Have you ever tried to follow up on a sales lead, only to end up leaving one message after another in their voicemail inbox? When your business is one of many competing to gain a new client or customer, getting your voice heard is the most difficult part of outbound marketing . That’s where tradeshows and exhibitions excel, providing a near perfect platform to display, demonstrate and sell your brand, products and or services to 100s and 1000s of interested attendees, most of whom will be the key decision makers.
Miami Burger – Casual Dining Show, ExCel Arena 2021
One of the greatest advantages of exhibiting at a trade show is that it allows you to meet and connect with prospective customers in-person instead of communicating with them over the phone. Over the phone, you’re just another voice. In-person, you, your brand, product and or/service become tangible and recognizable. Face-to-face not only builds and strengthens relationships with prospects and customers, it also enhances brand credibility and enables reps to communicate key value propositions more effectively.
Very Jelly – Vaper Expo, NEC 2018
Generally speaking, not all prospective customers attend trade-shows and exhibitions to make a purchase. However, most of them do have an interest, need or desire to in the foreseeable future. Those that don’t commit to a purchase in person, will become far more responsive to your sales efforts once they know you as a genuine individual instead of just another salesperson.
“whilst companies took on average five sales calls to close a sale if the prospect was found by the salesperson, it took only 0.8 sales calls on average to close a sale if the prospect was found at a tradeshow or exhibition” (Herbig et al 1998)
Choosing the right tradeshow
When approached with the right strategy, the ROI achieved from a successful tradeshow is difficult and often impossible to replicate using other forms of outbound marketing.
With so many tradeshows to exhibit at, choosing the right tradeshow and preparing accordingly will help you to maximize the benefits of exhibiting at a tradeshow. With this in mind, we’ve devised a series of Key Questions you should ask yourself before choosing to exhibit at a tradeshow;
1. Why Am I Exhibiting?
What are your reasons for thinking and/or choosing to exhibit at a tradeshow? Do they tie in with your overall plan and set business objectives? Some of the most common reasons for exhibiting are:
- To meet and connect with new and/or potential customers?
- To generate on the spot sales?
- To generate leads?
- To Introduce new and/or innovative products to large audiences?
- To access a particular target market?
- To promote your existing products and services?
- To deepen your industry knowledge and network?
- To strengthen existing customer relationships?
- To analyse the competition?
Identifying your goals and objectives will provide the clarity to make a better and more informed decision on choosing the right trade show to exhibit at. The likelihood is, that your reasons for exhibiting will be a combination of the above.
Once you’ve identified the reasons for thinking to exhibit, you can begin to draft up a list of the tradeshows relative to your industry. Research each one and draw up a shortlist of those that best align with your now defined objectives Why am I exhibiting?
2. Will this tradeshow attract my target market/audience?
As a unique promotion tool, Exhibitions & Tradeshows hold a special place in the marketing mix. With the breadth and depth of exhibitions that take place globally, choosing the right ‘Place’ will go some way to ensuring your products and/or services are seen by your target market.
To find out if a tradeshow attracts your target market, check out the organisers website. More often than not, organisers publish key statistics including the demographics of attendees. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to call if you have more questions.
Ideally, you should attend the shortlist of Exhibitions you’re thinking of Exhibiting at (before committing to exhibiting), this will give you the best answer to this question.
3. What do I book?
You’ve narrowed it down and attended the shows you’re interested in. So what’s next? Well exhibition space sells fast, especially at the major shows e.g. Vaper Expo. So first things first, find out from the organisers what’s actually available. Ideally you want to secure an exhibiting spot close to the entrance, near the central isles and/or near catering concessions. But be aware, these usually come at a 10-20% premium. If the only spaces left are in less desirable locations, be sure to make a note of this for next year so that you can book early. This is not to say it’s not worth exhibiting from a less desirable location.
Generally speaking, Exhibition organisers split the venue into two types of exhibiting space:
Shell Schemes are extremely popular in the Exhibition arena. A Shell Scheme is a modular system of Aluminium Poles & Beams with Foamex Infill Panels that form the walls of the stand (the 'shell').
A shell scheme package is usually the cheapest option and typically includes:
- Standard Power Supply (usually a single power socket)
- Fascia Signage
What this means is you really only need to purchase graphics to fit your chosen shell scheme size and shape.
Relco London Shell Scheme Exhibition Stand - London Edge, Business Design Centre, London.
