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Why exhibition?

Contents

Why exhibition?

Preparation

Exhibition holding

Post-show work



Why exhibition?

Exhibitions have a special status in the current economy. They clearly show which companies have managed to stay afloat, which companies left the market, which market niches are still open, and how you should plan your business strategy.

Statistics show that:

  • Contract signing costs 40-percent less at an exhibition
  • 90 percent of business decision-makers say exhibitions are the best source of information on goods and purchases
  • Displaying products at an exhibition affects sales six times more than other promotion means
  • The visual effect of an exhibition display can leave a long-lasting effect of up to 14 weeks.

Skipping an exhibition means missing out on the market: Market analysis supports exhibitions

Besides reaching business targets, participation in an exhibition allows you to:

  • Make yourself known as a successful company;
  • Learn more about your customers and their expectations;
  • Get prompt feedback on your production and enterprise;
  • To create and increase your business networks.
  • To analyze the market, to estimate market potential.
  • To keep up with the latest innovations and advanced technologies.
  • To maintain your presence on the market.
  • To define your possible agents and distributors.
  • To initiate new business alliances.
  • To search for new staff.

Participation in an exhibition will give you the opportunity to:

  • find new buyers/clients;
  • improve loyalty plans;
  • revitalize relations with your former buyers/clients;
  • promote new products and services;
  • display and promote your products and services;
  • expedite sales;
  • create your company and brand image;
  • strengthen PR;
  • attract mass media.

How to find a suitable exhibition

You can find a suitable exhibition by analyzing your company's goals. You need to assess your possible participation in the exhibition based on the following criteria:

  • the theme of an exhibition;
  • the format of an exhibition (b2b, b2c);
  • the reputation and experience of the exhibition contractors;
  • the terms of the exhibition;
  • the exhibition's venue and infrastructure;
  • the exhibition's advertising campaign;
  • the exhibition's visitors;
  • the exhibitors;
  • the net exhibition area;
  • the exhibition's official support;
  • the exhibition's scientific and business programs;
  • the availability of independent auditing and statistical data;
  • the presence of exhibition association signs (such as the UFI);
  • the participation price
  • the last exhibition's auditing data

In any case, an exhibition should be considered a significant component of your marketing policy. If your budget only allows you to take part in a single specialized exhibition, then the above recommendations will help you to make the right choice. If your exhibition activity is not limited to just one exhibition, then you will be able to maximize your results.

Independent auditing data

When presenting a statistical auditing data certificate, we are stating that:

  • Our activity is fair. We give you what you pay for!
  • information about our exhibition was verified in accordance with the highest international standards. The exhibition meets these standards, and you are participating in a high-quality exhibition!
  • information about our exhibition was verified by an auditing company working with the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). Therefore, information about our exhibition will appear in UFI international catalogues and brochures. This will attract new participants from abroad, which means more specialists and prospective customers will visit our exhibition. Work with us as we work for you!
  • we spend money on auditing. We care about your profit. After calculating our exact number of visitors, we will do our best to optimize traffic, to settle catering, cloakroom, and parking issues. Our exhibition will be comfortable for you!

How to calculate an exhibition's efficiency for your company

Lets compare an exhibition with other means of advertising by calculating the cost of meeting a single expert.

If you know the cost of your participation in the exhibition and the number of experts who visited the exhibition, then you can easily calculate the price of meeting a single contact.

Example:

Area of your exhibition stand = 40 m2
Price of 1 m2 = $500
Cost of the stand = $20,000

Thus, your participation cost $25,000, including other expenses. And the exhibition was visited by 10,000 specialists.

As a result:
The price of one contact with an expert amounts to $2.50.

Preparation

Preparation for an exhibition should include:

  • goal-setting;
  • development of advertising plan;
  • making the exhibition stand design;
  • signing the contract with the exhibition organization committee, ordering equipment and services;
  • manufacturing promotional materials, posters, pamphlets, booklets, and leaflets;
  • preparing information materials, technical specifications, pricelists, folders;
  • training staff and stand workers;
  • calculating the budget, expenditures.

