The do's and don'ts of exhibiting

22nd October 2010

The recent FaceTime research revealed the power of exhibiting, proving what many in the marketing industry have believed for ages.

According to the study, exhibitions and tradeshows had a very strong psychological impact on visitors. In fact, after visiting such an event, people were more likely to believe it was the best form of marketing to interact with and compare, and were more likely to buy a brand's goods.

So it's not surprising that many companies use exhibitions to market their goods and services. Yet, it's not always as simple as just showing up at an event and standing at a wooden table. Exhibiting requires lots of effort to ensure it goes successfully.

1) Do research: Research various shows before you go to ensure that you attend one that works for you. But, don't be tempted to do all your research online. While using the internet to find out about tradeshows is a good idea, nothing beats attending a few. This will ensure you can experience the atmosphere of the venue and see whether it would really suit your brand.

2) Don't forget to establish what your goals are: There is no point in attending an exhibition if you haven't clearly established what the aims and objectives are. Also, it's worth baring in mind that the FaceTime study found that companies should not restrict themselves to one or two goals. Instead, it's possible to use an exhibition to boost a firm's profile, sell products, make new contracts, grow a database and find out about competitors, among other things.

3) Do start planning early: Speak to the exhibition's bosses and ask them for ideas and advice. Make a plan.

4) Do be creative: An attractive stand that looks enticing is often going to pull in more visitors that one which is made up of a table with some leaflets on it. Consider including something for a variety of senses, such as items to touch, see, smell, taste or hear.

5) Don't forget to advertise your attendance: Make sure people know that you'll be at the event and where they can find you. Use a company newsletter, social media, advertising or another method so customers and possible clients know that you will be at the exhibition.

6) Do make sure everyone has adequate training: It's important that the people manning the stand know the company, its products and services, and what it's aiming to achieve. Make sure they have had sufficient training and look and sound professional.

7) Don't intimidate visitors: Representing a company at an exhibition can be a nerve-racking experience. So, it is hardly surprising that people can get over-excited and intimidate visitors. Speak with people who visit your stand rather than to them. Be enthusiastic but make sure you give visitors a chance to ask questions and express their own opinion.

8) Don't forget that press pack: Creating a press pack is often a good idea for an exhibition. Just make sure it has relevant information that a journalist could use, rather than only publicity.

9) Do implement a contact system: If you're there to generate sales or grow your database, make sure you implement a system which accurately captures people's details and what they are interested in.

10) Don't forget to follow up with your contacts: This is the most important part of any tradeshow. Make sure you send information to people who requested it, follow up on possible sales leads and send the newsletter out the people who want it. And, don't wait more than a week to do it!