Exhibiting at an event? 8 questions to ask the organiser

Chances are you’ve thought about exhibiting at an event to promote your business. In most industries there are popular trade show or consumer shows that new businesses are keen to attend, believing that the thousands of  attendees are a sure fire way to make thousands of sales.

Sales managers for these events will often reel off impressive figures about how many people you’ll have access to, how much you can expect to sell and how many potential customers you’ll meet. It’s easy to get carried away with the numbers and start believing that an event is a silver bullet to success, when this is rarely the case.

It’s not that events aren’t a good way to promote your business, I was an event marketer for many years, I attend events for my business and I encourage my clients to leverage events as part of their marketing efforts. But the difference between success and disappointment boils down to doing due diligence and preparing well before the show.

8 questions to ask the event organiser

In this post I’ll be sharing 8 questions to ask the event organiser to ensure you have all the information required to make an informed decision.

1. How long has the exhibition been running and success to date?

It’s important to know how established an event is; is this the first one? Has it been running for years? If so has there been an increase or decline in attendance over the years?

If an event isn’t established that shouldn’t immediately rule it out, this just means that there is potentially more risk involved because there are more unknowns. The good thing is, if you feel the show is a good fit for you, there is often more scope for negotiation as organisers will be keen to secure commitments from exhibitors and ensure the event gets off to a great start.

2. Number of attendees and visitor characteristics

You want to know how many people have attended in the past, to gauge roughly how many people will be exposed to your brand. In addition it’s important to ensure that the people attending match your target audience. There is a lot that event organisers know about show visitors which will be useful for you, such as;

  • Age breakdown of attendees
  • % of male/ female attendees
  • Main reasons attendees visit the show
  • Average income
  • Level of education etc.

3. What other companies are attending, including competitors?

If a number of your competitors are attending that’s a good sign that the event is a good fit for your business, but it also means that you’ll have to work harder to stand out from the crowd. If none of your competitors are attending this could be a good thing because it gives your offering more exclusivity, but you do need to double check that the audience is right for you.

4. Floor plan

Ask to see the floor plan which will help you identify a good location for your stand. The floor plan will detail zones i.e. where certain types of content and exhibitors will be located, entrances and exits so that you can see what areas will get the most foot fall, stand sizes and sometimes where other companies are located.

5.  A breakdown of all the costs involved

Be aware that exhibiting at a consumer show or trade show can be very expensive, often it’s double the cost of the stand. Get a clear breakdown of all costs in advance. Confirm the following:

  • Whether the cost quoted is for space only or a shell scheme. A shell scheme package usually includes stand walls, lighting, carpet and a power socket, it is often the cheapest option.
  • How much do extras cost such as furniture hire, WiFi, credit card machine, and badge scanner?
  • What additional marketing options are there and how much are they?

6. How will the event be promoted? 

If you are investing a significant amount of money in an event you want to know that the organisers will be promoting it widely to ensure maximum exposure. Many event organisers will appoint a PR firm, ask for their contact details and the list of media partners that will be attending, as there are often opportunities for you to secure free PR.

7.  What less obvious marketing opportunities exist?

It’s important to take advantage of every opportunity that events offer to increase exposure for your brand, especially if it’s a large event and a number of your competitors are exhibiting. Examples of other opportunities include:

  • Speaking opportunities
  • Running a workshop
  • Giveaways in the goodie bags
  • Submitting content to the event website and blog
  • Editorial content that you can be part of
  • Interview opportunities
  • Emails that are sent to attendees

Ensure that your business gets exposure, before during and after the event.

8. Discount

Last but not least always negotiate on price, most of the time a reduction in price will be possible. But if not, ask for a few marketing extras like the ones mentioned above to be thrown in for free.

Ask these 8 questions and you’ll be sure to increase the return on investment from the events you attend.

If you’re exhibiting at an event in the near future and require additional marketing support get in touch.