Begin your planning process by determining specific, quantifiable objectives you want to achieve through fair participation.
While tradefair goals vary by the needs of the organization, objectives typically focus on a revenue-based target or number of leads generated for post-show follow-up. Securing publicity placements and making professional contacts may be other way of defining goals for participation.
Establish Your Budget
Determine the amount from your sales and marketing budget that can be allocated for exhibiting initiatives. Tradefair participation is not an inexpensive activity. Yet, it can provide an excellent return-on-investment when planned and executed properly.
The amount of money you can spend will dictate the type and number of fairs you can attend; how much you will be able to invest in a display booth; staffing levels; and the extent of promotions you will be able to implement to attract prospects and generate sales.
Identify Fairs to Attend
Once you have established your objectives and budget, research events that may be opportunistic in which to participate. This may involve contacting colleagues and professional associations for recommended fairs, as well as asking clients or prospects which fairs they regularly attend.
A number of websites provide an extensive list of tradefairs worldwide, which can be sorted by location, date and industry. For a list of sites, click here. When you find a fair that appears to be a good match for your needs, contact the sponsor and ask about past exhibitors and number of attendees to help you determine its viability.
Other selection criteria include how many years the fair has be held, where it is located timing, cost, and sponsor reputation.
Create a High-Impact Exhibit
Evaluate and select a display booth design firm that understands your business and has the expertise to develop a compelling exhibit that effectively delivers your sales message and brand positioning.
If you cannot afford to produce your own exhibit, then an exhibit rental with customized graphics is a viable option. Rentals are available in a wide variety of sizes and configurations, and can be shipped to any conference venue.
Take time to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for your tradefair participation. Begin by detailing the types of marketing initiatives you will be implementing prior to the event to let prospects and current customers know where and when you will be exhibiting.
Use a variety of marketing methods, including print collateral, newsletters, your website, email marketing and social media outlets.
Then focus on what you will do at the fair venue to promote traffic to your booth and engage visitors. This may include having demonstrations, contests, giveaways or other promotions. Consider working with the fair sponsor to enhance marketing presence through speaker or event sponsorships and advertising opportunities.
In addition, determine the type of marketing materials you will need at your booth and have them written and designed well in advance of the fair.
Your marketing plan should also include follow-up initiatives that need to take place once the tradefair has ended. This includes prioritizing and contacting all leads generated from the show within one week.
Based on the importance of each lead, different marketing activities can be implemented and may include calls, emails, letters, or delivery of product samples. The key is to immediately contact all leads and covert as many as possible into sales.
Staff Scheduling and Training
Your booth must be well staffed to handle the amount of traffic you expect at your display booth. Click here for a tradefair booth staffing formula to help you determine how many people you need in your exhibit area.
Make sure your staff looks professional and is well-trained to convey your sales message quickly and effectively. In addition, develop a consistent way for your booth staff to collect leads while talking with visitors that can be used for post-show follow-up.
Evaluate Your Success
Once the fair is over, meet with your booth team and your marketing department to discuss whether the exhibiting goals were met and to calculate return on your investment, based on time and money. Discuss what went well and what could have been improved. Then, make recommendations for future tradefair participation and put it in writing.