Category Archives: Corporate Reasons for Exhibiting

Exhibition and Tradeshow Review of ROI

Following on from the last blog on Exhibition and and Tradeshow review and follow-up where we reviewed the logistics, sales lead follow-up plus feedback and analysis.  We will now look at reviewing the original objectives to see if the ROI was achieved.

ROI (Return on Investment)

  • Review your ROI by looking at your original objectives for attending the trade show and see if they were met. If this included a sales target it may take some time before you can determine how successful the show was at generating revenue.
  • The two primary reasons for exhibition performance measurement are
  • To justify the investment.
  • To gather information to make your investment more profitable.
  • A good measurement system can help you determine whether you should continue exhibiting at a specific show, and if so to what extent. It can help you identify your exhibit program’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also provide benchmarks for comparing different shows you that have exhibited at, and measure what your exhibition return was for the current year when compared to last year’s show. You can even look at how your marketing budget spent on trade-shows compare to other sales and marketing media. If you’re going to win the game of exhibiting you must have a score keeping process.

There is a very good article by Jefferson Davis of Competitive Edge which is available on the Internet in a number of places including:

http://www.ewea.org/offshore2011/fileadmin/eow2011_documents/exhibition/9_Exhibit_Measurement_Made_Easy_How_to_Measure_Exhibiting_Results_and_Return_on_Investment.pdf

The article outlines six basic measurements that almost every company should be measuring:

  1. Return on Objectives: What specific goals were you pursuing and what progress did you make toward those goals?
  2. Exhibit Budget versus Actual: What was your total exhibiting budget and what did you actually spend?
  3. Post-show Sales Written: How many orders and what was the total value of orders written after the event? Ideally, you should measure post-show sales at the 90 and 180 day points, unless you have a very long sales cycle. Also take into consideration the frequency of the show.
  4. Quantity and Quality of Leads: How many leads did you capture? How many were A – B – C leads? What is the estimated total sales potential of the leads?
  5. Cost per Lead: What was your cost per lead? Divide total number of leads captured by total show investment to determine this number.
  6. Cost per Interaction: What did it cost you to generate a face-to face contact? To determine this number simply multiply your total lead count by 2.4. This will give you a pretty accurate method way of determining your total booth traffic. Then divide total show investment by estimated total booth traffic.

These six basic metrics are by no means all that could and should be measured, but they are a very solid starting point. They will give you a very good picture of whether you are winning the game of exhibiting.

There is one final metric that all exhibitors should attempt to measure – the elusive exhibiting Return on Investment. To determine ROI accurately you must first be able to track at-show and post-sale revenue. Once you have that, simply follow the formula below.

Here is a Return on Investment example:

Total post-show sales from exhibit leads:                250,000€

Less cost of sales or gross margin:                             -190,000€

Equals Gross Exhibit Profit                                         60,000€

Less Exhibiting Costs:                                                    20,000€

Equals Net Exhibit Profit:                                           40,000€

Net Exhibit Profit 40,000€/Exhibit Costs 20,000€ = 200% ROI

Track the trade show organisers analysis of the show number and type of attendees to check whether this might be a show you would like to continue to attend.

You now have the basis for having the analysis and justification for exhibiting and also for participating in future exhibitions.

 

Exhibition Review and Follow up part 1

Completion of an Exhibition

Your exhibition at a trade show has now finished and there are certain steps you should complete before the whole project is wrapped up.

Logistics

Hopefully the stand or pop-up, all the equipment, literature and give-aways have been carefully packed and returned to office or place of storage.

  • Check that all items have been returned.
  • Unpack boxes where literature needs to go back on the rack or in the literature cupboard.
  • Assess how many give-aways you have left and, if they will be required for your next exhibition, keep record of the number. Order replacement stocks as required.
  • Check that the pop-up has been correctly stored in its box or container and note any breakages or things that need to be fixed before next show.

Sales Lead Follow-Up

The same process should be used for both paper lead forms and leads collected from a scanner in the form of data files.

  • Review leads and grade each according to their urgency, for example as hot prospects or as courtesy follow-ups.
  • Arrange a meeting with all sales personnel and sales management regarding the leads and allocate the leads to appropriate representative or product team.
  • Follow up leads with the required action, for example send out an email or letter thanking attendees for visiting the stand or showing interest in your company, send out literature as requested, or follow up by phone to arrange a meeting etc.
  • Track results.
  • Remind all stand personnel to make sure that any business cards collected are input into the sales database or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system so that they are updated with relevant information.

