Are you planning to show your business at an exhibition or event? It’s a brave step and certainly not one for the foolhardy. Take a moment and think about it – is your business really ready?
Before you even think about selecting banners or putting together any marketing material, you need to identify your exhibition objectives. This is where you take a step back and think about the results you want to accomplish at the end of the trade show or exhibition. Write them down, keep them to hand, and ensure you refer back to them at the end as part of your measurement and success criteria. Perhaps you want to meet new partners? Attract more leads? Generate media attention? Raise awareness? Launch a new product/service?
Whatever the objective, understanding your goals is key – not only to the success of the exhibition but also to keep you and your team on track throughout.
Why is it important to set exhibition objectives?
Setting exhibition objectives delivers focus and ensures everyone understands why you are at the exhibition in the first place! It defines your purpose and helps determine the outcome of your event. Most importantly, it helps avoid wasting valuable resources – like time and money. A good understanding of this is crucial in order to predict and effectively measure your exhibition’s success.
How to identify your exhibition’s main objective:
Here are 5 of the most common exhibition objectives:
#1. Get NEW Customers
This has to be one of the most common objectives and is often the key reason to attend an exhibition. Face-to-face selling, or the ‘art of conversational selling’, is still one of the most effective ways to sell a product or service. The personal touch has all kinds of advantages over mass medium channels like email, TV, print and even online marketing. The logic is simple. When face-to-face with a prospect, salespeople can easily read reactions in real-time. Prospects can ask questions and the salesperson can answer and address any objections about a product or service as soon as they are raised. This forms a connection between the brand and the prospect in a way that opens doors for further communication.
If you want to make this your exhibition goal, then you will need to create some pre-exhibition awareness to make the most of the event. This can include things like:
– Leveraging your social media channels by making announcements that you’re going to participate in a trade show.
– Send emails or personalised invitations to people you think might be interested in your service or product.
– You can also even place ads on relevant websites or magazines to get more people interested and talking about it.
Make sure your team is suitable for the purpose – do you have the right staff on the stand for delivering conversational selling? Have you taken the time to prep your exhibition team on how to behave on-stand and agreed on ways to approach your audience effectively?
Exhibitions can and should be busy. You have a finite time to interact, so have a plan in place to capture as many people as you can. Consider your interaction. Perhaps you will have some people stopping passers-by, and then others focusing on more in-depth discussions with warmer leads.
#2. Launch your Service or Product
Perhaps you have an extraordinary product/service that you’d like to introduce to the market? Keep in mind that the trade show floor is saturated with other brands, so if you’re going to go for this objective, make sure your marketing materials are attractive enough to gain attention. Things to think about:
– Make sure your exhibition stand has impactful visual graphics.
– Think about using VR or AR to provide product demo or presentations.
– Offer free trials or samples.
– Make sure your product benefits are clearly outlined.
– Have enough people on the stand to demonstrate and answer questions.
– Be sure that visitors have take-aways to prompt them once home, and collect names and emails so you can continue marketing to them.
#3. Build Brand Awareness
Creating brand awareness and giving the customer an experience that they will remember, is a great objective to have. It’s all well and good generating sales and creating movement in your bottom line, but building brand awareness and making a lasting impression is what wins trust and loyalty in the long run. By creating an experience for the customer, they will not only remember your brand, but they will also talk about your brand to others and that’s a win-win for everyone.
– Use your stand to show what you stand for as a brand.
– Communicate what and who your brand supports, and how it delivers more than just a product/service.
– Add value to the interaction you have with exhibition visitors – avoid any selling and simply expand their experience.
#4. Find New Employees
Exhibitions are not just about gaining sales, they are also a great opportunity to meet new partners, competitors and, most importantly, new people! Exhibitions and trade shows can be used as a medium to spot potential employees and new recruits for your business. They are a great way to meet quality attendees in which you can spark an informal interview and then eventually invite these ideal candidates over to your office.
#5. Retain Current Clients
The final objective that many companies use exhibitions for is customer retention. It may sound strange, but it provides a great opportunity to rekindle relationships with current customers. So much of our business these days is online and we often don’t get a chance to meet customers face to face. By having a stand at an exhibition or trade show it not only gives you the opportunity to thank them for their custom but also gives you a chance to update them on new products or initiatives. Plus, by having a presence, it also reaffirms your business credentials for the client and will hopefully help retain their business.
It’s really important to put your goals in writing. This is so everyone around you is clear about the objectives and so you can measure and manage your results effectively. Just be sure to keep your objectives as realistic as possible and you’re bound for success! If you’re still unsure and have some more burning questions that you’d like to get answered, feel free to contact us or call us at 0800 10 99 88.