for your industry) and don’t rely on the promotion of the organiser – they have so much to do! Make sure you’re following the key social media profiles of the event and you know the hashtags being used to promote it – and use them in your content! Make sure to include where your stand will be, what days you’ll be there, which members of the team to look out for. Tell them what to expect or give them enough snippets to make them feel like they would be missing out if they didn’t come and visit you. During the event, post where you are and what you’re doing!
5. Follow up – with everyone
Running a stand at an event is tiring (trust us, we know!) but it’s important you don’t lose momentum once it’s over. Follow up with everyone you spoke to (and that includes the stands you visited while you were there). If you can, take the time to personalise the communication, even if it’s just one sentence. A trick that makes this easier I’ve found is to make notes on the business card they give you. Find them on LinkedIn, follow their socials and give them a bit of engagement. Secure a meeting or agree on a next step with them and continue building that relationship. And don’t forget those you missed, it is impossible to catch everyone at the event, so follow up afterwards with a personal note.
Why choose PP8 Marketing to help you with your next event?
If your business is in the Home, Garden and Sustainability sectors then you’ll be familiar with GLEE. Paula has just finished her 15th attendance at the show and over the years has supported clients including Scotts Miracle-Gro (now Evergreen Garden Care), Smart Garden and Southern Trident, as well as the Glee organisers themselves with the Retail Lab @Glee. Our newest team member Carrie has also worked in this space for 10 years. Carrie managed the Hygeia stand in 2022 and was a product buyer for Crocus. It’s safe to say she knows exactly what to do to get buyers attention at trade shows! The team knows this sector extremely well.
We also have a wealth of clients outside of this sector too, many of which exhibit at 2-3 industry specific trade shows and conferences each year. 2022 has been a bumper year for events since the pandemic. Though the industry may change, our approach to project managing your event will always deliver the results you’re looking for, without the stress and responsibility falling on your shoulders.
If this is how you’d like to run your next event, get in touch for a chat about how PP8 Marketing could help you.