January is usually the time in which a business creates a strategic plan for the new year. Its time to start thinking about the events you wish to attend and how you are going to do so.
Preparing your exhibition calendar can be a tricky task. There are many factors to consider when allocating your budget spend so that you see a return on your investment.
Here are just a few preparation tips that will help your planning process.
Set a Budget
First of all, you need to see what budget is available to you. Some business’ will provide the marketing /events department with a generous marketing budget which will more than cover what is needed for the exhibition calendar. However, smaller businesses may not have that luxury and may need to plan with exceptional care. This is to ensure all costs are covered so that no little surprise expenses pop up and eat into the profit.
Once you have a budget, you the need to work out how it is to be split. Read our 5 Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Event Budget for help with your exhibition budget.
Set Your Objectives
Before you start adding exhibitions to your calendar shortlist, there are a few things you need to set first. You need to think about the strategy and reasons for exhibiting in the first place, in other words your exhibition objectives.
Setting exhibition objectives is how you will measure the overall success of the event.
You must decide what it is you want to gain from exhibiting, for example:
- Increase brand awareness?
- Increase sales?
- Generate new sales leads?
- Employment opportunities?
- Maintain existing customer relationships?
- Launch a new product or service?
It may be that you want to focus on one objective or you want to set a few. As long as they are realistic then your success will be easy to measure and quantify.
For help setting SMART objectives read out latest article - SMART Objectives for an Exhibition.
Shortlist Your Events
With so many events and exhibitions going on up and down the UK it is hard to know which ones are best suited for your business.
One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t select events just so that your calendar is looking full. Create a shortlist of events you would like to attend, and then research the events to ensure your selections are right for your objectives.
Once you’ve got the shortlist, you need to research each event in detail to compare them. Things to consider:
- How long has it been running?
- What was last year’s footfall?
- What’s this year’s expected footfall?
- Who else is exhibiting?
- How much will it cost?
- What is the target audience?
- When is the event?
- Where is the event location?
From your shortlist, use the research to pick out the exhibitions that are more likely to provide a return, otherwise you will waste your valuable budget and not see the results you hoped for.
Think About Your Resources
Picking your events isn’t the only thing to think about at this stage. You need to be sure you’ve got a committed team in place that can successfully plan the events, attend the events and effectively follow up after the events.
Things to think about:
- Annual leave of the staff who need to attend the event
- Annual leave for staff who are covering the day to day processes in the office during the event
- Busy periods where staff are already stretched and taking staff out will affect the running of day to day activities
- Effects on the business whilst staff are out the office
It is one thing to ensure your event is a success, but the last thing you need is to return after the exhibition to find the office has fallen apart and processes have not been managed.
Exhibition and events should add to the success of a business and should not have negative a effect in any way.
If carefully planned, all the above can be covered and mistakes avoided.
Plan Your Marketing Message
What is your message going to be for the year? Maybe you’re going to be rebranding your business with a new identity. Maybe you have a new product of service you’ve been working on, and this year is the launch? Maybe your planning a big sale or marketing campaign?
Whatever your marketing message is going to be, you need to think about the plan and execution and this includes:
- When is the best time to launch?
- Is it a seasonal product or service?
- Will you use this message at every event throughout the year?
- Will you need different marketing material for each message/campaign?
This stage in the planning process will help you figure out what it is you need at the next stage.
Plan Your Marketing Material
Based on what it is that you want to market during your events throughout the year, you now need to think about what it is you will need to do so.
This stage in the planning process is more about allocating your budget spend on the following things:
- Exhibition display solutions
- Brochures and leaflets
- Give away promotional items
Your exhibition stand is ultimately the thing that will draw the most people in. Getting that right is important. Did you know, an exhibition attendee spends on average 6 seconds looking at your stand making the decision to approach you or not? 6 seconds is all you have!
It’s not just about the exhibition kit you are using, but the layout of the stand, the graphic design element and the marketing messages you are displaying.
We offer a wide range of cost effective exhibition display solutions which are backed by a quality and reliable 5* service. Our sales team are highly trained to select the right solution for your needs.
We offer a fully comprehensive exhibition stand design service and will provide a stand to meet your business and marketing objectives. We will be in close consultation with you every step of the way, from initial concept to stand installation, giving personal guidance at every stage. Allow us to take the strain and project manage your exhibition stand for you.
No matter what your exhibition needs, we are the experts to talk to. Let us help you achieve your exhibition goals.
For more information, or to speak to one of our dedicated team contact us or call us on 01733 511030.