Feedback Follow-Up and Analysis

  • Send out a feedback form asking stand personnel for their feedback on specific aspects to do with the trade show that you are interested in and also ask them how they felt it went overall. Ask for any suggestions for improvement etc. Once you have the feedback forms returned analyse them for any learning points or actions required.
  • Follow up with a debriefing meeting for all stand staff and sales and marketing personnel, so that they can share findings and discuss how to improve exhibit performance for the next show.
  • Track the trade show organiser’s analysis of the show attendees by number and type to check whether this is a show you would like to attend again.
  • Review lead contact details and analyse their job titles and profiles to check whether this is a show where the people with the appropriate job roles you want to reach are attending.

The next blog will include reviewing the original planned objects and follow up ROI

Tips on Marketing and Publicity for Exhibitors – Promoting your Exhibition

Your marketing and publicity should be part of your whole marketing plan for exhibiting. Trade shows are a powerful element of the marketing mix in that they enable you to have face to face conversations with your customers and prospects, and to gather sales leads.

Your business and brand needs to be known to potential customers who are attending the trade show. The attendees will gravitate towards the brands that are familiar, visible and readily available to them. You want as many of the right kind of attendees to come to your stand.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

You need to ensure that you meet the right people, set up productive meetings and drive traffic to your stand. To do this you need to make sure that your marketing is targeted to the right attendees: those who will be interested in your products and who could potentially lead to a sale.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

Depending on your budget there are different types of marketing and ways of promoting your exhibit at a trade show. Some are free and others are chargeable. There are also different ways of marketing and promoting your presence at a trade show.

We will look at the various ways of promoting your event in this tip blog  and then in the next blog tip we will look at the different types of traditional and on-line marketing that you should consider using.

When you start the planning process you need to finalise the theme of the exhibition. All the marketing and communications of the company exhibition and promotion should have the same branding and look-and-feel. All communication about the exhibition should make consistent use of the appearance and branding. If you are highlighting new products then the communications and graphics should reflect the same graphical design.

The Promotion of the Event

  • The marketing of your exhibition is not just about the promotion of the stand and brand but it is also integral to promoting your business, services, and expertise.
  • Whatever marketing methods you adopt make sure you measure the results. This is so that you can determine the most effective method of getting people to your stand and so that you can analyse your Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Make sure that all your promotion is highly focused and correctly targeted.
  • Consider all possible methods of communication because different people like to receive communication in different ways. Use the full range of traditional offline promotion as well as online promotion and social media.

We will outline the marketing and promotion of exhibitions in three sections:

  • Promotion through the Trade Show organisation. (This blog)
  • Traditional Marketing Media promotion. (next blog tip)
  • On-line, Social Media. (next blog tip)

Promotion through a Trade Show Organisation

If you are exhibiting at a trade show then you should not just rely on the organising company to promote the event because you want to stand out from the other competitors and companies who will be promoted at the same time. Do, however, take advantage of their promotional publication to advertise your company stand and products because they will use their large database of previous and new attendees who are already targeted into your market. Promotional opportunities provided by the organisers will vary from trade show to trade show but usually consist of:

  • Promotion of your company in their catalogue of exhibitors. This usually requires a short abstract about your company, what it is that you are promoting, a list of products, photos of the products, and stand location and contact details.
  • An entry onto their website again listing your company products and contact information. Remember products can be searched and products cross-linked.
  • PR article for their newsletter promotion.
  • Advertising on website or pre-event magazine.
  • Sponsorship opportunities. These will be chargeable, but your brand or company name will be promoted on banners, on part of the website, on promotion media and at the exhibition.
  • Taking advantage of speaker opportunities that may arise if the trade show is running an educational seminar or is associated with a specific conference connected to the market segment into which you are marketing.
  • Use the trade show logo on your in-house marketing material and emails to advertise that your company will be exhibiting.

In summary you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your attendance at the show known so that those coming are aware of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.

Tips on Sending out a brief to Exhibition Stand designers for Space Only Booth/Stands and Graphics

Once you have prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition, completed the trade show Marketing Plan and prepared the budget you will know how much money you have to spend on the exhibition stand and the graphics.

Following on from the last blog we will concentrate on Space only bespoke booths/stands and the related graphics for stands.

