Plan now and avoid panic later! Break down your exhibition plan into categories and create an exhibition to-do list. We also recommend creating an exhibition planning checklist like the template here so you can see what you need to be doing when and how far in advance.
Once you have chosen your show, booked the space and worked out your budget it’s really important to set your show objectives in order to measure your exhibition success.

Setting Your Show Objectives

Start with what you want to achieve from the show and how much you want to spend. Then come up with the exhibition and marketing plans based on these factors. Exhibiting goals should complement your overall marketing objectives.

Key Objectives to consider:

  • Gain orders – set a target to achieve, based on total revenue and/or number of orders.
  • Gain sales leads – set a target number of leads you need to capture during the exhibition. Break this number down to a daily goal and set targets for staff manning the stand.
  • Make contacts – depending on the nature of your business you might be looking to meet certain people i.e. potential distributors or new recruits. You need to set a target of the number of contacts and decide what data you want to capture for each contact.
  • Perform market research – decide on what information you need to gain and keep your questionnaire as concise as possible. Set a target of completed questionnaires and break this number down into daily goals. You could offer a small incentive to encourage people to participate.
Planning an exhibition checklist
  • Launch new products/services or raise product brand awareness – success can be difficult to measure here, so you should aim to gather prospects to follow up after the exhibition, perhaps by using a prize draw or competition.

The reason for setting objectives is to give you a way to review results and assess the success of the exhibition. This information will enable you to plan more effectively for your next show and give you targets to beat.

Promotion Campaign

Develop a marketing plan for the event. Consider all the on and offline opportunities to promote your presence at the upcoming event. Your plan may include advertising, sponsorships, free VIP passes, press releases, a banner on your website, email broadcasts, newsletters, social media posts, premium giveaways etc. Using target dates for release, you can estimate when to place orders and start the development of the artwork. Ideally, your messages will be carried through in graphics, presentations, and other materials at the event.

Your Exhibition Display Stand

Be sure your exhibition display is prepared to represent you. Shabby graphics will reflect poorly on your company so order replacements when needed. If you plan to purchase a display stand, it’s a good idea to draft a brief. Describe your marketing objectives, the products and services you want to push, and interactions you are planning for visitors. Get input, buy-in or approval on the brief from appropriate managers. Gaining consensus at the beginning will help you avoid having to tackle internal obstacles at the finish line. The brief can help speed your request for design proposals and guide your evaluation of exhibition display solutions. Think about Transportation – take a look at our blog for information: Transporting Exhibition Stand Equipment

Show Services

By now you have or will soon receive your exhibitor service manual. This will provide you with everything you need to know about the event, it’s important to go through it carefully. Determine which show services you will need and add the early bird dates for form submissions to your checklist. By planning to submit your service orders by the early bird due date you accomplish two things. First, you get the best rates on the services you need, savings of as much as 50 percent. Second, if you miss an early bird submission date you still have time to meet the final advance due date and qualify for some savings.

Book your travel

Book tickets well in advance to get the lowest prices.
As for hotels, compare the rate secured by show management to online rates or use online booking sites to get the best deals.

Organise your Staff

Make sure your staff are well trained and briefed before the show and make a checklist of items they may need on the stand such as stationery items, badges, literature or demo items. Our blog on staff management may help you: Exhibition Staff Training for Maximum Return
Finally, measure your objectives against your budget/plan and analyse your success.