Do you want your next exhibition to be a resounding success, or merely an afterthought? The difference lies in having an effective marketing plan for your exhibition. It’s the lifeline that connects your business with potential customers, partners, and even investors. Yet, many professionals overlook this critical component, setting themselves up for lackluster participation and less than optimal results.

Whether you’re a non-profit seeking to raise awareness, an association aiming to galvanize your members, or a fledgling business hoping to make its mark, strategic planning and execution are the cornerstones for achieving your goals. At the epIQ Creative Group, we understand that the right marketing strategy can turn even the smallest exhibition booth into a powerhouse of lead generation and brand promotion.

Let’s take a quick peek at why it’s vital to have a robust marketing plan for your exhibition:

  • Identifying Objectives: Clearly defined goals guide your marketing efforts, preventing wastage of resources and time.

  • Aligning with Audience: A marketing plan allows you to hone your messaging, ensuring it resonates with your target audience and piques their interest.

  • Budgeting: Foreseeing expenditures helps in allocating funds wisely and achieving objectives within budgetary constraints.

  • Team Utilization: Capitalizing on your team’s strengths and assigning roles based on expertise delivers a smooth and impactful experience for attendees.

  • Exhibition Stand Design: A comprehensive plan helps in crafting an attractive and engaging booth, luring visitors and making a memorable statement about your brand.

  • Pre, During and Post-Exhibition Marketing: By segmenting your marketing tactics for each phase of the exhibition, you ensure sustained engagement and conversion of leads into loyal customers.

  • Outcome Evaluation: A well-set plan provides measurable metrics, giving insights into your strategy’s effectiveness and areas of improvement for future events.

In the same breath, check out the infographic below showing an overview of devising a winning exhibition marketing strategy.

A step-by-step process of creating an exhibition marketing plan - marketing plan for exhibition infographic process-5-steps-informal

In the following sections, we’re going to delve into the specifics of each component mentioned above and illuminate the path to creating a holistic, effective marketing plan for your exhibition. Let’s turn your next event into a resounding success!

Understanding the Seven Elements of a Marketing Plan

To craft an effective marketing plan for an exhibition, grasp the seven key elements of a marketing plan, which are Product, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process. This extended version of the traditional ‘4 P’s’ of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) gives us a comprehensive framework to guide our strategy.

Product: What You’re Showcasing at the Exhibition

The first thing to consider in your marketing plan is the product — what you’re showcasing at the exhibition. This could be a physical product, a service, or even an idea. Your product forms the backbone of your exhibition, so clearly define its unique selling points and how it solves problems for your target market.

Price: The Cost of Participating in the Exhibition

Next is the price, which refers to the cost of participating in the exhibition. This includes booth cost, travel expenses, promotional materials, and any additional costs associated with the event. It’s crucial to budget accurately and ensure a return on your investment.

Promotion: How You’ll Market Your Presence at the Exhibition

Promotion is all about how you’ll market your presence at the exhibition. This includes pre-event promotion through various channels such as social media, emails, and press releases. During the event, it involves engaging attendees with compelling booth designs, interactive displays, and a strong sales pitch. Post-event promotion is equally important, including following up with leads and sharing event highlights.

Place: The Location of Your Exhibition Stand

The place refers to the location of your exhibition stand. This is important because a prime location can increase footfall at your booth. If you can’t secure a prime spot, consider setting up near a big player in your industry to benefit from their traffic.

People: Your Team at the Exhibition

People are at the heart of every exhibition. This includes the team representing your brand at the event. Choose team members who are knowledgeable, engaging, and passionate about your product. Also, consider your target audience and tailor your approach to resonate with them.

Packaging: How You’ll Present Your Product or Service at the Exhibition

Packaging goes beyond just the physical presentation of your product or service. It’s about how you package the entire experience for your audience. This includes your booth design, promotional materials, and how you communicate your brand message. A well-packaged experience can be the difference between a successful exhibition and a forgettable one.

Process: The Steps You’ll Take Before, During, and After the Exhibition

Finally, the process is the steps you’ll take before, during, and after the exhibition. This involves planning, execution, and follow-up. Having a clear process ensures that all elements of your marketing plan work together smoothly, maximizing the chances of a successful exhibition.

In the next sections, we’ll dive deeper into each of these elements, providing you with actionable steps to create a winning marketing plan for your exhibition.