Exhibition Stand Styling

When developing the style of your stand, remember your major goal of participating in the exhibition. This will help you to make an efficient design.

  • If you want to develop your company's image and sign wholesale contracts, then it is not necessary to show all of your products. It is more important to construct a stylish and trendy stand that will be comfortable for holding negotiations.
  • If you intend to hold fashion parades, contests, and presentations, then you will need to provide enough space in your exhibition stand to prevent visitor from overcrowding the area.
  • If you plan direct retail sales from your exhibition stand, then it is especially important to think about the style to make sure it does not look like a stand at a flea market. Visitors should feel comfortable and your goal is to make them remember your company's name.
  • There are no insignificant stylistic details at an exhibition. Empty boxes and coats hanging off the backs of chairs will spoil the most creative style.
  • Minimalism is trendy in design solutions at the moment, such as an elegant display booth made of various structures, with high-quality lighting, a stylish full-colour poster on the back wall, and the minimum ornamental details.
  • Designing and constructing a stand can be expensive, so make sure you put in the thought necessary to guarantee the maximum results.

Handouts

When preparing a list of necessary handouts, consider that you will meet various individuals at the exhibition.

  • every exhibition visitor has a right to your commercial offer (or a pricelist) and business card. You should have a large quantity of handouts;
  • you need to have enough folders with the properly selected materials - colourful leaflets VIP visitors, the media, and potential partners;
  • the informational material that you hand out to your partners should be designed so your clients do not thrown them away;
  • take time before the exhibition to plan and analyze the tools you can use at your stand to market your products. Prepare a visitor file card (a short visitor questionnaire) that will help you to remember what you spoke about with each visitor.

Exhibition Staff

You need to select the "right" people to work at your exhibition stand. They should value your company and products. Articulate individuals with strong foreign language skills are always a plus.

If your stand is big, divide your staff into two groups - sales and marketing personnel, and technical support. Each group will play its own specific role. Research shows that technical support specialists are valuable when making urgent decisions regarding high tech issues. They also better communicate with visitors with an engineering background. If you can only afford to keep a few employees at your stand, then make sure you have an open telephone line at the exhibition, so your tech staff can be contacted easily back at the office.

Exhibits are memorable. You staff's appearance is vital, as they are an integral part of your company's image at the exhibition.

But, most importantly, your exhibition team needs to demonstrate sound teamworking skills and an awareness of your products and services, combined with a strong commitment to help the visitors to your stand.

Staff Training

You should hold a seminar for your exhibition team before each and every event. Here is a rough list of topics and procedures that you should cover:

  • introduce each employee to the whole team, including interpreters;
  • inspect the stands, exhibits and signboard dispositions;
  • discuss the marketing plan;
  • remind each team member of his/her tasks;
  • discuss the products to be displayed;
  • outline the welcome speech for customers at the exhibition;
  • present a personnel duty timetable;
  • discuss the work with the visitors;
  • explain how to fill out a prospective customer questionnaire;
  • discuss methods of effective influence upon prospective clients with strong purchase power.

Staff Tasks

Each team member should have a personal goal for each hour. Show them how to work efficiently and remind them that they have only five seconds to make a favourable impression on visitors as it would take at least 30 minutes to re-improve your image! The better prepared your staff, the better chances you will have to succeed.

What to do a month before an exhibition?

