Friday, February 05, 2010 by
The following article is part one of a two part series about effectively utilizing tradeshow opportunities to grow your business. It is a condensed version of a guide written by Wade Hersperger, president of Alliance (contact information is listed below), an innovative supplier of tradeshow booths and materials to our industry. We hope you find this article helpful in maximizing tradeshows for your environmental company.
Exhibiting should be a powerful marketing tool that complements your company's overall strategy. To produce positive results through exhibiting, determine your specific goals and objectives before planning any other aspect of the show.
Goals define your desired results
· Increased orders
· Added name recognition
· Launch a new product or service
· Perform market research
· Educate your audience
· Recruit distributors
Objectives describe the means to achieving those results
· Attract qualified visitors to your booth through a pre-show mailer
· Determine where to locate your exhibit on the show floor
· Offer promotional giveaways to show attendees
· Train your staff to qualify leads quickly
· Demonstrate your products and services during the show
Include your entire show staff in the development process of defining your goals and objectives. This will ensure their commitment and enthusiasm once you get to the show. Write down your goals and objectives, allowing room for changes as they take shape. During the hectic and somewhat chaotic atmosphere of an exhibition, the written goals and objectives will serve as a reminder to your team of their mission at the show.
For planning purposes ask the show management to provide you with historical data such as expected size and composition of show attendees, high and low traffic periods, and other valuable information.
PLANNING FOR THE SHOW
The location of your booth in the exhibit hall is critical to your ability to draw qualified visitors. Each show hall is unique in its dimensions and configuration, so try to visit the hall prior to choosing your space. If visiting the hall is impractical, ask show management for a copy of the floor plans. Be sure to ask if the plans indicate blind spots, columns or poles that may interfere with visibility.
The decision on where to place your booth depends on many factors. How much traffic can your sales team handle effectively? What is the size and purpose of your booth? Where is the competition located? Do you need additional space for storage or demonstrating products? Study the floor plan carefully and ask the show manager for assistance if the plans are confusing.
Typical space layouts:
· Aisle (also known as in-line or linear): only one side faces the aisle.
· Peninsula: surrounded by aisles on three sides.
· Island: surrounded by aisles on four sides.
THINK ABOUT . . .
· Elevators & Escalators
· Entrances & Exits
· Food Areas
· Stage & Seminar Sites
· Dead-End Aisles
· Loading Zones
· Dimly Lit Areas
· Noisy Areas near a Stage or Demonstration Area
To determine your space requirement:
· Estimate how many visitors will pass by your booth during a busy hour by verifying the show's potential audience size and dividing that number by the total show hours. Check with the show management for statistics.
· Realistically, how many visitors per hour do you expect to engage? On average, each sales rep can speak effectively with up to 15 visitors per hour.
· Allow 50 square feet of space per staff member. (Industry Standard)
· Determine the space required for displays and demonstrations, then add the number of staff for your total square footage.
Once you specify the requirements for the display and configuration of your booth, you will be better prepared to choose a location that will help you achieve your trade show goals. Remember to allow enough space for visitors to browse, and for product demonstrations, if necessary.
Props . . .
Hide Wires & Boxes · Add Vitality & Distinction · Enhance Graphics
Graphics . . .
Highlight Products · Attract Visitors · Reflect Your Message
Your company's display is often the first connection between your products/services and customers. You want to leave a positive first impression. For this reason, design your display so that it publicizes your message quickly and conveys an appropriate image.
Remember your goals and objectives for the show. Do you want to expand name recognition? Launch a new product/service? Increase direct sales? Your graphics, display and copy should be designed accordingly.
Studies suggest you have four to six seconds to attract prospects' attention at the show, so keep your message simple. Make sure your headline says something important to your audience, like NEW or a promise to save them time, money, etc. Make your name or logo easy to see, however unless you are a household name it should not be the most predominate graphic on your display.
Determine your display budget. Will you use the display often during the year? If your future exhibiting plans are uncertain, consider renting a display. For frequent exhibiting, you may want to buy durable, long lasting display materials to counter the excessive wear and tear of frequent set-ups and dismantling. Portable display systems are less expensive than custom-built systems.
Examples of standard portable systems:
Table tops · Pop-ups · Modular systems · Graphic panels
Color and lighting can be used to convey your message. If you are not restricted to using company colors, consider the many studies conducted on how color affects moods and choose accordingly. Additional lighting can increase your booth's visibility in the crowd by 50% or more.
Color Codes . . .
Red Energizes · Green Soothes · Blue Calms · Yellow Attracts · Gold Enriches · White Purifies · Pastels Welcome
If purchasing a display is too expensive for your budget, consider decorating your booth with balloons, plants, skirted tables, foam board signs, banners, and carpeting. Your goal is to create a lively and colorful area.
The design, color, copy, and unique qualities of your display must reveal your company's image quickly to your audience at the show.
Next month we will have the final part of this two part series on effectively utilizing tradeshow opportunities. Cochrane & Associates has worked with Alliance, the authors of this article, for several years to provide tradeshow booths and displays for clients in the IAQ and environmental industries. You can learn more about their tradeshow displays and products by visitingwww.exhibitorease.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know Cochrane & Associates sent you and I promise they will take care of your needs.