Setting Clear, Measurable Goals for Your Exhibition

Exhibitions offer an excellent platform to showcase your products and services. However, without clear, measurable goals, it can be challenging to determine if your event was a success. So, what’s the first step in your marketing plan for the exhibition?

Defining Your Objectives

Before diving into the logistics of planning your exhibition, you need to identify what you hope to achieve. Are you looking to generate a certain number of sales? Or are you aiming to gain exposure in a new market? As mentioned by Chris Bardsley, marketing executive at Unibox, in an article written for Marketing Donut, your exhibition objectives can range from the number of leads captured to orders processed.

Ensure your objectives are realistic, understood by everyone involved, and measurable. This way, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy and make necessary adjustments. Setting measurable goals is crucial for tracking progress and proving the ROI of your event marketing efforts.

Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Once your objectives are in place, you need to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure your progress towards these goals. These could include conversion rates, the number of new leads gained, or the time spent by visitors at your booth.

As we at epIQ Creative Group often advise our clients, KPIs should be revisited and revised as your business and market conditions evolve. In the end, the key to successful exhibition marketing lies in setting the right goals, tracking your progress, and making necessary adjustments based on your analysis.

To effectively gauge the success of your exhibition, consider using analytics tools. These tools can help you track KPIs like visitor engagement, lead generation, and sales conversions, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

In conclusion, setting clear, measurable goals is the cornerstone of any successful exhibition marketing plan. By defining your objectives and identifying KPIs, you can ensure that your entire team is working towards a common goal and can adjust your strategies as needed to maximize your exhibition’s success. In the next sections, we will delve into other key components of developing a robust marketing plan for an exhibition.

Building a Budget for Your Exhibition

The financial aspect of your exhibition marketing plan is crucial. Without a carefully crafted budget, you risk overspending and undermining the potential return on investment (ROI) of your exhibition. Thus, building a clear and realistic budget is an integral part of your marketing plan for an exhibition.

Estimating Costs

The first step in building your exhibition budget is estimating your costs. These costs can be divided into two main categories: fixed costs and variable costs.

Fixed costs are expenditures that do not change regardless of the size or scale of your exhibition. These may include the cost of renting your exhibition space, designing and producing your stand, and any other upfront expenses that you need to pay regardless of the number of attendees at your exhibition.

Variable costs, on the other hand, fluctuate based on the size of your exhibition and the number of attendees. These may include promotional materials such as brochures or giveaways, staff expenses such as wages or travel costs, and any other costs that increase as your exhibition grows.

When estimating your costs, it’s important to consider every potential expense. This includes indirect costs such as the cost of your team’s time in planning and executing the exhibition.

Allocating Resources

Once you have a clear understanding of your costs, the next step is to allocate your resources appropriately. This involves determining how much you are willing to spend on each aspect of your exhibition and ensuring that your spending aligns with your overall exhibition goals.

For example, if one of your primary goals is to increase brand awareness, you might choose to allocate a larger portion of your budget to promotional materials and advertising. On the other hand, if your goal is to generate sales, you might focus more of your resources on creating an engaging and interactive exhibition stand that can effectively showcase your products or services.

It’s crucial to remember that your budget should be flexible. You may need to adjust your allocations as you get closer to the exhibition date and as circumstances change.

At epIQ Creative Group, we understand the importance of a well-planned budget in making your exhibition a success. With our expertise and industry knowledge, we can help you estimate your costs accurately and allocate your resources effectively. Our team is here to ensure that your exhibition marketing plan is not only economical but also effective in achieving your business goals.

The budgeting process is an integral part of your marketing plan for an exhibition, ensuring that your marketing activity is the most economical choice considering your resources. In the following sections, we will delve into more aspects of building an effective exhibition marketing plan.

Assembling a Reliable and Knowledgeable Exhibition Team

Choosing the right team to represent your company at an exhibition can be just as important as the products or services you’re showcasing. Your team members are the faces of your brand and play a crucial role in engaging with potential customers and fostering business relationships.

Choosing Team Members

When selecting team members for your exhibition, consider their knowledge and enthusiasm about your product or service, as well as their communication and interpersonal skills. According to Timothy Carter, a good team member should be able to engage with attendees in a friendly and informative manner. They should also be reliable and committed to representing your business in the best possible light.

