Five Steps to Great Exhibition Planning Posted by: by Andrew Pocock If you’re new to managing events – or just want a confidence boost so you know you’ve got everything covered – we’re here to help. So let’s kick off with a quick introduction to event planning. How can you make sure that you get the most out of your next event? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 1. Be clear why you’re attending OK, it sounds like Mrs State-the-Obvious has just come to town. But not everyone we encounter is clear about their objectives – and unless you know exactly what you want, you’re pretty certain not to get it! So the first thing you need to do is think – ideally armed with a pen, pencil, cup of tea and slice of cake – and log everything you know about the event. How often is it held? Do your competitors go? How is the show promoted? What sort of footfall does it normally get? Is there a regional, national or international bias that is good for your business? 2. Know who you are targeting Having covered what you know, it’s time to look at who you know – or need to get to know. Who typically goes to this event – are the delegates from a particular industry or is it a generic show? Do you need to target chief executives, finance directors, marketing managers, trade buyers or busy housewives? And thinking about your hottest prospects, what does that ‘buying Brad’ or ‘accounts Angelina’ look for when making purchasing decisions? As you need to focus on what they want for the next point… 3. Understand what products and services best fit the bill If your buyers only care about the bottom line, then you’ll need to be sharp on costs and make sure your prices are highly visible on the stand. If you’re in a market where quality comes first, then you’ll want to give your premium products an airing and make sure they are presented to perfection; everything is in the detail. And whatever you’re selling – memorise all the key features and benefits well in advance. That information can be the difference between a sale and a smile, or a fail and a frown. 4. Check where you’ll be situated Take a look at the exhibition plan. What choice of stand space do you have, if any? Are there any obvious ‘hover’ points where you can catch people walking by, such as near food spots, entrance points or workshop areas? Have you been to the event before, or do you know past delegates who can give you insider tips (for example, if a particular hall gets crowded or the temperature on the north side of the building goes haywire in summer)? Factors like this are really helpful in working out what sort of display you’ll need for the occasion – from plain and simple banner stands, through to pop-up displays or custom-built showstoppers. If you need a hand with any of the details, or you just need to spruce up your display materials, e-mail us or call 0808 149 3576. 5. Clarify how you’ll measure your success Don’t go mad with the metrics, but do think about how your objectives can be translated into tangible results. This could be the number of leads generated, volume of units sold, plaudits about your product in social media, value of press coverage… whatever feels right for you, make sure it’s measurable and achievable. Good luck with your event planning – and if you have any comments or questions, please e-mail us with your musings.