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    Exhibitions provide a unique opportunity to              Choosing the exhibition
    display your product and business to large
numbers of potential customers. A clear idea of      The key consideration is which exhibitions your
what you are trying to achieve, and how to go        target customers will attend and read about.
about it, helps you maximise the impact.
This briefing looks at:                              A What is the exhibition’s track record?

    x   Defining your aims.                              x   Ask for an analysis of the previous year’s
    x   Choosing exhibitions to participate in.
                                                             How many decision-makers from your
    x   Designing and running your own stand.                target market were present?
    x   Generating sales from the exhibition.            x   Look at the previous year’s catalogue.
                                                             How professional is it? Which companies
                                                             were exhibiting?
        Your aims
                                                         x   Ask your competitors what they got from
Decide what your priorities are and quantify your            attending — most people will tell you.
aims. You may have several distinct objectives.
                                                     B   When is the exhibition?
A Collect leads to follow up, or compile a               x   Is that a good time for your business to
  mailing list.

B   Make direct sales at the exhibition.

C   Launch and promote a new product.
    x   Trade shows provide an ideal opportunity
        to contact the specialist journals in your
        field and generate press coverage for your
        new product or service.

D Meet and entertain customers.
    x   In a day or two at an exhibition, you may
        get more chance to talk to people who
        use your products than you will have in
        the rest of the year.

E   Find agents, distributors or other businesses
    to work with.

See Planning your marketing, MA 5, and
Marketing with your database, MA 6.
        be disrupted by the extra work?                  x   Many organisers require you to use their
        Could you cope with any extra business               own contractors to install these.
        the exhibition generates?                        x   Plan your electrical requirements carefully.
    x   How far in advance will you need to plan?            For example, are there going to be
                                                             enough sockets?
C   Where is the exhibition?
    x   Is the location convenient for you and
        your target customers?                               Stand design
D What size is the exhibition?                       A Exhibition organisers usually offer a ‘shell
    x   Smaller and more specialised exhibitions       scheme’.
        may represent better value for money.            At a minimum, this includes the back and
                                                         side walls of your stand. Extras which may
E   How much publicity does the exhibition               be included are:
                                                         x   Floor covering.
    x   Where will the organisers advertise the
        event?                                           x   Board with your company name.

