Assuming that your main objective is to generate qualified leads weneed to first work out exactly how many of these leads are enough tojustify the expense and manpower of the exhibition itself and makesure you’re getting a decent return on investment.High visibility is key when it comes to promoting a brand butspreading yourself too thinly can cause its own set of problems.These range from not having enough time to promote your attendanceat the exhibition or to effectively follow up leads, to exhibition fatiguefor your staff.A more effective strategy is to focus on a few, well chosen exhibitionsand really make your attendance there count.Quality over quantity“We asked you to come up with a strong theme for theshow, something that would attract, retain and entertainan audience.You did this with great style...’’Chris Hayward, McAfeeabout The Big News Show, Infosec’08
What makes a perfect exhibition?As well as generating new leads and customers, you should also be looking to own the higher ground. The following questions areexamples of the type of questions you should be asking before committing to an exhibition. The more points you accumulate, the morerelevant the exhibition is for you.3What makes a perfect exhibition?As well as generating new leads and customers,you should also belooking to own the higher ground.The following questions are examplesof the type of questions you should be asking before committing toan exhibition.The more points you accumulate,the more relevant theexhibition is for you.Question Yes (2 points) Maybe (1 Point) No (0 Points)Can you own the thought leadershipspace by running an interactive seminar?Is the event relevance to your currentoffering or message?Is there proof that the event is growing,either in numbers or in reputation?Is there a relevant target audience?Is there good feedback from the previous year?Do you have the right resources available forthe exhibition?Does the event feel good value for money?GRAND TOTAL:
Engaging the delegateOnce the exhibitions have been chosen we need to ensure the maximumnumber of target delegates attend the exhibition and speak to you. We do thisby engaging the audience at the earliest possible stage. To effectively do thiswe need to create and sustain interest by creating a coherent thread that runsfrom the invitation process, to the event and also the follow up phase.MessagingThe easiest way to do this is to have a message throughout the journey ofthe campaign. To cut through the noise generated by your competitors themessage needs to be entertaining, thought provoking and stylish. It needs tobe anticipated, relevant and personal, so that the recipient wants to find outmore. There are endless ways to achieve this, but also plenty of opportunitiesto make mistakes, such as using overtly technical language, the hard sell andtreating all your customers the same.4.0
Integrating the message can be simple or in-depth as eachindividual project has different needs. The list below showssome of the options available:• Branded invitation as start of journey. This could eithersimply let people know that you’re going to be at a certainevent or incentivise them to attend.• Quiz/competition – again this needs to be relevant andfocussed on the delegates needs and could be asbasic as a fill in card or an interactive quiz that will drivepeople to your stand.• Media that says something relevant to your audiencewhilst tapping in to the thread of the overall message.This could be anything from a documentary stylecase study to a feature film.Integration‘’We wanted to create a buzz... putting across messages that are key to the themesof the conference but in a way that entertains, leaves people thinking and with asmile on their face.’’David Hopkins, Siemens Enterprise Communications aboutCitizen Sally at SOCITM ‘08• Buy in from stand representatives – incentivising themand making sure they are involved in the process.• Game based interaction – links to alternative realitybranding.• Branded relevant collateral.• Leverage from other events/other activities.• Live actors and performers that will enhance and drawpeople to the stand.• Flash mobbing and mass improvisation (for largeexhibitions only).• PR opportunities.
‘’Ultimately you achieved the goal we set you of attracting thosecrowds... we had more presentations than ever before and I thought youall worked tirelessly for the full three days and it really paid off”Chris Hayward, McAfee about the Big News Show, Infosec ‘08Getting the most from your staffThe most crucial resource at any exhibition is the stand staffthemselves. However relevant the message or enticing the bait thatgets the delegate to visit the stand, it is the staff that are ultimatelyresponsible for building a rapport with the delegates, identifying andcultivating leads and initiating a reason for you to get in touch afterthe event.It’s important that the staff keep motivated throughout the day tomake sure they talk to as many potential clients as possible. Thishappens by involving them early in the creation of the exhibitions sothey know exactly how the creative idea maps onto their goals.Unfortunately a day off the road can be perceived as a bit of a wasteof time, perhaps by your top sales people. Our goal should be tocreate an exhibition where that is not the case, and where yourrepresentatives care as much about the outcomes as you do.We would suggest a short briefing before the exhibition so thateveryone involved can discuss and ask any questions they mighthave, as this will ensure that we have a coherent strategy.
Citizen Sally and SiemensOur aim was simple - to promote Siemens technology offering tothe public sector. To replace a formal PowerPoint presentation, weproduced some genuine branded content in the form of ‘CitizenSally – Power to the People’, a 40 minute live comedy drama thatbrought the real issues behind the technology to life. The playwas presented at SOCITM 2008 in a slot – just before the closingspeech - where traditionally attendances were low as delegatesmade their way home, making the need to make an impact evengreater.SOCITM’s President described Sally as “an innovative approach topresenting some of the key issues that local government is havingto contend with’’. Delegate feedback gave a score of 7.5 out of 10for relevance and quality; whilst 403 delegates visited thewebsite, with 114 watching the videos. The website was launchedtwo weeks before the play itself and contained a series of‘homemade’ videos and blog; and plans are afoot to develop Sallyinto a fully fledged online sitcom.Case StudiesAt Infosec 2008, we created the ‘McAfee Big News Show’ todraw traffic to the Infosec stand and engage with the audience.Presented in the style of a spoof news show we incorporated liveand pre-recorded footage to make McAfee the big story of theevent. With a live anchorman, roving reporter, quizzes andinterviews, we ensured there were multiple points of interest forthe audience.The key was to make the event relevant to the message ratherthan creating a draw to the stand that in no way directly linkedto McAfee. The Big News Show integrated with the stand andallowed the stand employees to be guests within the frameworkof the show creating a cohesive feel to the whole event. We hadto apologise to the other exhibitors for stealing their audiencesand limelight for the first ten minutes of every hour throughoutthe event!McAfee Big News Show