When and Where To Start: 7 Tips for Exhibition Planning
Making a splash at an exhibition or trade show isn’t about last-minute scrambling or crossed fingers. It requires meticulous planning and deliberate execution. To guarantee your brand stands out amongst the crowd, follow these essential trade show planning tips.
Determine the Objectives
The first step in the exhibition planning process is to define your goals. What do you want to achieve at this event? Generate leads? Showcase new products? Boost brand awareness? Ensure your event objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Share your objectives with relevant stakeholders to measure progress with clear metrics.
Create and Stick to a Budget
The next step involves understanding your budget. The budget will significantly influence the decisions made throughout the rest of the exhibit planning process.
In the budget development stage, consider the following:
- Funding: Is your budget funded entirely by internal resources, or will it be supplemented with income from sponsors or other external revenue?
- Past Exhibits: Is a budget available from a previous event that can be used as a reference? If so, use the existing budget as a guide, factoring in inflation and any new considerations.
- Plan for the Unknown: Include a contingency fund in your budget to account for unexpected expenses, such as possible changes in supplier costs or last-minute emergencies.
To learn more about budgeting for a trade show exhibit, read our blog, How Much Does It Cost to Build and Run a Trade Show Exhibit?
Design the Space
Your exhibit offers more than just prime real estate for your brand. It presents a unique opportunity to create an immersive experience for your audience. Focus on developing an unforgettable experience by strategically sharing your message and story. Architecture, layout, lighting, sound, and smells all attract visitors from across the show floor and captivate their attention in the exhibit.
To learn more about trade show exhibit design, read our blog, Designing a Trade Show Exhibit: A Guide for Entrepreneurs.
Craft the Experience
Passive viewers are transformed into active participants by the elements layered on top of the design.
Give your attendees an experience they will always remember by maximizing touchpoints with interactive elements that allow them to experience your products or services hands-on.
Mailchimp’s Collision Conference Exhibit featured experiential elements that were particularly noteworthy. Visitors explored an interactive, projection-mapped wall full of surprising illustrations. Attendees also had the chance to experience Mailchimp’s platform by visiting demo stations. Mailchimp’s interactive elements attracted attendees, increased overall traffic, and created the opportunity for in-depth conversations.
Technology is a significant part of in-booth engagement. Use alternate reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to craft surprising and meaningful experiences, creatively engaging customers and encouraging dynamic conversations. Integrate exhibition tools like Hamilton EXTEND® (our award-winning customized virtual and hybrid brand experience solution) and Hamilton inSIGHT® (our lead capture solution) to take your event to the next level.
Market the Exhibit
Event marketing must happen before, during, and after a point-in-time exhibit for the best results. Generate pre-event buzz with targeted emails, creative social media campaigns, and custom giveaways. An event website, impactful on-site materials, and a web app program will keep the momentum going once the show starts. Sustain excitement beyond the event with social media posts, email campaigns, and website content. Use the lingering interest to build buzz for your next event.
To learn more about event marketing, read our blogs:
- How to Develop a Winning Event Marketing Strategy
- Event Marketing Plan Example and Template
- 12 Creative Event Marketing Ideas
- Why You Need an Event Marketing Strategy
- What is Omnichannel Event Marketing?
Cultivate Attendee Engagement
The success of your event revolves around interaction. Make your exhibit a magnet for meaningful connections, inspiring conversations, and lifetime memories. Use games, contests, demos, and expert discussions to draw attendees in and keep them engaged.
Partner with Hamilton for Your Next Exhibit
Why struggle through the planning and execution process alone when you can have an expert by your side?
Hamilton is an event marketing agency with a 75-year legacy in creating immersive brand experiences for companies throughout North America and around the world. We design, produce, and execute integrated experiences – events, environments, exhibits, and digital solutions – that drive meaningful connections between your brand and your audience.
Ready to make your mark on the trade show floor? Contact Hamilton today.