Nicola Macdonald, editor of Exhibition News introduces our series of blogs written by industry experts to help our exhibitors get the most from our upcoming flagship event, Conference & Hospitality Show on Tuesday 24th April 2018 in Leeds:


Make it work for you

Exhibitions are funny things. Organisers put businesses in a room with a range of current and potential clients, many of whom might be based hundreds if not thousands of miles away, and leave them to do business.

It’s taking things back to basics. It’s all about face-to-face contact and connection, and talking about your product or service at a human level.  It should be simple but sometimes, for whatever reason, things just don’t quite work out and the connections aren’t quite made.

As someone who works in trade press for the exhibitions industry, it can be sad and slightly frustrating to see this disconnect, as I also see the tireless work organisers put into making their events bigger, better and more valuable each year.

Exhibitions are a hugely powerful and effective marketing tool – I have absolutely no doubt about that – but sometimes a lack of enthusiasm, knowledge, exhibiting experience, or a combination of all three, can turn a potentially valuable show into a disappointing experience for exhibitors.

The reasons for this can be complex and hard to pinpoint – factors like stand position, stand design, marketing and who is manning the stand all arguably play a part – but what is clear is that there are some exhibitors who know how to make the most out of the opportunity an exhibition represents, and some who don’t.

With that in mind, the blogs in this series aim to provide some helpful advice and practical tips for making the most out of exhibiting at a trade event.

There are some pretty obvious routes to a more successful show, actually being physically present being one of them (I go to a lot of events, and see an unfathomable amount of unmanned stands), but there are also some less apparent tactics which can go a long way to achieving ROI from an event.

Whether it’s looking at how you market your presence at a show, how you attract visitors to your stand with elements such as AV, games or extra team members, or even the specific words you are using when approaching visitors as they walk past, effective exhibiting requires more consideration and planning than you might expect.

But, as we all know, the preparation can be more than worth it. Exhibitions provide an unparalleled opportunity to talk to your target audience, and in a room full of hundreds of potential clients it might only take two or three truly productive conversations to make investing in an event more than worthwhile.

This is why millions of businesses around the world continue to exhibit, and why the exhibitions industry as a whole continues to thrive.

We know it works, you just need to make sure it works for you.

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