FESPA 2013 opens its doors in six weeks. When you’re taking part in any global business exhibition, the period immediately before the show is mission critical to getting the outcomes you want from exhibiting.
Your focus may well be on organising stand builders, producing stand graphics and finalising logistics. However, this is also the most vital phase in your event marketing. Now’s the time to make all your customers aware of what you’re doing at the show, so that they prioritise time to see you.
With prospects, it’s a six-week push to get on their ‘shopping list’ of suppliers to check out at the show. You also need to make sure your own people are well briefed on what’s happening at the event, whether they’re on site or not.
Here’s our 12-point checklist to make sure you’ve covered all bases in preparing your event communications.
#1 Are you clear on what your key messages are for visitors? Distil them down to no more than 5 key points and make sure you and the stand team are well briefed on your show ‘story’. Does your marketing collateral tell the same story? If not, you still have time to work on this and take material to the show that supports your messages.
#2 What are your must-see products at the show? Make sure that the marketing materials for these are benefit led, and that everyone involved on site is clear on the key product messages.
#3 Are you confident you’ve done everything you can to publicise your presence to customers? Contact them direct with clear reasons to see you, and follow up with key accounts in person. And make sure that your web site and outbound emails highlight the fact you’re at the show.
#4 Consider whether you’ve done enough to engage prospects ahead of the show? Don’t wait for them to come to you. Build awareness consistently from now until the show, and give them compelling reasons to add you to their schedule.
#5 Have you made the trade media aware of what you’re doing? They’ll be previewing the event in print and online, and prioritising which exhibitors to visit themselves. Make sure they’re in the loop with clear, well-written press materials.
#6 Do you have something important to communicate to trade media editors on site? Consider your event press pack, and whether to arrange media interviews, or a press conference for major news. Or just invite them to come to see you during the show.
#7 Don’t forget to make sure that all stand personnel are adequately briefed and media trained. Put in the right preparation now to avoid any miscommunication and generate the positive media coverage you want from the show
#8 Social media conversations about the show will ramp up in the weeks before the event. Do you have these bases covered, with someone monitoring key social platforms and engaging appropriately? What content can you share now to help visitors understand what you’re about?
#9 Don’t forget to liaise with the show organiser’s marketing team – and with any partner companies who are also exhibiting – to make sure you’ve taken advantage of all co-marketing opportunities.
#10 What else can you do to bring your brand to life at the show? Testimonials and videos can help tell your story through successful customers. If you need to educate visitors about a technology concept or application, think about how to simplify what you’re saying, perhaps with a step by step guide or visual infographic.
#11 Consider late opportunities to promote your brand through influential bought media. An online banner ad linking to an event page on your web site? A sponsored e-shot to the readership of a well-read news bulletin? An insertion in the show ‘daily’? You may have missed deadlines for print advertising but there are still some effective options.
#12 Confident of success? Then make sure you have a plan to promote any orders you take at the show, or other positive news from the event. Think about capturing photos or video, handling customer interviews, and pushing your success stories out via your own comms channels and the media covering the show.
For more advice, email Shireen Shurmer for our simple guide to integrating your exhibition communication: Let’s Talk Maximising ROI on Exhibitions