Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

How to make an exhibition of yourself. (And do it properly.)

Have you ever stood around on an exhibition stand waiting for someone to notice you? Have you ever wondered what a company was selling? Have you ever been an exhibitor yourself and then wondered why?

Exhibitions are one of the most commonly used marketing channels, but one of the least well understood.

Many unsuccessful exhibitors spend a fortune and then come away with no clear idea of their return on investment. Luckily they can justify it to themselves by saying, “Well, at least people know we exist.” “Not for much longer you won’t, if you keep on wasting money like that,” would seem the obvious rejoinder.

Here are ten dos and don’ts for successful exhibiting. (And believe me, I have committed most of the don’ts in my time.)

  1. Do have clear, measurable objectives. Don’t confuse activity with results.
  2. Do ensure your stand staff know why you are exhibiting. Don’t restrict briefings to purely logistical issues.
  3. Do create and role-play a visitor management routine. Don’t leave it up to individual staff members to decide how to handle visitors.
  4. Do make sure it’s worth talking to each visitor. Don’t launch into your sales pitch without asking them a few qualifying questions first.
  5. Do review all your exhibition materials, graphics and equipment every year. Don’t re-use the same old materials year after year just because they’re there.
  6. Do keep demonstrations short and benefits-orientated. Don’t let visitors take control of your time or your objectives.
  7. Do issue press releases to the relevant media about your participation and new products. Don’t ignore the media as a promotional channel.
  8. Do ensure any giveaways are relevant and tied in to data capture. Don’t spend money on premiums, then give them away without getting information in return.
  9. Do investigate what your competitors are doing. Don’t give information away to competitors.
  10. Do focus on sales: awareness doesn’t pay the bills. Don’t get fixated on vague PR objectives – they’re hard to quantify and, alone, aren’t worth the price of exhibiting

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