The optimal time to start preparing for an exhibition is no less than three months before opening day. Start your preparations in advance. Choose the best place in the exhibition hall. Think about the style of your exhibition stand and your handouts, and put together your advertising campaign. If you are short of time, do not forget the following priority tasks before the exhibition:

  1. Contact the exhibition contractors and send information about your company for the exhibition catalogue together with your application. Otherwise, information about your company will be placed on inserts, which are often lost;
  2. Pay special attention to style. You will probably have to lease some material, such as an equipped display space (white walls, frieze, and mat). if you want visitors to distinguish you from everyone else, make sure to bring portable design structures and full-colour posters;
  3. Make sure you have enough handouts, so you do not have to print extra copies after the deadline. Printing houses charge extra for urgent work;
  4. Book your plane tickets and reserve your hotel room. Do not forget to specify your date of arrival and the date of exhibition dismantlement beforehand;
  5. Draw up a list of the small articles that will be needed at the exhibition (scissors, stapler, clips, pens, extension cord, tape, duster); Make sure you have put together an exhibition "first-aid kit," packed with all the necessary materials and equipment you may need in the course of the event.
  6. Start your exhibition advertising campaign as soon as possible.

Exhibition Process

The exhibition process includes:

  • instructional briefing for staff;
  • drawing up a personnel duty timetable;
  • delivering and taking out equipment;
  • work in the exhibition stand;
  • organizing visitor registration.

Working in a stand

The work in the stand should be organized so that no prospect visitors have to wait more than 20-30 seconds. Otherwise, he/she will go to your competitor. There are a lot of stands and little free time.

Statistics show that the absolute majority of exhibition visitors (62 percent) will not wait at a stand for more than a minute.

No one should feel ignored - even for a second. Show marked respect, which is the first step toward a fail-safe contact.

When meeting a guest, stand workers "on the front line" should speak with him/her about his questions immediately. They must make sure to:

  • answer all possible questions;
  • find out his/her status, occupational interests, problems and plans;
  • hand out the relevant material (leaflets, pricelists);
  • send him or her to the manager.

Meeting regular customers

Research shows that 95 percent of all executives meet their customers at exhibitions. Therefore, meeting your regular customers is a crucial part of your marketing strategy at an exhibition. Your competitors consider your regular clients to be their prospective customers.

Exhibitions gather many rival firms. Visitors can easily compare goods and services. This is why a display booth is a great way to show your regular customers how important they are for you. You should know in advance which of your customers will attend the exhibition. You should plan to spend time with them not only at the stand, but also in the evening after the exhibition's working hours. You need to find out whether they have any desires or problems. And you should always have at hand a specialist who is ready to answer all of their questions. Watch what your customer is busy with at the exhibition and make sure he/she is not intercepted by your rivals.

Here are some reasons why your regular customers visit your exhibition stand:

  • to learn about the latest modifications, style, and brands;
  • to see new products;
  • to meet your specialists to discuss modernization;
  • to talk to your management team;
  • to evaluate and compare your products with your rivals;
  • to pay a courtesy call;
  • to make new acquaintances;
  • to purchase something new.

Work well at your exhibition stand

Research shows that people work efficiently 4-6 hours maximum. We get tired very easily - both physically and mentally.

Take this it into account and draw up a staff schedule, so no one works more than four hours per day.

Dehydration is another real problem. Drink a lot of water. However, do not bring food and water to your stand, as they will distract you from engaging your clients. Have a good meal in the morning.

Ergonomics is also an essential issue. Two people should work at a nine m2 display booth to guarantee efficiency. This is vital to maintain safety.

Your staff should always stand during the exhibition. They will need to wear comfortable shoes to keep on their feet. They should also do some physical exercises in the morning to make sure they feel energetic.

Do not use mobile phones at the stand unless you are talking business. Do not waste time on personal calls.

Do not forget to prepare enough business cards, pens, disposal glasses, and batteries for electronic equipment.

Organizing visitors

It is important to control and keep track of your visitors.

You must be able to:

  1. Introduce your visitors to the right personnel - from the secretary to the company president;
  2. Keep certain visitors from certain personnel, so as not to overload them or waste their time, energy, and emotions. Do not bring a visitor to meet the general director just to go over the pricelist;

Ensure suitable working conditions. In other words, managers and executives should stay in their place and not mix in with the crowd of visitors;

Or course, keeping track of visitors also means screening them well and keeping unwanted guests from stealing or begging for souvenirs and sample products.

