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Killer Tips for First Time Exhibitors

First time at the Exhibition or Trade Show 'rodeo'? Gill Keinan, CEO of NVP Exhibits, shares some trade show fundamentals learned from 15 years in the exhibition and trade show arena. Read on, these tips could be the difference between trade show success and failure.

For first time exhibitors the exhibition process can seem daunting.

It is important to remember that exhibiting at a trade show is a marketing activity and therefore as a business you need to apply marketing principles and practice.

In this article Gill Keinan, Chief Executive Officer of NVP Exhibits shares some critical pointers based on his 15 years experience in the industry, that could turn your exhibition experience from a misfire marketing venture to a surefire one.

1. Make Sure You Go to the Right Exhibit

Exhibiting can be an expensive and demanding process in terms of time, money and people you want to stack the odds in your favour early on.

Going to the right exhibition is a good start.

The first step is to do some homework:

  • Visit the exhibitions you are thinking of attending,
  • Talk to people that have exhibited there before (you can usually find a list of exhibitors in old tradeshow handbooks or online).
  • Ask the exhibition organizers what sort of marketing activities they have done in order to promote the event.


    Find out about:

    • The amount of people that visit the show
    • The sorts of exhibits and displays at the show and the ones that are drawing the biggest crowds.
    • And ask yourself are the people attending the show your target market


    2. Have a clear set of goals and set explicit realistic objectives

    Is the aim of attending an exhibit:

    • To increase brand awareness?
    • Increase your client list by 5%?
    • Launch a new product or service?
    • Reposition the business or a product?
    • Generate leads?
    • Do you have a clear picture of your target audience?


    If you cannot answer the question: "Why am I here?" – you are probably in the wrong place.

    A clear statement of your goals and measures of success will help you:

    • Choose the exhibition you want to participate in
    • The sort of display you want
    • The people you need to bring
    • The gifts, publications, information and merchandise you might need
    • Even the competitions or lead generating activities you want to use


      In addition measurable goals will help you evaluate your exhibition experience.

      3. You Have 3 Seconds

      Typically as an exhibitor you can expect no more than three seconds of a passerby's attention.

      In those three seconds your typical target audience visitor need to understand:

      • Who you are
      • What you do


        4. Make Sure You Have the Right People on the Stand

        The people on your stand are your brand and business ambassadors.

        Staff need to be:

        • Knowledgeable about the product or service as well as the business
        • Appropriately dressed
        • Be aware of and follow exhibition etiquette (no gum, no personal calls, be attentive)
        • Remember: A good sales person may not be as good at the exhibition as the rolls of engagement are different.


          Pre-show training is a must.

          Have A Decision Maker Available

          Have a decision maker available. Trade show and exhibitions are places where decisions are made and deals are arranged.

          Make sure you have a decision maker at the stand or ready access to one.

          5. Find a Balance

          It may be tempting, especially at your first trade show to go all out and aim to make a big impression.

          As a first time exhibitor it is important to find a balance between making an impact and staying in budget.

          Renting Your Stand

          This is one reason why renting a stand for your first exhibit is something worth considering.

          If you find exhibition marketing is rewarding and become a regular exhibitor then you may want to consider purchasing a stand – owning a stand is usually more cost effective than renting in the long term.

          3m Stands ----------- 6m Stands ------- Island Stands ---- Modular Stands

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