Many businesses choose to attend trade and business exhibitions as a major component of their marketing and advertising strategy. When exhibiting at these events, your exhibition stand design is obviously of great importance – in order to get the design, look and impact of your exhibition stand right you need to have identified your desired goals and outcomes.

These exhibitions can be expensive to participate in, so ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance to gain positive business from them – don’t exhibit simply because you can, or your competitors are doing so!

1. Set up defined goals

You need to set up well defined goals. Identify what you want to get from the exhibition, how you will set about achieving them and, of course, how you are going to measure them. Your goals should be realistic and therefore detailed, actionable and measureable.

2. Raise awareness of your brand

One of the major outcomes you will want from an exhibition is a raised awareness of your company’s image and brand. It is an opportunity to inform and educate your audience as to what your company is, what it offers and its availability to these potential customers or clients.

3. Initiate conversation at networking events

A vital part of any business is networking. You may attend numerous networking events where the onus is on you to get around the room and initiate contact and conversation. An exhibition puts the onus on the potential client to make the first contact, so ensuring your exhibition stand is prominent, attractive and interesting is paramount. Identify exactly who you are trying to attract at this exhibition – new industry contacts or, perhaps, new investors or staff.

4. Attract new business

One of your goals will almost certainly be to attract new business – potential customers through the gathering of new qualified leads and interest shown at the exhibition, or perhaps new subscribers to your company e-mail or website.

5. Align goals with overall marketing plan

Ensure whatever objectives you set for the exhibition are relevant and integral to your overarching corporate marketing plan. Before attending any trade show or exhibition consult with the relevant management teams to firmly establish these aims.

6. Define how you will measure the results

Having identified what you want to gain from the exhibition, define how you are going to measure the results. It is easy to see an increase in numbers of contacts, sales or orders achieved, but not so simple to identify the impact made on brand awareness or other generic business benefits.

7. Aim to build on previous results

When identifying aims and goals it is important to keep them realistic – so use past results gained at previous exhibitions as a measure. If you increased, for example, leads by 10% at your previous exhibition, then perhaps aim for 12% at the next one – that way you can adjust your desired figures – and overall ambition – to realistic and attainable levels.

8. Use definitive numbers

Wherever identified objectives can be definitively measured in numbers, then set achievable figures to hit. Identifying exactly ‘how many’ of whatever your desired aspect is, not only allows you to demonstrably measure any success after the event, it also helps identify potential resources needed to achieve these targets BEFORE the event, so you can be properly prepared. This will avoid unnecessary overspend on the event whilst ensuring you are fully staffed and prepared for the exhibition.

9. Ask the professionals

When identifying your desired goals and objectives, it is always worth consulting a professional trade show company – they have the knowledge and experience to advise you on realistic ambitions and the best ways to set about achieving them through these exhibitions and conferences. Using professional exhibition services would be especially valuable if it is your first time exhibiting at a show, or your business is inexperienced in this arena. They will collaborate with you, and advise you on your exhibition stand and overall strategy for the event.

Trade show and exhibition planning checklist

If you plan your trade show events properly, they can be a very effective marketing vehicle for your business. We’ve put together everything you need to know in our planning checklist.

Read our exhibition planning checklist

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