We at epIQ Creative Group believe that the right team can make a significant difference in the success of your exhibition. This is why we encourage you to carefully consider who has the best knowledge of the products or services you are showcasing. It’s also important to consider the personalities of your staff members and how they might interact with attendees.

Training Your Team

Once you’ve chosen your team members, the next step is to provide them with the necessary training. This should include a deep understanding of your products or services, the goals of the exhibition, and the techniques to engage and capture customer information effectively.

As highlighted in this article, training should also emphasize the importance of gathering customer information for follow-up discussions after the event. This is a critical part of the exhibition marketing strategy, as it can lead to sales opportunities.

In addition to product knowledge and sales tactics, it’s crucial to train your team on the overall message and branding of your company. They should be able to communicate this clearly and consistently to attendees.

At epIQ Creative Group, we understand the importance of thorough team training. We can help you develop a comprehensive training plan that equips your staff with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully represent your brand at an exhibition.

In conclusion, assembling a reliable and knowledgeable team is a strategic investment for your exhibition marketing plan. By carefully selecting and training your team members, you can ensure that your company is well-represented, increasing the chances of achieving your exhibition goals. In the next section, we will discuss another key aspect of an exhibition marketing plan: planning your exhibition stand and services.

Planning Your Exhibition Stand and Services

After putting together a solid team, the next crucial step in developing a marketing plan for an exhibition is planning your exhibition stand and services. This involves selecting the right stand and determining the additional services you may need.

Selecting the Right Stand

Your exhibition stand is the physical embodiment of your brand at the event. It’s what attendees see first, and it’s what draws them in. Therefore, the kind of stand you choose can significantly impact your exhibition’s success.

When selecting your exhibition stand, consider your goals, budget, and the specific products or services you’re showcasing. Design companies often provide a range of options, from bespoke exhibition stands to pop-up stands, and everything in between. For instance, a bespoke exhibition stand can really pack a punch and attract attention with enhanced branding. On the other hand, a modular stand could be a more cost-effective choice if you plan to attend multiple exhibitions throughout the year, as they are reusable and reconfigurable.

As Timothy Carter points out, “The people you choose for your booth represent your business. Make sure they’re knowledgeable about the product or service, and friendly and engaging.”

Deciding on Necessary Services

In addition to your stand, there are other services you may require to ensure a smooth exhibition experience. These can include storage for your materials, transportation to and from the venue, as well as installation and derigging services.

Consider your needs and budget when deciding on these services. For instance, if your exhibition stand is complex and requires professional assembly, investing in installation services can save you time and stress. Similarly, if you have a lot of materials to transport, a dedicated transportation service might be worth the investment.

In conclusion, the decisions you make regarding your exhibition stand and other services are vital aspects of your marketing plan for the exhibition. By meticulously planning these elements, you’re setting the stage for an effective and successful exhibition. In the next section, we will delve into another essential part of your exhibition marketing plan: implementing pre-event marketing strategies.

Implementing Pre-Event Marketing Strategies

Creating an impactful buzz before your exhibition is a crucial step in your marketing plan for an exhibition. This involves harnessing the power of social media and designing effective outreach campaigns.

Utilizing Social Media

Social media platforms are becoming increasingly vital tools in event marketing. They provide an easy and cost-effective way to reach your target audience, build awareness, and generate interest in your upcoming exhibition.

Start by announcing your participation in the exhibition on your company’s social media channels. Share details about the event and provide information on how followers can get in touch with you during the exhibition. Consider running a contest or partnering with influencers in your industry to expand your reach and pique interest in your event.

Your social media activity shouldn’t cease once the event begins. Live updates, engaging posts, and real-time interactions can keep attendees involved and even attract more visitors to your stand. This not only boosts engagement but also creates a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), potentially attracting last-minute attendees or increasing interest in future events.

Designing Outreach Campaigns

Apart from social media, another effective way to promote your exhibition is through strategic pre-event and post-event outreach campaigns.

Weeks or even months before the exhibition, you should be heavily promoting your event, securing attendance, and crafting a game plan for the exhibition. This can be accomplished through paid advertising, sponsored emails, and even offline methods like flyers or postcards. These materials, especially when printed and mailed to potential attendees or clients, can increase your exposure at the event before you even step foot in the event hall.

After the event, maintain momentum by following up with everyone you met or potential strategic partners. Email campaigns with event photos and videos, post-event surveys, case studies, and roundups are a good start for post-event marketing.

