Exhibiting success is based on establishing objectives for your company participation. The sad truth is that 71% of exhibiting companies do not set objectives or plan strategies for their participation.
Objectives provide direction for every aspect of your company’s participation: your marketing strategies, budgeting plans, budgets, exhibit architecture, graphics, products, literature, IT support and necessary staff.
Research shows that exhibitors who carefully plan and integrate other marketing media into their exhibit programmes are more successful at attracting their targeted audiences and converting them into qualified sales leads.
Visitors give up valuable time and money to be at an exhibition so you must do everything possible to make their investment worth the effort.
You need to let these prospects know about your participation and pre-show advertising can more than double your stand activity during a show, since 83% percent of the visitors use show previews to help them plan their visit.
Here are some suggestions:
ADVERTISE IN PRE-SHOW INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS
- Highlight important sales features
- Mention the location of your stand and who will be on the stand
- Highlight show specials, promotions, giveaways
- Utilise social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to connect with your audience and market your participation in the lead up to the show.
- Make sure that the messages you are promoting are consistent across all social media channels.
SHOW MARKETING BY THE ORGANISER
- Email campaigns highlighting new products.
- Monthly newsletters.
- Key buyer programme.(Personalised email invites).
- DL flyers and stickers to send out in your direct mail.
Make the NCEC an integral part of your company’s total marketing mix.
It’s a well known fact that more than half of all exhibition visitors want to see “what’s new” in products and services. “New” is one of the two most effective words in communications today. Therefore make sure your company promotes its new products and new services.
Experience has shown that hands-on/ interactive presentations involving the audience make new products or services more memorable and their introduction more successful.
Prepare a press release on “what’s new” for your company –
- Avoid using exaggerated sales terms (called hype) as they generally don’t translate well.
- Be brief, yet factual.
- Include photo with descriptions.
- Send press release to all official show publications before the show.
- Send press release to the Trade Exhibition marketing team for use in show previews, digital marketing campaign and new products newsletters.
Exhibitions bring together many competing companies and visitors can easily compare many products and suppliers in a short time. Therefore, your stand is an excellent platform for your company to let your customers know how important they are. You should know in advance which of your customers are attending and plan to spend quality time with them, not only on the stand, but at the social functions in the evenings too.
Research shows that 94% of buyers at exhibitions compare similar products just for reassurance that they are getting the best products available. Many of these product comparisons involve your staff and their presentations. In fact, more than half the exhibition audience, including your customers, are testing your staff’s products knowledge, while 19% are checking their attitude. Therefore it is very important that your team understands that during the show they are the only representation of your company.
A study by Incomm International who visited exhibitions but didn’t achieve their objectives found that –
- 16% didn’t trust or feel comfortable with the exhibitor salesperson.
- 28% said no one assisted them when they came on to the stand
- 42% felt that the salesperson didn’t understand their needs
It is therefore imperative that stand staff make good eye contact, smile with sincerity, actively engage prospects and listen carefully; allowing the prospect to take a role helping to make the sale.
For maximum effectiveness, two people should work in every 9 square metres of space occupied by your company.
Staff should always stand, not sit during the exhibition.
Cell phones and laptops should not be used in the open on the stand unless it’s for the purpose of product demonstration.
65% of all literature collected from exhibitors is thrown away almost immediately. A most cost effective way to handle literature requests is to get the visitors name, address and email address, and send them the information via email or post after the show. Studies show that materials delivered directly to the workplace receive an unprecedented 20% readership rate which is considered excellent.
Manage expectations – Typically 15% of an exhibition audience has an interest in products and services delivered by your company, therefore you should target your sales or lead projections for this 15% audience segment.
Projecting Stand Activity – Your overall sales activity is based on the number of persons working on the stand as well as their ability to interact with the visitors. Here’s an example, if it takes about 10 minutes to discuss, demonstrate and qualify a prospect on your stand then each team member could possibly make six leads per hour. However, this doesn’t allow time for breaks, varying visitor traffic each hour and the odd in depth conversation. So for this example perhaps 4 leads per hour per staff member is a better target.