I have always been a big proponent of pre-show planning, it’s a topic that I often share with customers and or colleagues when discussing their upcoming face- to-face event. I thought I would share my checklist with you, it’s straight forward and I have found it to be on target when discussing one’s strategic approach to exhibiting. Frankly quite often they find the questions to be somewhat enlightening, and often end up with a much different perspective on how to approach the show after some discussion. I call it ‘Know Before You Go’ Why are you Going? Exhibit for the right reason!
- What role does the exhibit play in my marketing mix?
- Brand awareness, enter new markets, increase customer/market share?
- At the end of the day, is there a # 1 reason for being on the show floor! If one does not immediately come to mind, try to flush that out.
- Who are they?
- Are there select attendees that you want to reach on the show floor? Or is everyone a potential customer?
- What specifically do you want to communicate to them?
- Is it the same message that is integrated into your marketing plan? (direct mail, trade press, advertising)
- Is staff communicating the same message during the show? This is critical, everyone needs to be on the same page.
- Is your message integrated with all your marketing vehicles? Where is the mental link both on and off the floor?
- Do you have a measure of success, what do you want to take home with you at the end of the day?
- Are you going just to be there to re enforce brand awareness, or re-introduce the branding position or reposition?
- Is this the show where you are introducing a new product(s)?
Creating Your Booth
- Evaluate the space, the # of people staffing and how many attendees you plan to engage in booth. As a rule of thumb and according to CEIR, your representatives will take up about 30 percent of the space to accomplish their objectives, or about 50 square feet per person.
- Location, Location, Location! Where is your competition, where are you in relation to main aisles, food court, restrooms?
- How often do we attend the show(s)? If frequency is less than 2x annually, renting your exhibit should be considered. Rentals do offer more flexibility in design changes year to year.
- How do you plan to deliver your message? Static graphics, digital media, interactive applications, etc.
Quality Not Quantity!
- Don’t let these two get mixed up in priority. Target buyers are key, not tire kickers!
- Pre-qualify through pre-show mailings to your target audience
- Pre-show promotion, tie it into a required visit to the booth
- Don’t just swipe for the sake of swiping. Have targeted questions prepared in advance. Record the information.
- Conclude with next step actions.
- Follow up Team. All too often this is where many fall short and miss potential ROI!
Your Face to Face Marketing Goes Beyond the Booth
- Banner Promotions in High Traffic Areas can be effective
- Look at promotion opportunities on the Association Website. Often there are 'New Product Showcase' tabs that you can participate in.
- Mobile Marketing around venue-push the brand as soon as they get out of the cab. For that matter- look at airport kiosk/signage opportunities!
- Exhibit Hall Interactive Kiosk Guides are also a great vehicle.
Feel free to print this out too make sure you are staying on the right track, and share any ideas you may have that weren't covered here!
ALSO! Don't forget to check out #AskChuck Wednesday! Every Wednesday check Facebook & Twitter for different questions and answers from yours truely, CHUCK! @ELITeXPO