By implementing these pre-event marketing strategies, you can ensure that your exhibition is well-publicized and that you attract the right attendees. This allows you to have valuable conversations, generate quality leads, and showcase your brand effectively. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to continue this momentum with a follow-up plan for lead generation post-exhibition.

Creating a Follow-Up Plan for Lead Generation Post-Exhibition

A well-executed marketing plan for exhibition doesn’t stop once the event is over. In fact, the real work begins after the exhibition ends. This is the time to follow up with potential leads, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and fine-tune your approach for future events.

Establishing a Follow-Up Process

After the exhibition, it’s crucial to reconnect with the leads you’ve generated during the event. Studies reveal that about 80% of leads receive follow-up post-event. Therefore, take this opportunity to engage with potential clients and make your brand unforgettable.

You can start by sending out personalized emails or making phone calls to thank them for visiting your booth and expressing interest in your products or services. This gesture not only strengthens your relationship with potential clients but also keeps your brand fresh in their minds.

It’s also beneficial to make use of social networking sites like LinkedIn to connect with them. However, don’t rush into selling your product or service immediately. Instead, provide valuable content and engage in meaningful conversations.

The key to a successful follow-up is timing. Make sure you follow-up within a few days after the event to ensure your brand stays relevant and fresh in their minds.

Maximizing Sales Opportunities

The second part of your follow-up strategy should focus on maximizing sales opportunities. Categorize your leads into cold, warm, and hot leads, and tailor your follow-up strategy accordingly.

Cold leads may not have shown much interest during the event but don’t dismiss them just yet. Reach out to them two to three days after the event with an email that offers value, perhaps with an interesting article or a webinar related to your product or service.

Warm leads showed interest but are not ready to make a purchase yet. Connect with them one to two days after the event via email. Depending on their response, you can then plan a follow-up call or email.

Hot leads are ready to make a purchase, so don’t delay in following up with them. Send them directly to your sales team for immediate action.

In conclusion, a well-planned follow-up strategy can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your exhibition marketing plan. It helps you maintain the momentum generated during the event and convert leads into sales.

At epIQ Creative Group, we understand the importance of a comprehensive marketing plan for exhibitions, and our experts can guide you through the process, ensuring you maximize your return on investment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help elevate your exhibition marketing strategy.

In the next section, we’ll explore how to evaluate the success of your exhibition marketing strategy and make necessary adjustments for future events.

Conclusion: The Power of a Well-Planned Exhibition Marketing Strategy

Creating an effective marketing plan for exhibition is not just a one-off task. It’s a cyclical process that involves planning, execution, evaluation, and refinement. By ensuring your exhibition marketing plan is comprehensive and well-thought-out, you can dramatically boost your event’s success.

A successful exhibition can lead to increased brand awareness, valuable connections, and potential sales. But to achieve this, you need a strong plan that covers all aspects of the exhibition, from assembling a reliable team to implementing pre-event marketing strategies, and creating a targeted follow-up plan for lead generation post-exhibition.

Incentives too play a crucial part in driving attendance and engagement. Offering exclusive content, early bird benefits, or networking sessions with industry leaders can dramatically increase interest in your event. As the research shows, 92% of trade show attendees are there to see new products and services, and 82% have buying authority. Thus, providing compelling incentives can significantly boost both attendance and engagement.

But the job doesn’t end when the exhibition does. Post-event follow-up is where many exhibitors miss out. As per the research, 80% of leads receive follow-up post-event. Engaging with attendees after the event helps build relationships, consolidate your brand message, and potentially convert leads into sales.

The success of your exhibition marketing strategy also relies heavily on evaluation. After every exhibition, debrief with your team, discussing achievements and areas for improvement. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make necessary adjustments for future events.

At epIQ Creative Group, we understand the challenges businesses face when planning an exhibition. Our team of experts can guide you through the process, providing the right solutions to meet your exhibition marketing needs.

In conclusion, a well-planned exhibition marketing strategy is a powerful tool for businesses. With careful planning, execution, and follow-up, your exhibition can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and reach, creating valuable connections and potential sales.

For further reading on event marketing and promotion, check out our other articles:
Event Marketing Best Practices
Best Promotional Events
Digital Event Marketing
How to Build an Effective Trade Show Marketing Strategy

The power of a well-planned exhibition marketing strategy lies in its execution. Let us help you make your next exhibition a resounding success. Get in touch with us here.