How to Prepare for Your Exhibition

12th September 2023
Posted in: Uncategorized

As the old saying goes, “fail to plan and plan to fail”. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to exhibiting at conferences and trade shows. In this blog, Dermot shares his 4 guiding tips to run a successful exhibition.

So you’ve decided to exhibit at a trade show – I hope you used my helpful guide from our previous blog, “How to Select the Right Exhibition for Your Company” 😉

Today I wanted to talk about how to best prepare for your exhibition.

(1) Setting Objectives for the Exhibition You’re Showcasing At:

The late Bob Dallmeyer highlighted that 71% of exhibiting companies don’t set objectives or plan strategies for participating in a tradeshow. What’s even worse is that of the companies that go to the effort of setting objectives, only half follow through on the stand. Those companies that follow through, however, achieve great success, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.

There is a great power behind setting objectives if they are done right, they can incentivise the sales teams to perform at their optimum on the stand – mainly if they are measured on the basis of the quantity and quality of leads generated by staff. Research consistently proves that successful exhibiting companies make sales-related objectives their priority.

(2) Examples of Basic Objectives to Consider for Your Exhibition:

To set objectives, you must define what your company wants to sell, promote, market, brand or communicate at the exhibition and to whom.

Standard objectives look like this:

– Increase sales through new orders or qualified trade show leads

– Introduce new products and services to the market

– Enhance our relationship with current customers

– Conduct market research

– Data collection for the company email list to nurture

– Open new markets or territories

– Gain media exposure

– Check out the competition

– Enhance the company brand or image

– Educate visitors to the stand

– Recruit new employees

Setting objectives is the first step in any successful exhibition marketing activity. As the marketing guru Lawrence J. Peter wrote: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.

(3) Who Is Your Target Audience for the Exhibition?

Setting your target audience is the next important step in planning for your exhibition. In theory, it’s pretty simple: you contact the visitors you want to see at the show and tell them where your stand will be located and what you will demonstrate.

Visitor Categories:

At any exhibition, there are a number of categories that make up visitor groups:

– Buyers and specifiers of purchases, some of whom will be attending for the first time, while others are loyal visitors, returning year after year.

– Press representatives (both print and online)

– VIP or Influencers

– International Visitors

– Students who may be influential buyers in the future

– Others involved in the industry

(4) Participate in Pre Exhibition Communications

Exhibition Site: For many exhibitions these days, they have portals set up where you can submit your logo, bio and contact details for release in the exhibitor’s section of their website; this can be the first point of reference for those attending an exhibition as a visitor so be sure you have a clear Call to Action in place, that aligns with the objectives above so that they know what to expect when coming to your stand.

Advertising Opportunities: Some exhibitions have magazines that offer exhibitors to advertise in. Again, please review your budget and your objectives here to see if this is worth participating in.

Sponsorships: Sponsorships are a particularly effective way of demonstrating your support for an exhibition. Be sure that the sponsorship package offers opportunities for increased exposure for your company, and make sure that your target audience is clear that you are a sponsor as it underscores your commitment to their industry.

Social Media: We always encourage our clients to promote their attendance at an exhibition on their respective social media sites in the lead-up to the conference, during with some pictures/video footage and afterwards. To enhance your exposure, also be sure to tag the exhibition organisers using their handle or hashtag.

Blog: Likewise, if you have a blog on your website, write a short piece to explain that your business will be exhibiting at x and what to expect from paying a visit to the stand.

Email: If those in attendance at the trade show are your clients, warm leads or suppliers before the show is an excellent opportunity to reach out to them to see if they will be attending and if the answer is a yes, then try and book a meeting space with them to catch-up.

Never doubt that your pre-show activity is worth the effort since 75% of all visitors arrive at an exhibition with a predetermined agenda as to whom they plan to see and, very often, they plan to evaluate and buy. You want your company to be part of the selection they choose to visit on the day.

I hope this blog has given you food for thought about your exhibition strategy. As always, we welcome you to contact us about your exhibition needs. Just say


Dermot 1

Dermot Malone

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