Contrary to what you might have heard, space is not necessarily the final frontier. At least not where exhibitions are concerned.
For years, companies around the world have equated stand space – or the lack of it – as being the prime reason for the success or failure of their exhibition.
Small is the new big
If the technology boom of the past decade has taught us anything, it is that small things can make a big difference.
In the world of exhibitions, this has meant that as well as large on-stand meeting rooms and cumbersome furniture, we now have iPads, virtual conferencing and digital lead tracking.
Evidently, the future is small but smart. We have been developing this approach for a number of years – how to maximise a client’s best use of budget and space for the modern-day exhibition delegate.
Traditional still matters
Although technology is reshaping the exhibitions landscape, we must not forget that the physical build, choice of location and deciding which show to attend are equally important.
After brand recognition, design is the prime factor for attracting stand traffic, so no matter what the on-stand strategy is, it must work together seamlessly with the outward facing look, feel and design.
What is key, and what we have found works well for clients with all budget ranges, is to deliver a hybrid approach.
The worlds of exhibitions and experiential marketing are merging. Customers expect to be engaged through mediums such as video and other digital technologies, as well as being attracted to the stand through its use of space, compelling design and strategic placement.
Using our experience, we have compiled our top five strategies for companies to maximise their use of budget and garner return on investment (ROI) with our hybrid approach.
Goal definition: Consult with clients before they assign budgets and consider where to position their stand. This allows you to assist the client with its design and to guide the use of on-stand technologies to achieve tangible, targeted key performance indicators (KPIs).
Online and offline funnelling: Design stands and content to enable a complete user experience by drawing the delegate toward the space with effective design and placement, then capturing data of their interests through smart technology.
Agile build: Enable designs to contain scalable elements so that stands can respond to budgetary needs, and elements can be reused at smaller and larger stand offerings. This scalability ensures brand consistency and will help support stand tech and strategy.
Global project management: Even with the best stand design and technology in the world, if the exhibition is not managed effectively by one point of contact, elements often go awry. It is essential that your project manager remains the first and only point of call throughout the campaign, so they are fully proficient in all elements of your stand tech and design.
Proactive optimisation: In the age of analytics, there is no excuse for not refining and optimising your stand. Proactively managing the stand’s layout, design and content in line with delegate response – whether from digital or anecdotal feedback – is pivotal to optimal success.
Know your audience
Making the best use of budget and garnering optimal ROI is as much about knowing your audience as it is about knowing the intricacies of the exhibition market.
We encourage open discussions during the planning stages so that we can discover clients’ strategic targets.
Unfortunately, many people still send out the 100-agency brief, which contains few strategic insights.
In the age of smarter, hybrid exhibitions, we believe this information is key to agencies delivering the right response for you.
Using this information we can call upon our expertise as exhibition professionals to advise the size of the stand, what designs work best for the audience, what placement sites work and what technology is on offer that best meets your needs.
Sustainable, smarter and successful
The three elements outlined below are key to our approach. We believe that if these are looked at closely by fellow agencies and clients alike, the global exhibitions environment would be an exponentially more successful one.
So the next time you plan your campaign solely on budget and the availability of space, ask yourself the following three questions:
• Is this stand scalable to my campaign needs through the next few years?
• Does the stand meet the stringent expectations of the delegates and smartly target them?
• Am I achieving the right level of success from input and should I continue to optimise?
If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, you are set for success in the age of smart exhibitions.