Orchestrating a Successful Exhibition – The Art of Conducting It Right

April 17, 2015 / Arielle Adler

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Performing exhibitions at industry events can be a lucrative and respectable way of raising your profile, launching a new offer and generating sales leads, IF done right.

The act of conducting and managing a successful participation in exhibitions is a state-of-the-art business; standing out from the crowd, differentiating your company from competitors, deriving the expected quantity of quality leads, dealing with budget constraints and demands for demonstrable returns on investment are features which require unwavering preparations but are often disparaged.

It should be noted that these are however, an incomplete list of the tasks an exhibition planner needs to deal with.
In this series of blog posts, I will guide you through the basics of planning ahead for a successful and ROI measurable exhibition.

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Purpose for participation
Exhibitions create value to stakeholders through the inducement of the behavioral patterns of the participants. If you do not expect the participants to take some kind of action after having socialized with your stand staff, then there is no value in your exhibit.
As a result of this, prior to tackling the actual planning of the exhibition, you need to ask yourself some rudimentary and essential questions:
•    Is there an actual need for an exhibiting, how necessary is it?
•    How much staff is required to engage the target audience?
•    What size of exhibition space is required to attract the target audience, display the products and hold meetings?
Once you have answered these questions and have decided to become exhibitor, the next step would be the preparatory step.  Whether you are participating in small or large exhibitions, with a small or large booth, they all involve the same basic planning, and there are no shortcuts!
•    If you are doubtful and unsure about your need to exhibit, do a careful observation of other exhibitors. If you are still uncertain, attend the exhibition venue as a visitor to learn about the event, your competitors, the market, industry trends and make new contacts
Pre-exhibition preparation
As this is a costly investment in terms of expenditure (e.g. exhibition space rental and all such related expenses as well as labor costs), it is imperative that you should be very clear and focused on what you want to achieve, and also have precise and measurable goals in mind. 
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While preparing for an exhibition, special attention should be paid to:
•  The decision on the stand type and its location (taking into consideration the booth location of your competitors, and companies you would like to be in close proximity to or even be associated with)
•  Liaising with booth designers, production companies, graphic designers and printing houses
•  Opting for a prime speaking slot for your presentation, as companies utilize and recognize the power of communicating messages and expertise in a particular field via this channel
•  Planning your online and offline advertising campaign towards the event such as PRs, mailers, promotion on social media e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, as well as blog posts
•  Arranging meetings ahead of time with prospects (the decision makers), customers, journalists and analysts
•  Planning  lead generation mechanisms
•  Advancing clear messaging; in collateral, booth design and overall approach
•  Arranging hotel accommodation for participants
•  Arranging transportation of goods to venue (and back to your company)
•  Start planning well ahead of time in order not to miss deadlines, and also so you can make the most out of the event
•  Keep track of the planned budget versus actual budget expenditure on an excel sheet

Coming up next :
– How to attract visitors and attention to your stand
– Exhibition Stand Staff Training
– During the event
– After the event

Want to learn more about successful exhibition planning? Contact me for more information at arielleadler@yahoo.com