    x   Do they have any links to the media              x   Electrical supplies and lighting.
        (eg magazine publishers that will                x   Furniture.
        feature them)?                                   x   Display racks.
F   What else will the exhibition offer?                 x   Shelving.
    x   What services will the organisers provide?       x   Telephone.
    x   What special events will there be?               x   Other office items (eg waste bins).
    x   Will your trade association have a stand     B   You can use your own designer.
        for members there?
                                                         A designer is more likely to produce a
G How much does it cost?                                 distinctive stand.
    x   Exhibition organisers charge rent on the         x   A designer is essential for a space-only
        floor space.                                         site.
    x   Total costs may be around two to four            x   Check what the organisers’ rules are.
        times as high as the rental cost (see 8).            In particular, you will be responsible for
                                                             health and safety and any fire risk your
                                                             stand may represent.
        Booking space
                                                         x   Brief the designer on what you hope to
A Make sure you book a space suitable for
  your proposed display (see 4).                             If you plan to exhibit regularly, ask for a
                                                             stand that can be taken apart and used
    x   Stands with more frontage are likely to
        attract more attention.
                                                         x   Confirm the time and costs schedule in
B   Different locations within the exhibition                writing.
    hall may have different costs.
                                                     C   Make sure your stand design is effective.
    x   Ask for a map of the hall.
                                                         You will have only a few seconds to attract
    x   Ask the organisers which parts of the
                                                         the attention of people passing the stand.
        exhibition have attracted the most
        attention in the past.                           x   Keep it simple.
    x   You can see how the crowd moves by                   Have one central theme rather than trying
        attending an exhibition at that venue.               to crowd everything onto the stand.
                                                         x   Allow space for visitors.
C   Book early to ensure that your name is
                                                             Keep the front clear and provide a focal
    included in all the organisers’ promotional
                                                             point at the back to encourage them into
    materials (see 5).
                                                             the stand.
    x   The organisers usually require a deposit
                                                         x   Avoid building a ‘corporate fortress’ to
        when you book and full payment before
                                                             mark your territory.
        the exhibition starts.
                                                             Raised floors, walls and other
D Arrange electricity, lighting and any other                constructions often distance you from
  supplies you require.                                      the visitors.
                                                                                                            page 2
        Exhibition promotion                               x   What information will you give out to
                                                               students and other visitors who are unlikely
A Let target customers know about your                         to be customers in the near future?
  stand.                                                   x   What will you say to journalists or VIPs
    x   Ask the organisers for free complimentary              who visit the stand?
        tickets to send to selected customers.                 Who will look after them?
    x   Consider a press release.                          x   How will you handle competitors who are
        Briefly describe your stand and your                   looking for information?
        product. Include pictures and samples if           Prepare briefing notes for all employees.
        appropriate. Give details of how they can
        contact you for further information.           C   The right employees are essential to create
                                                           a good impression.
    x   Consider using advertisements or direct
        mail to announce your presence at the              x   Always appoint a stand manager.
        exhibition.                                            Make this person responsible for
                                                               timetabling and for briefing everybody
B   Make the most of the organisers’ PR and                    involved.
    promotional materials.
                                                           x   Choose personable and knowledgeable
    x   Ensure that your name appears in the                   employees.
                                                               Ideally, your stand should always have one
        You should be offered a free listing, and              sales expert and one technical expert.
        you may want to advertise as well.
                                                           x   Allow for breaks.
    x   Ask the organisers what their PR plans
        are and whether they will have a press                 If the same people are on the stand all
        office you can use for your own PR.                    day, they will become tired and jaded.
        Tell them if something about you is                x   Employees should be smart and punctual.
        particularly newsworthy.                               You may want to give them incentives
    x   Offer to take part in special events where             according to the number of leads they
        you can gain extra exposure.                           generate.
        For example, by speaking at an exhibition          x   Good selling technique is vital (see 7).
                                                       D Attract attention to the stand.
If you are planning to attend an overseas or               Activities like displays and demonstrations
international exhibition, see 9B.                          will help generate interest in your stand.
                                                           x   Activities visitors can participate in are
                                                               likely to be more effective.
        Running the stand
                                                           x   Prize draws can be a good way of
A Plan the details well in advance.                            collecting names and addresses of
                                                               potential customers.
    x   When will you set up the stand?
        Where will your packing materials be               x   Refreshments perk up tired visitors and
        stored?                                                encourage them to spend more time on
                                                               your stand.
    x   When will electricity supplies, lighting and
        any special requirements be installed?
    x   Have you got an adequate supply of                     Selling technique
        brochures, leaflets and business cards?
        Where will you keep them?                      Most exhibitors aim to make introductory
                                                       contacts rather than to complete sales on
    x   How will the stand be kept clean and tidy?     the spot.
    x   What are the security arrangements?
                                                       A Respond to visitors.
        Does your office insurance cover the
        exhibition?                                        x   A visitor should be allowed to browse
                                                               briefly and then be approached.
    x   Will there be refreshments for your team
        and visitors?                                          Employees must not hide at the back of
                                                               the stand chatting among themselves.
B   Plan your message.
                                                       B   Start by finding out what kind of visitors
    How will you respond to different types of             you have.
                                                           x   Ask whether they use your kind of
                                                                                                              page 3
        product and what their interest is in               x   The cost of three employees for the
        your stand.                                             duration of the exhibition in order to have
    x   Ask what their roles are in their                       two employees on the stand at all times.
        organisations and what their                        x   Publicity costs of any direct mail,
        businesses do.                                          advertising or PR.
        Find out whether a visitor has purchasing           x   Miscellaneous costs (eg insurance).
        power or influence.
                                                        C   Calculate how cost-effective an exhibition
C   Stress the benefits of your product.                    is likely to be in achieving your aims.
    If a visitor is a potential customer, you must          x   If you aim to get leads (and sales), what is
    create enough interest to pave the way for                  the expected cost per lead, and how does
    a follow-up meeting or call.                                that compare with the anticipated profits
    x   Find out what the visitor’s needs are.                  you will ultimately make?
    x   Explain how your product can satisfy those          x   If you want to get exposure, how much
        needs.                                                  coverage do you expect?
                                                                How much coverage could you get by
D Make arrangements to follow up.                               spending the same amount on an
    A visitor should not leave your stand until                 alternative promotional effort?
    you have agreed what the next step will be.             Be realistic about how many visitors you will
    x   Make sure you record the name, job title            be able to see, and what percentage will
        and area of interest of each prospective            produce a positive result.
                                                        D Measure the results of the exhibition once it
    x   Record any information you need for               is over. Did you achieve your aims?
        following up the enquiry. Who should
        you contact, when and how?                          x   How much press coverage did you get?

    x   Arrange to get one of the organisers’               x   How many leads did you generate?
        mailing lists and consider mailing                  x   How many sales resulted from them?
        everybody who attended, even if they                x   What was the total cost?
        did not come to your stand.
                                                            How does this compare with the cost-
Your aim is to deal with as many visitors as                effectiveness of alternatives, such as
possible. Five minutes should be long enough                direct mail?
to interest the visitor, provide them with relevant
information and make follow-up arrangements.
                                                                Getting help
        Cost                                            A You can get information about upcoming
                                                          exhibitions from a variety of sources.
A Floor space rental costs typically range from             x   Ask your local trade association.
  £100 to £300 a square metre.
                                                            x   Contact the Association of Exhibition
    x   Rental costs for a 12m2 stand at a small                Organisers (01442 873331 or
        exhibition might be £3,000.                   
    x   Services (electrical outlets, furniture,            x   Marketing Event is published 12 times a
        plants, and so on) can add up to 20 per                 year, and is available by subscription for
        cent extra to the cost.                                 £56 (020 8606 7500).
    x   Costs will generally be higher for                  x   The Exhibition Bulletin is published 12
        exhibitions with high attendances and                   times a year, and is available by
        for some specialist exhibitions.                        subscription for £105 (020 8971 8282).
    x   If an organiser will not give you a
        discount, consider asking for written           B   You may be able to get government
        confirmation that nobody else is getting            assistance if you plan to attend an
        one, either.                                        overseas or international exhibition.
                                                            x   Contact UK Trade & Investment for details
B   Total costs will include several other                      of relevant schemes (020 7215 8000 or
    elements, such as:                                
    x   Stand design, delivery and installation.
        Professional stand design will typically cost
        from £4,000.
                                                                                                               BRIEFING MA 2
                                                                                                               page 4

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