Our advice for a successful event
A stand at a major exhibition is an outstanding marketing and sales tool. It offers high impact, is highly flexible and it pays—provided that it is well prepared, well manned and well run. Here are four areas of advice to help you do just that.
Define your goals, your targets and your indicators of success
Exhibiting at a high profile event is a major challenge for your company. You need to ask yourself the right questions in order to maximise your return on investment.
1.1 What are your primary goals at this show? What is your number one goal?
First of all, you need to carefully set the strategic goal or goals for your participation in the event and determine your priority or priorities so as to focus your efforts. Do you want to enhance customer loyalty? Canvass for new ones? Raise awareness? Launch new products? Position yourself in new markets? Promote your brand? Remember, your goal or goals must be precise and measurable.
1.2 Who are your targets for this event?
First off, who should you invite? Customers, prospects, opinion leaders, specifiers? Sending out invitations gives you the opportunity to be in direct contact with your customers but also with prospects who can be difficult to get through to; and it is a direct and effective way of improving the results from the exhibition. You also need to identify the exhibitors or visitors you want to meet on site: journalists, institutions, potential partners, visitors who are planning projects. As an exhibitor, you have access to the lists of exhibitors who have booked, the pre-registered visitors and their profiles. Many of Reed’s events offer you networking tools.
1.3 What are your indicators of success?
Setting precise and quantified performance indicators is the best way of achieving your goals and allows you to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your participation in the event.
2 – Draw up your Communication Plan for before, during and after the event
2.1 Before the event
This is the key stage that governs the success of your event, since the impact of your participation and the flow of visitors to your stand depends upon it.
Tell the world that you will be at the event
You must plan and orchestrate the promotion of your participation in the event. Send out invitations to your key targets. Put information on your website, advertise and run a banner on the event website. Renting visitors lists for the previous year or pre-registrations for this year will increase traffic on your stand. Think about your press relations. A high quality press pack that focuses on your innovations and products will catch the eye of journalists.
Every Reed event offers you tailored promotional tools to generate traffic and increase the number of visitors to your stand (invitations, business meetings…). Secure the benefit of high visibility on the event website in order to raise your profile in the professional communities and extend the reach of your sales effort before, during and after the event.
Promote your brand and ensure that it is visible
Orchestrate your brand promotion at the event: advertising in the visitor guide or catalogue, logo placement on the floorplans, give a talk or a demonstration at one of the exhibition events (workshops, lectures, breakfast meetings, awards ceremonies…). Don’t forget to sign up for the business meetings.
Reed offers you unique sponsorship opportunities to make your presence at the event more visible.
Consider what form your stand should take and what events should be run on it in support of your event goals: demonstrations, competitions, receptions… If at all possible, invite celebrities or people well known in your market to your stand and organise a mini event or reception to mark the occasion. Carefully choose promotional items to distribute to your various categories of visitor.
Every Reed event offers turnkey stand packages. Talk to our event teams about the right choice for your requirements and budget.
Involve your staff
Exhibiting at a Reed event can be an excellent opportunity to bring your staff together and motivate them. But you need to think about your goals when involving them and how you are going to do so. These are important points for ensuring an effective event follow up.
2.2 During the event
Amidst all of the buzz of the event, your communication must be effective in helping to welcome your visitors and support your meetings, contributions, lectures and workshops.
Set aside hospitality and reception zones
for people coming to your stand or stopping off there.
Give everybody on the stand a clear role
hostesses, sales staff…
Use the electronic badge readers
to capture the details of customers and prospects visiting your stand. At the end of the day, you can download these to a file.
Don’t underestimate how much visitors appreciate your attention and small gestures
Give them a special welcome
2.3 After the event
After the event it is vital to ensure the contacts you made are turned into lasting ones.
Keep the guests you invited but who weren’t able to come to the event informed. Exploit the event’s content to maintain the relationship.
Follow up with the contacts made or developed at the event. They will appreciate you thanking them for visiting your stand.
Identify prospects who visited the event but didn’t come to your stand by analysing the event visitors lists.
Carry out a detailed review by analysing the information gathered at the event from visitors, press and the competition.
3 - Manage your event as a project
The personnel, technical and logistical organisation of the event is integral to the success of your event and learning lessons from it.
3.1 Make a realistic assessment of the workload and the human resources required.
Specifically, think about the number of customers and prospects you plan to meet, the anticipated number of meetings and the sales force you will need on the spot to handle these targets.
Reed provides you with a dedicated portal on the event website where you will find all the order forms, a to-do list, your invoices and all the information regarding your participation.
3.2 Set up a project team
Appoint one person with overall authority for all the planning and the budget. Define who does what, set deadlines so you don’t end up having to rush things. Don’t forget that it is vital to prepare your stand team: awareness, instructions, training.
4 - Budget, optimise, measure
Prepare a detailed budget in order to keep control of your costs and measure the return on investment
Budgeting precisely, item by item, for your participation in the event allows you to control your investment as well as to rank items by importance and optimise spend. At the end of the event, you will be able to measure how much your participation has paid off, action by action, by evaluating the immediate return on investment (orders taken or sales on the stand) the benefits down the line (number of qualified contacts, value of leads) and over the medium term (profile, image…).