10 steps to make exhibition stand you should consider

Congratulations on signing up to take part in a trade show – the most direct form of marketing available. This Exhibition stand and display guide will help you be better prepared before briefing stand builders, save money on stand building and display, understand the implications and choices of choosing a stand builder, and arrange more economical and effective exhibition stands. 10 steps to make exhibition stand you should consider.

Before you rush out and appoint a stand builder, there are 10 steps that you should consider, if you want an effective, economical stand that will help you achieve fabulous results:

STEP 1 – set multiple exhibition objectives, because if you don‟t know where you are going, how will you get there? These objectives could include:
  • Sell products from the stand
  • Gather qualified leads
  • Introduce new products 
  • Enter new markets
  • Conduct market research 
  • Find dealers or agents
  • Build prospect data base 
  • Gain export business
  • Gather competitive intelligence 
  • Educate customers
  • Find new business opportunities 
  • Customer promotions
STEP 2 – If you book a stand, then sit there hoping that the right people will visit your stand, then you are retailing!!! not marketing. Plan pre-show promotions that will help you achieve your exhibition objectives by driving qualified traffic to your stand.

STEP 3 – consider the dimensions of your exhibits: how big is it – length, height, width and weight, then consider:
  • what does it need to operate, i.e. water supply, electricity, compressed air etc.
  • does it need an operator or supplies
  • does it need to stand on the floor, on a base or can it be wall-mounted

Exhibitions out-perform all other marketing mediums for one reason only – you can demonstrate the products. If you don‟t demonstrate your products (including services) then you really are retailing.!
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STEP 4 – consider on-stand promotions, entertainment, storage and seating because the area they occupy, together with exhibits, should not exceed 70% of the space you booked – the remaining 30% is for visitors/buyers.

STEP 5 – most companies battle with determining the Return on the Exhibition Investment (ROI), which is important information in proving that the money spent on the exhibition was well spent.
The two sets of figures needed for determining the ROI is (1) an exhibition budget, detailing all expenditure, then (2) tracking all new business gained from the exhibition, up to 12 months after the show closes.

STEP 6 – the decision to hire or buy an exhibition stand is influenced by numerous factors not least of which is aesthetics and budget. If you only exhibit once a year, then hiring might make more sense, rather than pay for 11 months of storage. Here is a quick check list to help with the decision:

  • Can be custom designed to your exact requirements
  • Available whenever you need
  • You store, insure & maintain or pay for these services
  • You transport to shows and erect or pay for these services
  • All, or part, can be used for other needs like foyer displays, reception desks
  • Fixes price for next 3 – 5 years
  • Larger initial investment required
  • Capital asset can be depreciated
  • Can be amortised over several years
  • Fixed appearance (although fresh graphics, different colours can change)
  • Fixed size
  • Might not exactly suit your requirements
  • Not immediately available
  • You don‟t have to store, insure and maintain the display
  • Delivered & erected at show for you
  • Smaller initial investment required
  • Straight business expense
  • Expense in one year's budget
  • Designed to suit products or show
  • Designed to suit stands booked

It is entirely feasible to arrange a combination of hire/buy to suit your budget and this should be discussed with your appointed stand builder.

STEP 7 – Graphics are an expensive item but a picture truly „is worth a thousand words‟. Either consider using your existing graphics on the stand or ask your appointed stand builder to quote for these separately, then get competitive quotations

STEP 8 – The Organiser‟s supply every exhibitor with an information manual, containing everything you need for successful participation, including service order forms like:

  • Electrics
  • Furniture
  • Flowers and plants
  • Carpets
  • Stand cleaning 
  • A.V. hire

You can either order these items yourself or ask your stand builder to arrange. If you order these items yourself, please be aware that the stand cannot be erected until the main power supply and carpets have been installed.

If you wish your stand builder to supply these services, please do not hand them your exhibitor's manual as it contains rules, regulations and information, vital for your success. Read the manual, before briefing the stand builder, so that you are aware of all of the rules and regulations that would affect stand building.

STEP 9 – ensure that you fully understand what is being supplied by the Organisers as part of your stand rental. If you have booked a "stand package" this could include carpets, spotlights, plug, name on the fascia board, furniture etc., make sure these items are not duplicated in stand building quotations.

STEP 10 – consider how often you exhibit as it would save you a fortune to buy/hire one stand that could be used for three or 4 exhibitions, with small adjustments. Stands are always constructed carefully but are not broken-down and stored with the same attention to detail but well cared for stands & displays will give you many years of service.

ONE LAST THING –to gain maximum benefit from exhibition participation, start planning 3 – 6 months out from the show.

BUDGET – most exhibitors are reluctant to reveal their budget to the stand builders. This often wastes time and can disappointment for both parties. Setting a budget will also allow you to compare competitive quotations. If you are a new exhibitor and have no idea how much it would cost, then phone a few stand builders and ask for the minimum figure they could build a good quality stand of your dimensions, for.
source: http://www.expo.org.za/downloads/standguide.pdf
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