Why Setting the Right Exhibition Participation Goals Is Important for Your Stand Design
Over 90% exhibitors believe that exhibitions deliver unique value which no other marketing channel can provide. It, therefore, does not come as a surprise that the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that the exhibition industry saw a 3.5% growth in 2018 from its previous peak in 2007.
But to get the maximum returns from an exhibition, the first step is to define clear goals. Yes! Proper goal setting can make or break your exhibition participation outcome.
As the preferred exhibition stand builder for several brands all over the world, we have seen that the most successful exhibitors set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
They are clear about the reasons why they are participating in the event, what are they want to achieve, and how they are going to measure the success of their goals.
Isn’t “generating leads” the only objective? This is the common question that we hear often. But we have to tell you that it is NOT true. There are several other outcomes, as outlined below, that you can look for, and your exhibition stand design can have a significant impact depending on your objectives.
Let’s dig deeper into this.
Objective: Sales Generation
Generating sales and revenue is one of the primary focus areas for most of the brands. The sales objectives could include – generation of new direct sales, generation of qualified leads, building of contacts list, getting registrations for new/future products, etc.
If this is the primary objective of your exhibition participation, then focus on using your exhibition stand as a place to conduct sales meetings and extensively promote your products/ services. Invite your prospects to your stand and give them a live demo of your products. Keep special offers on your products/ services. Ensure that you have a robust lead capture and follow up system in place at your booth.
Objective – Build Customer Relationships
The best thing about trade shows is that you get to meet a lot of different people under the same roof. It is an excellent opportunity for you to invite your customers to the booth and showcase your new offerings to them.
Use the exhibition as a place to woo your existing customers for upselling and gaining increased business. Similarly, you can use this as a platform to secure more customer agreements to act as references or win back the lapsed clients. You could host an exclusive meetup at the event and invite one of your customers to speak at the meetup. It will help in increasing your credibility.
Objective – Brand Building
The exposure your brand gets from exhibitions and events is tremendous. If you are a new brand, launching a new product, repositioning your brand, or launching your brand in a new geography, you need to focus on brand building.
Plan your brand building exercise to establish your brand’s positioning, to demonstrate your products, expand in new markets, and reach potential investors. For this, you need to ensure that your exhibition stand is designed to maximize the impact. It should rightly showcase your products and expertise, should be attractive to gather footfall, should provide the right information about your brand, and should covey the right brand message. You need to plan for a memorable stall with the assistance of an exhibition stand builder. Remember, your efforts to build the brand at exhibitions should resonate with your other marketing efforts. It is all about being consistent!
Objective – Product Launch
Several brands make exhibitions the platforms for their product launches, and why not? It is the best way to grab eyeballs from a variety of people. Also, product launches are great for demonstrating prototypes and also gaining user opinions and feedback.
To have a successful product launch, you need to ensure that your product gets the due importance and visibility in the stall. The overall booth design should reinforce the product launch. If you want to demonstrate the product functionality to the visitors during the exhibition, then the stall design should support that. That apart, you can use advanced audio-visual elements like interactive walls, displays, and kiosks.
Bonus Tip: To prepare for the launches, raise awareness and interest for the same. Share the launch schedule with your target audience through social media and email campaigns.
Objective – Market Research
Market research is also an important part of exhibitions, which include carrying out surveys to understand the market, opportunities, revenue generation avenues, market needs, demands, and customer preferences. Along the same lines, you can also assess your competition, set the sales targets and budgets, and use the information for campaign testing.
For this, you can go with a simple exhibition stand with sufficient space for meetings and discussions.
Objective: Channel Building/Support
Trade shows offer excellent opportunities to find and meet new channel partners, connect with existing partners, dealers, and distributors.
You can invite your existing and potential channel partners at your booth and showcase your product range. Your stand should showcase your product range and provide the facility to demo the product (where possible). You can set up meetings to discuss integration opportunities.
Objective – Media Relations
What is an exhibition without getting its fair share of media coverage? It is your chance at gaining truckloads of publicity and therefore, increase your brand’s awareness in the market. For this, start raising your media profile and fine tune your digital footprint. Make contacts in media (traditional and digital) and reinforce any existing relations with journalists, publicists, PR agents, editors, etc. Invite them to your booth and demonstrate your product/ service offerings to them. Showcase the success stories and your prime customers and testimonials.
For this, your booth needs to be extremely attractive and attention-grabbing. It should establish a classy brand image, rightly display your products, and sufficiently establish your credibility. You should discuss ideas with your exhibition stand builder on how you can achieve these objectives.
Make Exhibition Participation Objectives Work for You
These are some of the objectives to set for your exhibition or event. Once you are through with this, the next step is to address them in a more specific way. For this, find out what parts of the objectives can you measure and monitor on an ongoing basis. For instance, if your objective is sales generation, then you need to think in terms of:
- Are you targeting new or existing accounts?
- How many sales/ inquiries are you aiming for?
- How does the event audience match your target market?
- Are you looking for sales conversions or inquiries at the event?
- What are the timelines?
With clear objectives for the business event and measurable insights, there will be no looking back for your brand or businesses. Insights like these, along with data analysis, will help you measure the impact or the ROI of your exhibition accurately.
The results will be useful in understanding your key strengths and fallacies and set the tone of the next exhibition as you will be more prepared.