10 Tips for Planning an Exhibition

November 3, 2010

Good Planning Makes Exhibitions Easier and More Successful Too

It’s exhibition season and this is the final in a series of posts to help you plan your exhibition presence. For further information on How to Buy a Trade Show Display or Designing Trade Show Displays, please consult previous posts.

This article gives some useful tips on areas to consider when planning an exhibition.

1. Consider your target market. Who do you want to attract to your booth and what do you want them to do when they are there? It is important to set clear objectives and ensure that everyone who will be present on the booth understands the exhibition goals.

2. Contact your contacts. Plan activity in advance of the exhibition to notify key customers and prospects that your company will be there. Get the sales team working to set up meetings. Design competitions and offers to draw people to the booth. Use emails and Twitter to keep prospects and clients up to date with your plans.

3. Use all forms of PR and social media. If you’re not using Twitter yet, you should be! Use Twitter to connect with your audience and link up with visitors to the show using the event hashtag. Use LinkedIn and TripIt to ensure people know you will be at the event. Find out from the organisers about promotional opportunities and use any that you can.

4. Use your website. Set up a special page or area dedicated to the show and direct traffic from your marketing directly to this area or page. This will help you assess the results of your exhibition marketing. Make sure there is a clear path from this area to the next stage of asking for further information or speaking to your sales team. Set up this area as early as possible to help with SEO.

5. Design your booth. Design your booth well in advance of the exhibition and use the most cost effective and secure way to ship it to the location. If you are using an existing booth, make sure that all content on the graphics is completely up to date and order replacement banners if necessary. Order any necessary furniture and lighting. Well lit booths always look better.

6. Plan your AV and electronic requirements. Where will you display any video content? Is there enough electricity for your AV and IT requirements? Do you have a countertop or kiosk for your computers? What about internet access?

7. Review marketing collateral. What are you going to give visitors to your booth? Do you have enough copies? Think about brochures, leaflets, DVDs, and business cards.

8. Organise product samples. Do you need to show any product samples on the booth? Are they available? Do you have permission to display them? Do they need any special display conditions or temperature control?

9. Plan your data capture. How will you capture leads? A simple lead form or a data capture wand? These can usually be hired from the organisers. Who will input the data into a spreadsheet or CRM system? Can someone do this at the event for speedy lead followup afterwards?

10. Plan travel and accommodation in advance. These get more expensive and difficult to procure the later you leave it. Be an early bird.

Every exhibition is different, but I hope that the suggestions above help you to successfully plan your trade show presence and achieve successful results. Have a great time – it’s the closest you’ll get to being on stage 🙂

What Makes Good Design?

October 1, 2010

Choosing Creative Partners is About a Fusion of Understanding

In these days of fast moving technology, it is easy to become so absorbed in deciding on the right communications channel that design and creativity get left behind. Yet creativity has never been more important. As we strive to make sense of messages on new platforms that are leading edge and experimental, creativity is the hit between the eyes, the glue that binds us to the message.

Yet it is also important to work with creatives who understand the needs of your organisation and how to extend basic brand guidelines into something much bigger and more exciting.

It is undoubtedly true that the best work comes from a creative individual or agency who understands your company and brand but has a fresh enough perspective to drive the message forward. It’s impossible to tell you what is good and what is not, but the primary concern should be whether the creative makes an impact in both the advertising space and against competing promotions. Would it leave you wanting to know more? Would it make you want to click through to a website, pick up the phone or take action in some way?

Here are some suggestions for those seeking creative partners for medium term assignments:

  • Check their technical capability. How do they go about the design process? Which artwork packages do they use? Ask for technical as well as creative references – what do printers and website developers say about their work? Are they able to provide graphic design only or HTML design for websites and digital advertisingas well? Pure graphic design is fine, provided it is executed with a good understanding of how the internet and websites work so that the designs can be effectively converted into HTML or other software at a later date.
  • Look at their work. How well have they interpreted a brief? How well have they understood or developed a core branding proposition for their clients? Is their work derivative or original? How have they extended a brand message across different media?
  • How do they handle the basic asthetics of creating an ad? Do they typeset well? Are the fonts in proportion to the images? Is the right amount of text on the right lines?
  • Ask for references and testimonials. What do their clients say about their work and approach to service?
  • Discuss charging models upfront. Ask for a quotation to cover a number of forthcoming projects and remember to agree copyright for any designs.

In summary, good creative is absolutely essential to driving home your message. Sweat the detail. Challenge any concepts that you believe need more work. Remember that as a client, you get the creative you deserve.