In the majority of cases the shell schemes supplied by the exhibition organiser are very basic but with a little imagination a simple shell scheme can be enhanced and tailored to meet your objectives. Just check out how we were able to incorporate a portable kitchen for Miami Burger at the Casual Dining Show, ExCel Arena, 2021.
2. Space Only
Looking to stand out from the crowd. Then book Space Only!
A Space only stand is just that; a space on the exhibition floor. There is no walling, stand fittings, electrics or carpet provided and you are ‘presumed’ responsible for organizing all of this at your own cost. You will need to engage an Exhibition Stand Design and Build Services Contractor, like ourselves.
Whilst planning, preparation and budget for space only exhibition stand is generally greater than those associated with a shell scheme stand, a space only stand offers you something that a shell scheme cannot. Unrestricted creativity. For example, Shell Scheme Exhibition Stands are usually limited in height to 2.5m (due to a ceiling grid that secures the structure) whereas a space only stand allows you to build to whatever height you please*. With 100s and 1000s of visitors in attendance, a 3, 4, 5 or even 6-metre-high stand is going to tower above the competition.
*Subject to Venue
If you decide to go for a Space Only Exhibition Stand, you will essentially have two options for dressing your floorspace:
1. Custom Manufactured Stand
2. Modular Exhibition Stand
Here at 5 Studio UK, we use the globally renowned T3 Modular Display System. Why? Because its re-usable Check out one of our previous blog post which compares the two and details why more and more people are Opting for Modular.
The world’s most versatile modular display system. T3 is unique, compact, reusable and reconfigurable. With components that ‘twist and lock’ nothing competes with T3 for speed and ease of build. Use T3 for anything – Exhibition Stands, Conference Sets, Bars & Counter, Portable Kitchens and Lightboxes. Whatever the display, the possibilities are endless.
Our comprehensive exhibitor services take away all the stress and headache, allowing you to simply just turn up on the day. Our services include
- Exhibition Stand Design
- 3D CAD & Rendering
- Install & Dismantle
Better still, your personal project manager will take responsibility for liaison with the organisers to book and/or source any items you may require for hire, including flooring, furniture, AV, lighting and power.
4. Does this fit my budget?
So, you’ve decided you want to exhibit, you’ve chosen your tradeshow and now you need to decide on what to book after reviewing all the options. Of course, this is where your budget is a determining factor. Our first piece of advice is to always have a budget. Our design team can design a stand costing as little as £500 all the way up to £25,000+. Having a budget enables exhibition contractors like ourselves, to tailor our design and proposed solutions to suit your budget.
If you are new to exhibiting, we suggest that you start off with a shell-scheme exhibition stand. The cost of purchasing a shell scheme varies and is largely dependent on the popularity of the show. As a rough figure for those who are new to exhibiting, the shell scheme graphics for a basic 3 x 3 Shell Scheme Exhibition Stand (with 2 open sides) would cost you in the region of £500-1500 depending on what solution you choose to dress your stand.
For those decided on space only stands, our advice is to have a realistic budget from the outset, breaking down the cost of all the elements required (we can help you with this). Why? Because too often, we find that Exhibitors spend most of their budget acquiring the best location (remember these often come at a premium pricepoint) and then don’t quite have the budget to make it stand out. Whilst location is important, an uninspiring stand will most likely result in footfall going past your stand but nobody actually stopping.
We recommend planning at least 6 months, ensuring everything is in place in advance and you’ll save
Our other top tips to budgeting include:
- Plan! Ideally planning should begin at least 6-9 months prior to the show. This will allow you to take advantage of early bird offers on Exhibition Spaces, Design & Build Services, Hotels and upgrades such as Power and Lighting. Whilst we can turn around a design and build modular exhibition stand in less than 2 weeks, often you’ll end up paying premium rates on all services and elements.
- Whilst the majority of our solutions are intuitively user friendly and tool-free assembled, we don’t recommend installing a stand and graphics yourself. Therefore, we recommend booking Install and Dismantle services in advance. These are usually £1500-2000+VAT per show, but booked in advance you can save up to 10% with transport of your stand and graphics to and from the show also included. If you wish to install and dismantle yourself, we can provide necessary training and pre-build prior to the show. The cost of this is approximately £500+VAT.
If you’re thinking of exhibiting why not take advantage of our free no obligation quote. All you need to do is give us your display design brief, whether it be a simple scribble or something more elaborate. We will then transform your idea into a 3D CAD visual and get it back to you within 48 hours along with a full quotation.
Feel free to challenge us with your design ideas and display headaches. We can make it happen!