Space only hire of floor space is best for making a bigger impression by allowing a bespoke stand to be designed and built to your own specifications. It is very important for your exhibition stand to give the right impression in order to showcase your brand, company and products. Confirm with the stand designer and builder that they will give you full management control from concept to completion. The stand building company can also transport and erect the stand before the exhibition, and then afterwards de-rig and transport the stand back to your company or keep it in storage.

Tips when sending out a brief to a stand designer:

  • Decide if you want to hire the stand for a one-off exhibition or if you have quite a few exhibitions you are attending. You may want to purchase your own stand and reuse it. Make sure that the company can store the stand and refurbish it as required. There will be an additional cost for this with each exhibition but the overall cost should be less than if you were starting from scratch each time.
  • Know your budget for each component of your exhibition project. It is important that the stand designer also keeps within budget that there are no hidden costs.
  • The stand designer needs to understand your company ethos.
  • The designer needs to know what it is you will be exhibiting whether hardware or software, retail items etc.
  • The designer needs to know what you would like included in the available floor area, like a small meeting room, storage, presentation area, demonstration area, reception information desk etc.
  • The designer needs to know your marketing theme, what look and feel you would like at the exhibition, and whether it needs to follow your brand marketing or promotion.
  • The designer needs to have an idea of the graphics you would like and how these will fit onto the stand walls etc.
  • Research the stand designers and decide what designs in the past they have done that you like and whether they have used the materials you are thinking of using for your stand.
  • Get examples of previous successful stands that they have created so you can refer to them in your brief.
  • Make you brief as full as possible including what you want to achieve so that the stand designer and builder can respond as closely to your requirements.
  • Send out briefs to no more than three designers; any more becomes overkill.

 Graphic Tips

Image result for exhibition graphic panels

  • Get a design agency or marketing department to design what you want to say about the brand and incorporate into the graphics.
  • Keep to corporate colours, logo and trademark for your brands.
  • Promote the key brand that you are there to exhibit.
  • Keep graphics simple and visual; too much information looks messy.
  • Remember the audience are walking past and they need to know what your company does or products you sell, as easily as possible.

Tips on Seminar and Exhibition Pop Up Stand and Shell Schemes

Once you have prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition, completed the trade show Marketing Plan and prepared the budget you will know how much money you have to spend on the exhibition stand and the graphics.

From the outset you should have an idea of what type of exhibition stand you want and what you can afford from your budget. Some exhibitions are part of a conference where you either get a table and chair or can have your own pop up stand.

If you are exhibiting at a trade show you may have a choice of a shell scheme or freestanding space. The size of the shell scheme can vary depending on your budget but they normally have set dimensions. Most purpose-built shell schemes usually have three walls with standard furnishing. Some are corner stands with two walls or a free standing space of a specific size where you can design and build your own bespoke stand. The choice will depend on the type of show, the schemes available, your budget, and what it is you want to showcase on the stand.

Table and Chair, or Pop Up Stand

  • Table and chair. This format can be rather limiting but you can usually use floor-based pop up banners as a back drop or table-based pop up. You can promote your company name, product or message on the pop up.
    There are a variety of pop up banners which come in different width. Single or double sided banners are retractable, easy to carry in a case and are available in a variety of prices to suit your budget. If you are going to be using the banner at a number of events it is probably best to have a more expensive durable one.
  • When paying for a table and chair an electrical connection is normally included along with your company name exhibition entry.
  • One graphic option is to use Foamex display boards which are inexpensive and can be attached to poster boards.
  • Portable Pop Up Stand. If you want something a bit more custom-made then a pop up stand is useful. Again it can be re-used and comes with its own travelling boxes.
  • Varieties of modular exhibition stand with interlocking components can be found online at different prices. They vary in size and can be single or double sided, straight, curved or L shaped. They usually have a magnetic locking system to hold the panels together on tubing which is used for rigidity.
    The company branding and messages can be placed on the banner sides.
  • Digital LCD displays can be used for graphics and, although they are more expensive, it is easier for the content to be revised and refreshed
Tips:
  • Ensure when putting away your stand that you pack the rolled graphics the right way to prevent them from getting scratched.
  • If using spotlights always carry extra bulbs and if exhibiting abroad make sure you have a European socket converter for an English plug!

Shell Schemes

Shell schemes are used at most major conference and event centres as a way of dividing hall space into individual sections or booths. Shell schemes are usually formed by a series of upright aluminium posts braced apart with cross-beams. The shell scheme normally has three sides but you can get a two-sided stand. The size of the shell will depend on the trade show floor plan. Shell schemes normally come with flooring, company name board, lights, basic furniture, and electric power. If more furniture is required you can order these from the trade show organiser.