What are untargeted customers? How should you resist them?

From the point of an exhibition participant, all visitors can be easily divided into two categories-- targeted customers and undesirable guests. The worst among the latter category are the so-called "graspers," who go from stand to stand sampling goods and collecting free samples. Undesirable guests may include schoolchildren and retirees. Try to resist the old woman begging for free samples. An experienced exhibition professional knows that after giving in once, you will immediately be swarmed by a crowd of hecklers, who will also demand free goods. Keep your display area free from undesired guests. They may pretend to be experts and take you by the arm. But generally speaking, they are a waste of energy.

Time is money!

Executives and senior managers do not want to waste their time on communicating with casual visitors. This is their rightful choice. The following steps are recommended:

  1. Assign an employee to work with undesired guests. Do not feel sorry for your employee, who has been left to deal with these problems. It is something that has to be done. A specially prepare exhibition stand worker should be able to quickly recognize and "catch" untargeted customers and to give them the run-around;
  2. Create a visual magnet in a space specifically allocated for undesired guests. This could be a video concert on a plasma panel, or an oven with piping hot curd tarts. At food exhibitions, the best option is to hand out free small samples of food to these guests. Mini-crackers with a drop of mayonnaise, thinly cut pieces of sausage, a little wine at the bottom of a plastic glass - all of these options will help you to deal with your graspers.
  3. The toughest way to deal with these individuals is simply to print out a short stock of materials that can only be distributed to your regular and potential clients. Your staff simply will not have anything to give to these undesired guests as useless gifts.

Stealing

Eliminating stealing is vital for any exhibition participant. In other words, when preparing for the exhibition:

  • While designing the exposition lay-out, make sure there is a backroom under constant control and under lock and key;
  • Prepare and instruct your security staff on how to deal with undesired visitors;

Make sure you are there when the exhibition stand is assembled and dismantled;

  • Draw up a list of material assets and their special features (packaging arrangements, equipment serial numbers and so on);
  • Your employees have to keep constant control over your valuable items at all times except for when the security guards are working at the exhibition complex.

Note: Let's assume the exhibition is opening the 10th. There are four days before the event for assembly and equipment and material arrivals - the 7th, 8th and 9th. You need to know when the organizers' guards will be safeguarding the premise. This is usually the night before opening day. Try to have your materials delivered, and the display booth assembled the first two days. Make sure the valuable items (showcases, refrigerators, production, advertising materials and souvenirs) are delivered the last day before the event. If this is impossible, then you need to make sure one of your staff members watches over the area until a guard has officially sealed the stand.

Post-show work

After the exhibition, you must:

  • Register the visitors who showed an interest in your products;
  • Sum up the exhibition's results;
  • Analyze the mistakes you made, review your (and others) successes.

Visitor registration

The key factor in guaranteeing that your participation in the exhibition will be effective in your future business is gathering and filing information on all of your visitors.

You can only track your clients promptly if you collect names, phone numbers, spheres of interests, and fields of activity, and then grade their readiness to make a purchase.

Many companies prepare questionnaires, but most visitors refuse to fill them out due to time constraints. Questionnaires and visitor card should be filled out by display booth workers as they talk with the visitors. While filling in the cards, make sure that they note the possibility of the guest signing a contract. (They can write with a colour felt-tip pen: "H" for "Hot," "W" for "Warm," and "C" for "Cold." Also, tell them to take as many notes as possible.)

If you did not prepare questionnaires, then, well, do not forget to do it the next time around! But all jokes aside, try to make do with what you have - tell your staff to take notes on the visitors' business cards. Of course, it is very important to exchange business cards with your guests, but a business card does not provide you with all of the information necessary to effectively track your visitors. Many enterprise executives and exhibition newbies think that a business card is a sign of interest from a future client - well, in that case, you will be left with a huge database of interested rivals, journalists, sales agents and cult members.

