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Today, it’s easier to communicate remotely than ever before. But, despite advancements in tech, exhibitions and trade shows remain a powerful way to showcase your brand and the products/services you offer.
Exhibitions let potential customers get up close to your products in a way they simply can’t do when looking at pictures online. And, getting out of the office (or the car) for a day or two lets sales teams engage with potential customers on a much more personal level. What's more, while they may get a visit from a sales rep during the year, tradeshows also give buyers the chance to meet the geeky tech guys, and even the MD; people who may usually be inaccessible to them. So, as people like working with people they have met and trust, when it comes to ROI, the tradeshow can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
But, while in the past it was okay to exhibit just because you always had done - or because your competitors were attending – today such logic just won’t cut it. Instead, tight budgets and the need to demonstrate ROI mean that status-quo planning is no longer an option. Event organisers must measure the success of every event – and that means proving bang for buck.
What can you do to maximise ROI at your next exhibition?
1. Consider zero-based budgeting (ZBB)
With this approach, every penny is analysed. So, rather than allocating a budget for your exhibition stand based on last year’s spend, event teams start from a ‘zero base’. While this can seem frightening, ZBB is not about cutting marketing spend, but making it work more efficiently. And, by eliminating unproductive costs, the budget can be redirected to more productive areas.
2. Do the maths
To work out ROI, you need to know how much the exhibition is costing you to attend, and attach a financial worth to each new customer/prospect. Doing this will establish the value of your exhibition presence, and help you to decide whether to reinvest next year.
But be warned, not every sale sparked at an event will take place there and then. The sales funnel can be a long and complicated process, so it is worth investing in lead generation technology to help you accurately track yours. Likewise, not every show you attend will be about generating sales. Often there is a PR value to an exhibition, and, here again, technology can help to determine the value and ROI of brand awareness.
3. Invest in a reusable exhibition stand
You want to make a big impact and put the competition in the shade? If that’s the case, you’ll need a stand that has the elusive wow factor. Once upon a time, this meant you had to invest in a custom exhibition stand, but this is no longer the case. In fact, our modular exhibition stand solutions are a long way from ‘off the peg’ designs that look like everyone else’s!
Instead, we have created inventive ways of using different media; lightweight alloys, tensioned fabrics and hi-tech plastics to produce contemporary and high quality stands, all based on re-usable components that you can adapt and re-configure for many different shows and hall spaces. With an almost unlimited range of possibilities, you can save on multiple exhibitions without sacrificing visual impact or visitor appeal.
4. Improve visitor retention
Having a great looking stand is essential. But exhibiting is about more than just appearing good. The more visitors you can attract the better, so make the most of your exhibition space to deliver visual impact, attract the eye, and draw attendees to you. More than this, you also have to make sure that your stand incentivises visitors to remain, return, and engage with your team.
However, not all visitors are worth the same to your business. So you need to figure out WHO you want to attract, and WHAT will do that. At Apex, we are more than just stand designers – we also devise on-stand attractions and exciting features that will bring your target customers onto your stand - and keep them coming back.
5. Understand the importance of data
Many businesses are already using data to help deliver a successful tradeshow experience. And, as the Internet of Things is unleashing the potential of big data, all aspects of our lives will become more and more data-driven.
Big data can be used to help create more appealing exhibition stands, to provide visitors with the info they seek and to promptly follow up with people after shows. With technology now available that captures leads at such events and integrates them into your CRM systems, sales teams can stop worrying about the hard sell and instead focus on generating beneficial conversations with more prospects.
At Apex, we understand the immense effort that goes into preparing for exhibitions, and we work with you to help reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your exhibition stand to achieve ROI, click here to find out more, or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.