To make your company stand out from other exhibitors use creative graphics and think of innovative ways to decorate the stand or shell scheme so that you are differentiated from the crowd. Solutions include using free-standing display stands and banners or attaching posters or panels to the walls of the stand using Velcro.

The problem with exhibition shell scheme systems is that the aluminium uprights stand proud of the wall panels. This causes problems when you want to create a large seamless back wall display rather than having a series of posters separated by the aluminium shell scheme uprights.

The Shell-Clad system provides a good solution for those who want to achieve maximum impact by decorating a shell scheme exhibition stand with edge to edge, mural-style wall graphics. It provides a simple yet ingenious way of attaching graphic panels to the shell scheme posts without the need for sticky tape or other messy fixings.

Shell-Clad adapters’ clips simply snap on to the upright pillars of the shell scheme and provide a Velcro-compatible surface onto which graphics can be attached.

Panels for the Shell-Clad system are normally produced in vertical strips using a durable, laminated, rollable material. This means that in most cases your exhibition graphics can be rolled and transported in a single box or storage drum.

Printdesigns is an example of a print company that produces panels for Shell-Clad exhibitions stands. In addition stand standard roll-panels Printdesigns can use materials like Foamex PVC or even dye sublimation printed fabric to create exhibition wall graphics for your stand that look good and are compatible with Shell-Clad adapters.

Normally the print company will provide both an artwork template and a plan of your stand to make it easy to design graphics and fit them later.

Tips for Exhibitors on how to compile a Time Line and Check List whilst planning a Tradeshow or Exhibition

 

Having already prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition as well as completing the Trade Show Marketing Plan, you now need to review the project plan.

It is essential to know the deadline dates for completing key activities. Most importantly you need to ensure that you do not miss the deadlines of the show organisers.

It is vital to highlight all your own organisation logistics on your check list including what needs to be planned, purchased and organised before the exhibition starts. This time line and check list document is an aide memoire that should keep you focused on target and on track to accomplish your goals and objectives.

What is a Trade Show Time Line?

When creating an event time line for a conference or for a trade show and exhibition, start with the event date as the end-goal and work out all the timings backwards from that date. Everything has to be accomplished before the start of the exhibition.

For a trade show you should always check on the exhibition organisers’ website for the deadline dates for ordering services. Fill these dates into your time plan allowing for pre-planning logistics so that you can accomplish the actions by the deadline. Also note any restrictions or conditions of the contract. The more time you have to prepare before an exhibition the better the project should run and the less stress it will cause you.

An example of a timeline

Exhibition name, Place date Location Stand Hall stand #
Build date:
Breakdown times and dates:
Date Action Responsible Comments Completed
Week Ending DD/MM/YY [Start with the nearest to current date] Describe the action Initials of person or persons to accomplish this action Describe what needs to be done, how the action is progressing, any other useful comments usually with a date you have actioned items Date finished
Tends to be a week-ending date rather than an actual date unless its the tradeshow deadline date First add time critical deadlines from the exhibition organisers and then fill in with other check list items according to when they need to be accomplished by
Week Ending DD/MM/YY Show build time
Show date Dates of the exhibition
Week Ending DD/MM/YY Follow up items

What is a Check List?

A check list provides a step by step guide so that you can clearly see organisation and execution of the logistics for the exhibition. This should be incorporated into the time line so that the items covered are actioned with the person responsible within the deadlines required. Items to consider for incorporation into your time line include:

  • Corporate objectives as discussed in the blog titled Tips on How to Plan for an Exhibition , for example the theme of the show, strategy etc.
  • Budget creation (the budget and financial actions will be covered in the next  blog. It is important to note in your time line when the payments are due so you can schedule any deposits for the show or pay for required services.
  • Many trade shows have a conference running in parallel and this can be a good opportunity to promote you company by applying for a speaker slot. Note that the selection for the speakers is normally way in advance of the event so you need to keep an eye on the final date of speaker slot submission

The Logistics:

