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The four steps to exhibition success

Exhibitions provide a unique environment for face-to-face communication, but do exhibitors really understand the power of exhibitions and how to use them to their full potential?

At the end of the day you need to deliver a return on investment. You need to measure quantifiable objectives, whether that is the level of leads obtained, sales achieved, brand enhancement or press coverage gained. If you don’t invest in the crucial planning then your experience and investment could be wasted and you will be the one saying ‘I had a really bad show’ and blaming the organisers for not delivering visitors.

At Nimlok we practice the four Ps of effective exhibition marketing.

  • Exhibition Stand Planning
  • Exhibition Stand People Skills
  • Exhibition Stand Promotion
  • Exhibition Stand Productivity

It is essential to plan ahead, a good working plan will keep you organised. Write an exhibition plan and include measurable objectives. If you write it all down you are more likely to stick to it.

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I exhibiting
  • What am I hoping to achieve?
  • Is this show really right for me?
  • How does it fit into my overall sales and marketing strategy?

Brief your exhibition stand staff and set them targets. Well-educated and informed exhibition stand staff show professionalism and efficiency, this in turn will also build your company’s reputation. Your stand staff are your company’s ambassadors, make sure they know what you expect from them.

It is your responsibility to get the visitors to your stand and promotion can achieve this. Tell the world you are exhibiting. Keep the message consistent. Devise a pre-show mailer, consider a visitor giveaway, send out press releases, consider advertising and sponsorship and include your exhibition stand information on all business correspondence and your website.

Who will deal with visits from the press at the show? And don’t forget the additional mileage you can get from post-show promotional activity. Whatever you decide to do make sure you plan it, you budget for it and you are able to measure it.

Ultimately it comes down to productivity. How many times you have invested your time in visiting a show, given your card out, worn your feet out, eaten dry sandwiches to get back to the office, wait and…nothing?

Without follow-up there is little point in exhibiting in the first place.

Know what your follow-up plan is and how you will measure it before you go to the show.

If exhibitors follow these steps, they can enjoy a successful show experience and a return on investment that proves the unique power of exhibiting.

And, if you’re really clever, and your budget allows, plan in working lunches at a restaurant or bistro during the event so you don’t have to put up with those dry sandwiches again.

Emma Swales, Marketing Manager, Nimlok Ltd

The above article was published in Exhibiting Magazine

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