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Exhibition success: Revive your Exhibition Marketing Strategy (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered why your competitors continue to invest their valuable money and time into selected exhibition shows … year after year?

Each year they show up with a larger or newly designed exhibition stand, a well-defined exhibition message, fully knowledgeable, eager and motivated exhibition staff, attendees flocking to their stand whilst casually strolling right past yours.

Hmmm…what do they have that you don’t?

A refined and meticulously planned exhibition marketing strategy.

Exhibitions provide outstanding sales, marketing, research, branding, financial, and other rewards for companies that understand some important exhibition marketing fundamentals.

And for this reason alone, it is imperative that each exhibiting activity is thoroughly thought through.

With the assistance from studies originally performed by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, according to UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry), herewith are the items that should be covered in order to refine your exhibition marketing strategy:

Step 1: Selecting the right exhibition for your company

Choosing the best exhibition that matches your company’s sales, marketing, branding, or other objectives is your first step toward success.

It is a challenge, however, since there are an estimated 30,000 business-to-business exhibitions held each year all over the world.

Here are some thoughts to facilitate your selection process:

– Focus on those global exhibitions offered in the industry sector that are appropriate for your company.

– Evaluate these exhibitions according to their importance within that sector, as well as their local, national, or international appeal. For example, how long have they been operating?

– Carefully review the audience demographics (the published metrics or data about the visitors, exhibitors, press, VIPs, etc.). The exhibition visitor profile should offer your company a good potential for making sales or gathering sales leads. Do your customers attend the exhibition?

– Be sure that the company producing the exhibition has a good financial reputation. Find out how long they have been in business.

– The facility where the exhibition will be held should be evaluated, particularly for its technology offerings?

– Evaluate the city where the exhibition will be held – are there good hotels nearby? What about entertainment opportunities for meeting with your current customers?

– Consider accessibility to exhibition by air, rail, auto, since this will affect attendance. Are there other transportation options available?

– Finally, the time of year the exhibition will be held and political considerations can be important factors. After a thorough study, contact those exhibitions that are appropriate for your company’s marketing goals and needs. Remember that exhibitions are about making sales immediately, or significantly shortening the sales process for future sales.

Step 2: Setting objectives

The second step toward exhibiting success is establishing objectives for your company’s participation.

The sad truth is that 71 percent of exhibiting companies do not set objectives or plan strategies for their participation.

Even worse, only half of these companies with objectives ever follow through on their exhibition stand. However, those companies that establish and measure objectives consistently achieve great success.

Objectives provide direction for every aspect of your company’s exhibition participation: your marketing strategies, branding plans, budgets, exhibit architecture, graphics, products, literature, IT support, and the necessary staff.

Objectives and sales

Objectives also stimulate sales performance in the stand, particularly if they are measured in terms of their quantity and quality of contacts by the staff.

This means you should turn your company objectives into personal goals for each member of your staff to achieve at the exhibition.

Research consistently proves that successful exhibiting companies make sales related objectives their priority.

Step 3: Target marketing

Target marketing is the next important step in the exhibition marketing process.

In theory, it’s quite simple: you contact the visitors you want to see at an exhibition and tell them where your stand is located and what you are exhibiting, branding, demonstrating, etc.

Visitor categories

At an established exhibition, the visitor group is composed of the following categories:

1. Buyers and/or specifiers of purchases, some of whom will be attending for the first time, while others are loyal visitors, returning year after year;
2. Press representatives (both print and electronic);
3. Very Important Persons, VIPs or Opinion Makers;
4. International visitors;
5. Students, who may be influential buyers in the future;
6. Others involved with the industry.

Actual target audience

It is important at this point to be realistic about the number of visitors you can expect to meet at any exhibition.

You and your team must understand that not every visitor has an interest in what your company is exhibiting.

In fact, research proves that approximately 15 percent of an exhibition audience has general interests in any product or service category.

To be certain in your exhibition planning, consider 10 percent as your specific target audience.

This is it for Part 1 of – Exhibition success: Revive your exhibition marketing strategy. Part 2 and 3 to follow on in our next newsletters …

Source : Bob Dallmeyer : http://ssqexhibitions.co.za/

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