This is one of the biggest areas where many companies let themselves down. especially when just starting out in exhibiting.
The 1 Page Expo Plan or what we call the 1-PEP, has been produced based on the popular SOAP or strategy on a page document and is a high-level strategic look at why you are going to this show, what you need to achieve and how you will do it.
This post is part of a series of 17 steps to mastering your trade show ROI. If you haven’t already seen in you need to go back to the first post in the series that covers your goals and objectives. While you can take the information in this single post by itself and improve your results - you will have far greater success if you approach it like a mini course and move from one step to the next.
You will need to have completed the goals sheet from the previous step - to write down in one simple document what the outcomes you want or need from this show.
Download the templates and work through this page as you fill it out.
You need to work out what is the overall monetary goal for this event. Now – for the most part, will be exhibiting with the aim to increase your business.
The only time you wouldn’t have a monetary return is if you are doing market research and testing a product to see how it's received. I've never done any research on it but exhibiting for this purpose I would imagine would be a pretty costly way to do research. But who knows… it might work for some people.
Now we've heard many exhibitors say – “oh I'm just flying the flag, you know getting my name out there” – or “we’re here for brand awareness”
And every time when you dig a bit deeper you discover that the reason they are flying the flag is because they want to sell more products… yet so many people won’t put a monetary value to it. It's just crazy!
Even if you don’t plan to sell anything at the expo, your product or service is a longer cycle sale or it's a multi million dollar contract that start 2 years prior, that’s fine.
What you will know based on history, is what the percentage of sales you close out of a number of leads generated. You will be able to look back at your records and say well we get 25 leads a month and they can be via telesales, website, social, referrals – however you get them… and out of those 25 we end up selling our product to 5 of them.
Depending on what the cycle is of your product or service – you might end up with something like – 5 customers that spend $25k per sale and buy 10 times each year for the next 5 years. That’s a total of $6.25 million in “lifetime” revenue.
This step is absolutely key to knowing what your return on investment will be and the benefit you get from exhibiting.
How do we help our clients?
This sentence will form the basis of all your marketing material for the event. Hopefully you will already have this “Why” documented and all your marketing will be using this message anyway.
If you don’t – or this expo is promoting something different or new – then fill it out with your best reasons and come back to it after you have developed the brand message for the show.
The main points it will cover is how will what we are promoting help our target clients? What’s the benefit they will get? This may even differ slightly depending on the type of people attending a particular expo.
The 1-PEP is also where you assign the key team members for the different sections of the expo experience.
Make sure they are all aware of the role they are playing and the responsibility that they will have.
Choosing the right booth
Stand location isn’t a minor detail and you shouldn’t pick it lightly.
As a matter of fact, that is one of the biggest advantages you get planning your event early!
Choosing the right location and size isn’t complex, you only have a few things you need to understand.
You will need to first download the floorplan from the exhibitions website – or if they haven’t got it up yet, contact the organisers and get them to send it to you.
In deciding on your stand size – you need to take into consideration both what you are displaying and what it’s going to cost. Prices are generally worked out per m² but often the event organizers will do exceptional deals for larger stands so negotiate to get the best size for your needs.
Think about how many visitors will be coming through and what sort of space you will need to demonstrate your product or service.
There are only 3 types of stands you have to consider:
- The Shell Scheme – traditionally 3x3m and this is what most exhibitors take, although sometimes you will get them as small as 2x2m.
- Combo Shell Schemes – You can sometimes book out 2 or more stands beside each other to build a larger one
- An Island – this is a totally separate stand and is generally floor space only. This stand typically involves a custom-built display, and is mostly reserved to larger companies.
You need to look at both your budget and your objectives which you have just completed, so you can select the right option for your company. If you have a smaller budget don’t blow it all on a big space. Size really isn’t everything. Unless you have huge products to accommodate, it will cost you more to fill it with decent content and furniture.
Think ahead about what’s important for you - how accessible you want the stand to be, how you want people to engage with you and how much display wall you will need. One key point here is if you are planning on selling your product at the tradeshow – you will need storage space for it as well as a way to display it.
A 3-sided shell scheme will give you a lot of wall space for displaying products on shelving but will restrict the flow of visitors, whereas an island stand will give you plenty of room for floor standing products and a much more free-flow of visitors.
Think about how your ideal clients like to interact – are they one-on-one people where they prefer to talk to you privately away from others – or are they more the party persona who love talking to as many people as possible at once?
Now that you have determined the size and type of stand you need – the next thing to look at is the location.
Being right near the show entrance can be great, but being near a well known brand name in the middle of the show can be equally as beneficial.
Many exhibitors are also successful when choosing a smaller stand near a seminar theatre or café area. If you’ve already been to some exhibitions you will have noticed the areas that draw the traffic.
Congratulations! – you should now have a 1-page document that you can share with the team and refer back to at every step of your journey to make sure everything is linking up with the core goals.
In wrapping up – make sure you are encouraging people from different departments to get involved. Every team can bring in a new perspective and enrich the trade show planning experience.
Generally, only a few people are completely dedicated to preparing for the trade show, and getting an outsider’s view can help to think of other angles that you may not have thought of yourself.
Finally, make sure everyone at your company knows why you are going to the trade show and why it is important. You spend a lot of money on trade shows, and it boosts employee morale to explain why it is an important business initiative.