an exhibition of yourself
business areas, exhibitions and conferences are really useful ways
of communicating with potential customers. They are also
potentially very expensive in resources, management time and
money. So it's important that they are properly planned
and fit coherently within the rest of the marketing
strategy of the business. Here are a
few tips ...
what you really want
involved in planning attendance at many exhibitions over the
years and remain surprised at how often the exhibiting business
doesn't really know what it wants to get back from the
to remind all of our potential target customers that we are still in
business". "We need
to fill our sales pipeline with well qualified prospects".
to show everyone that we are a big player in this
If any of
the above are what the business really wants, then they probably
shouldn't be using an exhibition as the way of achieving it.
There are other marketing tools that are more cost
are very good at helping target customers form initial impressions
of your products or services and your business. They can be
good vehicles for making initial contact and providing some early
information. If you have a product that is highly visual or
tactile, or is novel in its approach and benefits, then an
exhibition is a good way to 'introduce' it to new potential
an exhibition as just an interactive sales introduction letter, and
then you won't be disappointed with the results.
the stand to attract visitors is often made over complicated
by a poor definition of what the business wants to
achieve by attending the exhibition.
many stands that use themed gimmicks to attract visitors.
There was one I recall that had a Formula One theme and included a
real F1 car on a raised podium. Next to the car was a big
glass bowl to catch business cards that would, according to a
sign, be entered in a draw to win a day out at the next UK Grand
Prix. Guess what? There were loads of cards in the glass bowl
(including mine), but how many were from potentially serious
customers for the business? ... not many. Clearly their goal
for the stand was to catch as many business cards as possible.
Not a very good goal really, in my opinion.
much of marketing, keeping it simple is often the best policy.
Be very clear about what your business does and what benefits it
offers its customers. If a theme for the design of the stand
lends itself to reinforce that then go ahead, but don't try to
shoehorn an irrelevant theme into your key messaging.
simple stand that communicates the key messages well will attract
the visitors who are genuinely interested in your offer. You
will get less visitors than the stand with the F1 car on it, but
they'll be of much better quality.
am often asked about exhibition 'etiquette'. "Should I
stand at the back and wait to be approached or should I stalk
the aisle and grab likely looking punters?".
does depend very much on the nature of the exhibition, what kind of
product or service your are offering and the specific design of your
stand. The default though should be to wait until a visitor
comes onto the stand and then you should approach them in a warm and
helpful manner. But, don't be afraid to leave them to browse the
stand alone if that is what they'd like.
it is important that staff are available to converse with the
visitor when the visitors wants. Staff standing in little groups
talking to each other is a definite no-no as visitors often find
breaking into such a group intimidating. It helps if staff on
the stand are clearly identifiable with a badge or a
that the visitor chose to come onto your stand so they must be
interested in your offer at some level. The role of the staff is to
help refine that interest into something specific that can be
discussed at the time or followed up later.
interested visitor leaves the stand, make sure to capture basic
contact information and record their area of interest. Let
them know that you will follow-up after the exhibition to see if
there is any more information that they'd like. And make sure that
value of the exhibition is in following up the contacts that were
made. Many businesses forget
and working pragmatically like this will help you to make
your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way.
This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate
your products and services from those of your competitors and
clearly see the value in buying from you.
If you would like some advice on memorable
marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone
at another business who might need help, then please contact
The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.
Download this handy guide which explains how to
get the best from attending an exhibition in order to
improve business effectiveness.
the Chartered Institute of Marketing as part of
their Directors' Briefing series, this document makes easy
reading for business people of all experience
free service to small businesses in the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire
and Oxfordshire area, the Marketing Effectiveness Assessment
delivers a professional audit of how a business is using the tools
of marketing to communicate to existing and potential customers. It
also includes a series of simple and cost-effective marketing
activities that the business can implement immediately and at low
Download the factsheet now.
Chartered Institute of Marketing
Marketing UK (information portal)
Marketing Profs (free articles)