Exhibiting can be a daunting prospect, particularly if it’s the first time, as there are so many aspects to consider. So, where to start?
It really starts with WHAT you are wanting to promote. It may be your business as a whole, a single product or a range of products. Once you know what you are promoting, you’ll need to find the shows that are relevant. There are many sites that will list which events are being held as well as the venue’s own sites. It may be that you have contacts within your industry who have exhibited before and will make recommendations of the events that worked for them.
You may have found a number of events that seem to be right for your business but these may be in different locations across the country, or even the world and depending on WHERE you are based, WHERE your targeted audience is (if you’re targeting an area geographically) and what the transport links to the venue are like for people visiting and you can start narrowing down your list of relevant shows to location.
The shows on your new shortlist may take place at varying times of the year. Although this may not be too important, it could make a big difference if either you or your competitors have a big announcement to make. Many show organisers will have already considered WHEN they feel is the most appropriate time to host the show – this could be down to the industry it focuses on, it could be down to WHEN they find buyers are most likely to be planning for the following year – so there should be some logic to the dates already, but it’s important to consider your own busy times to ensure you have adequate staff to represent you at the show in order to achieve the results you require.
Once you have decided the WHAT, WHERE and WHEN, you would then likely start booking your space at the show, it’s now time to decide your plans for HOW you want to present your company, business or brand in that space, and WHO you want to work with during this process. Some opt for taking their own graphics but this may not give the desired message you are trying to portray as it might lend a DIY finish to your stand. There are also large custom build stands that can look great but usually require a larger space and can, in some instances, reach hundreds of thousands of pounds. You then have modular options that can give a professional finish making your space stand out and can be a surprisingly cost-effective way of exhibiting while not having the stress of managing everything running up to the show. It is important to get to know your supplier or stand builder, even if it is via phone and email, and get a feel for what they do and how well they do it. It’s easy to throw big names around but what do their other clients say? Have you seen true examples of their work and not just artist impressions? It is likely you may not see each other face to face until you’re at the show handing over, so ask lots of questions, understand how they work and make sure you build a professional relationship you are happy with.