In the UK alone, there are more than 1.3m business events held every year, so identifying the right exhibition for your business can really make a big difference to your overall success and ROI. Because of this choice, an easy solution might be to remain loyal to an event you’ve attended previously, however with constantly changing industry and consumer trends, are those established events keeping pace or is there another one being launched which is more suited to your business?
Here are four factors we think you should consider when planning your event calendar for the year.
1) Set your objectives – What are your reasons for exhibiting?
Before you do anything else, you need to have a clear objective for wanting to exhibit.
- Are you trying to build awareness of your brand?
- Are you launching a new product or service?
- Are you trying to strengthen your relationship with existing customers?
- Are you attempting to make new contacts and sales?
The answers to these questions will go some way to identifying what exhibition to attend and how to engage with it. Consider larger shows that are built to target multiple industry verticals and may be preferable if you are looking to broaden sales into new areas. A niche event may enable you to have more targeted conversations, deliver higher volume sales and generate better quality leads as they attract a specific audience.
2) Who are you trying to meet?
Exhibition organisers will always attempt to maximise attendance numbers but bear in mind that the quality of audience may be more valuable than mere numbers. A stand that is constantly busy may look good in photos to senior management and partners, but it’s how those numbers translate into results in post-show analysis that will decide if it’s been a success or not.
Have you identified your customer persona and are they representative of the audience the event is expected to attract? Your consumer demographic is key to success.
Why not speak with your current customers and ask them what shows they attend and why they attend them.
3) How compelling are the keynote speakers?
‘Content is the King’, one of the most common marketing phrases you’ll hear right now, so don’t forget this when you’re assessing your event options, however ‘Distribution is the Queen’. Keynote speakers are there to change the mind of a group of people, to persuade them of something they hadn’t seen, known or believed before. Try and find someone who’s talk aligns with your product or service.
The more attractive the speakers, the more discerning the audience that will turn up to hear them.
If your business has its own “star players”, then exhibiting can provide you with the opportunity to contribute your own speakers and even to influence the focus of the keynote events. Speak with the sales manager for the event that you’re considering and see if there’s an opportunity to have your own speaker. If they are trying to convince you to take a stand, you can sometimes leverage this opportunity as part of the deal.
4) Set a budget
The space size and build requirements are the biggest and most obvious costs, but consider all the other outlays too—travel, hotel, marketing, catering, collateral etc.
Separate your expenses into 3 categories
- Space and stand – Are you opting for a shell scheme. modular frame or a bespoke build
- Stand services – Collateral, visitor attractions, catering
- Staffing costs – How many staff for how many days?
A good rule of thumb is to multiply the cost of your stand space by 3 to get a total overall budget.
Before you sign up to an event, ask the question, can we afford it?
Final word from an industry Expert
Mike Seaman, MD of Racoon Events, launched the hugely successful National Running Show in January 2018, a consumer show aimed at the leisure running market. He advises that as part of your due diligence when considering an exhibition or event, you should include an assessment of the organisers’ track record with other exhibitions, their knowledge of the market and their choice of industry partner and the venue it is being held in.
“Their partnerships should be with credible organisations within your industry,” he says. “And a reputable venue will only do business with organisers it trusts. The Running Show was hosted by the NEC but we had to undergo a strict due-diligence program before we could use their logo.
The National Running Show takes place at the NEC on the 19th and 20th January 2019.
Speak to one of our experienced Project Managers today for a free design and cost consultation on your stand, use the contact form or call us on 01527 510 154.