How to work with prospective clients

According to Marlys K. Arnold in his book, "Create The Best Image For Your Trade Exhibition," you can process you contacts according to the "48/10/30" plan. Based on the plan:

The first contact should take place within 48 hours after their visit to your display booth (24 hours in case of the "hottest" prospective clients). This contact could be an e-mail with thank for visiting your booth and a message about what actions you plan to take in the nearest future (to send the requested information within the week, for example);

The second and more extensive contact should take place within 10 days after the first meeting. Call the customer to learn whether he/she received your email, and if he or she needs any additional advice. Here, statistics show, you will be able to rearrange your contacts based on the level of urgency;

The third contact should take place within 30 day after the first meeting. It is difficult to make up a reason for making the third contact and quite often the manager just calls and asks, "have you decided to buy our products yet?" an excuse for a third contact could be that you are reporting new information to potential client. For instance, your exhibition results have been tallied, and you are interested in sharing the positive company news.

Estimating participation efficiency

Determine your goals before preparing for the exhibition. That is the only way to make sure that you will be able to effectively grade your participation.

No goals, No way to grade efficiency!

A report should be made on the entrance of every visitor into the exhibition stand area. This data will later be compared with your set goals. These reports can be used for marketing purposes after the exhibition.

Sometimes, the economic value of your participation can only be estimated correctly several months after the event. You may think your sudden success is not related to the exhibition at all.

Grade your participation based on these criteria:

  • Quantity criteria: number of visitors to have entered the booth, the number of contacts made, the number of contracts signed, the number of material given to visitors;
  • Quality criteria: these are difficult to examine as they are received through communication alone - quality of communication; visitor interest in products and services displayed; their opinions about the display booth and the information provided therein; gathered information on rivals; and, new distribution channels or prospective business partners.

Exhibition participation has economic and non-economic effects that should be considered when evaluating the efficiency of your participation in any given event.

Estimation method for non-economic (psychographic) effect:

  • Research (visitor and display booth worker questionnaires);
  • Analysis of visitors, statistical data provided by exhibition organizers;
  • Analysis of material published in mass media;
  • Estimated contacts with specialists

Estimation method for economic effect:

  • Budget analysis (expenses-profits comparison);
  • Sales volume;
  • Number of visitors;
  • Analysis of key indicators;
  • Costs of 1 m2 (= total costs / the display booth area);
  • Cost of 1 visitor (= total costs / number of visitors entered the display booth);
  • Costs of 1 contact with expert specialist (= total costs / number of contacts with visitors-specialists);
  • Duration of one visitor's stay in the stand (= the total time of negotiations / number of negotiations);
  • Critical number of contact (= total costs / cost of the contact with 1 sales representative)
  • Number of exhibition invitations used (= number of exhibition invitations sent / number of visitors with exhibition invitations)

Logistical estimate

This is purely an internal company affair for debriefing and recommendation purposes.

You must estimate the correctness and efficiency of:

  • preparation and realization of exhibition market plan;
  • advertising campaign;
  • exhibition stand solutions (sizes, location, style, construction, and developer);
  • organizational work in exhibition stands, particularly:
  • number of managers from various departments, technicians, staff members and hired personnel;
  • staff expertise level, their workload, and work plan established;
  • organizing company's events (conferences, presentations, promo campaigns, and sample tasting);
  • market research: market exploration and competitors activity analysis, consumer inquiries.


Minimizing competition costs - a painful issue

While reviewing concrete results - signed contracts, contract prices, revenue, and strengthened image - you should keep in mind that all of these things should be considered as interlinked elements of your market communications system. They should not be evaluated independently or abstractly.

How much would it cost you to achieve these results through other marketing channels - television commercials, direct e-mailing, outdoor advertising, or corporate events? If you do not know, then estimating the efficiently of your participation will be harder.



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