  • Exhibition space & stand build, or shell scheme, branding, graphics and displays will be covered in tip sheet
  • Ascertaining who is attending from the company, communicating with them the show plan, pre-show meeting and training and any rehearsals required, organising a stand rota for staff
  • Hotel and travel booking
  • Ordering services from the show organisers or your own suppliers such as:
  • Catalogue entry, power supply, Wi-Fi, cleaning, catering, furnishing, equipment, technical equipment, software, badge names, scanner for marketing leads, collateral for show, give-aways
  • Marketing of event – this is very important so that attendees know you are exhibiting and visit your stand. Do not leave this just to the show organisers’ marketing of their exhibition. You need to promote your company to your own contacts or potential clients and prospects. This could include: PR, press packs, advertising, website, on-line promotion, social media, twitter, database use, direct mail, invitations, fliers, promotion at show, sponsorship, email marketing, newsletter, collection of leads, telemarketing, competitions, internal documents and communications
  • Planning of on-stand presentations and demonstrations, organising meetings with prospects or clients beforehand, booking meeting rooms, hosting dinners and corporate hospitality
  • Shipping of exhibition stand, collateral etc. Be sure to check the destination customs and excise as to when road lorries are allowed to travel as certain countries do not allow goods vehicles to travel on a Sunday
  • Organising security and insurance, planning for health and safety considerations

Remember that the time line and check list document is not written in stone. It should be a working document and amended as required.

It is very important to check and re-check the items and progress throughout the pre-planning period, and not just before going on-site, to make sure everything is ready. Sometimes there can be misunderstanding so it is better to be sure all is in order. The main thing to remember everyone wants the show to be a success and the more pre-planning and checking you do beforehand the better prepared you are for the unexpected.

Tips on how your marketing plan can help you succeed in exhibiting

To be successful exhibiting at a trade show one of the most important actions after deciding to exhibit is to prepare a Trade Show Marketing Plan. You need to know what you want to accomplish and how to achieve it. A marketing plan helps you establish the strategy and decide what actions are required for you to exhibit and how to communicate this to others. It helps you to target decisions and it keeps you on track.

What is a Trade Show Marketing Plan?

A Trade Show Marketing Plan is the end result of a process. It gives you a format to follow and allow you to be consistent. The Plan should include:

  • An analysis of the market environment
  • The development of the exhibition plan
  • Writing an executive summary

 Market Analysis

Marketing analysis forms the basis for creating the goals, strategies and tactics used to develop the plan. This consists of your understanding of:

  • The market environment
  • The customers
  • The competition
  • The company

Information for a market analysis can be found on the internet, in trade journals and company reports, through direct customer research, by speaking to internal managers and sales people within your company, and by compiling a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis report.

 Market Environment

  • Look at the market as a whole and seek to understand the dynamics that can impact the company and its products
  • Examine the company’s market share and get a statistical evaluation of the market

 Understand your Customers

You need to understand why customers buy your products or services so that you can create an environment that encourages the behaviour outcome you would like from the exhibition.

This can include:

  • Demographics – the statistical characteristics of your customers
  • Psychographics – understanding the lifestyle and personalities of your customers
  • Buying patterns and preferences
  • Environmental influences

 Competitive Analysis

Consideration should be given to your own company as well as its competition. Use a SWOT analysis, speak to the sales personnel of your company and use post-show evaluations.

In the competitive analysis include all the questions you need to have answered regarding the exhibition such as:

  • Current exhibition strategy and trend
  • Size of space occupied
  • Style and theme of exhibit
  • Graphic message
  • Staffing levels
  • Lead capture and follow up
  • Pre & post show promotions

You also need to examine competitive positions outside the trade show environment.

After collecting and understanding the market analysis you then need to set the strategy and decide how you will accomplish your goals.

The Trade Show Marketing Plan should include

  • Market analysis – include the key findings from your study
  • Marketing objectives for the trade show. You can link the trade show programme to wider corporate marketing objectives. These need to be measurable and can include:
    • Who will be attending
    • What is the purpose of the exhibition
    • When are the dates of the exhibition
    • Where is the location of the exhibition
    • Why – define the objectives and purpose for attending
  • Marketing strategies – how you are going to accomplish your goals
  • Action plans – what are the tactics you will undertake to carry out your strategies
  • Resources and timings – what do you need to carry out the plan in the timescale
  • Executive summary – summarise the above elements as a distillation of your plan so that you can communicate it to senior management

Once you have written the Trade Show Marketing Plan, check that it is in line with your other marketing mix plans. Ensure you refer back to the Plan to make sure that you are fulfilling your strategy, objectives and actions. The Plan can be used at the end of the exhibition to review your return on investment.

Reference: Jim Burch, How to Write a Trade Show Marketing Plan You Can Actually Use