Ah, the business of exhibiting. We can all get side-tracked in our daily work.
Things like trade show participation that seemed so distant just a few months back when you had plenty of time to prepare can suddenly start to show up quickly on your time horizon.
The preparation time that you meant to allocate to show planning may have been swallowed-up by other priorities in your normal “day-job” and with just weeks to go to show opening you realise that you may actually be running out of time to get everything done.
If this is the case there are two things to do straight away;
1. Don’t panic – it just won’t help
2. Get organised – you can still make a success of this
Book-out a series of time slots in your calendar that are dedicated to your show participation and keep to the schedule. Your day job mustn’t interfere now.
Start with bigger time-chunks as you jump on this. Time slots nearer the show may be shorter in duration as your plan comes together.
Work on the biggest tasks first and those that will take the longest to complete
Your stand is the most important thing to organise. If you are a space only exhibitor hopefully you have a stand build company already working on the project. They may be awaiting input from you re signing-off their design and budget. Get in touch with them straightaway.
If you don’t have a company working with you and the space is not large you may want to consider using a shell scheme stand (the organiser may have you booked for one already but check this) or you could go with a modular design. Time available from show opening and the network of show suppliers you have at your disposal should be deciding factors on this. Choose your solution on the basis of getting the best possible option in the time available.
Next thing to organise are things that you will need to support your stand.
Logistics & Shipping: do you need to get exhibits or support equipment to the venue and will this require outside help? Will you need storage for crates? Organise these things now.
Graphics: time is required for design, approval and production. This applies to digital graphics as well as printed but digital should be faster.
Services: power, data, water and waste (if you need these) will all have deadlines for order placement. Miss these and you will pay a higher rate. All details will be found in your Exhibitor Manual.
Stand Furniture: Unless this is being handled by your stand builder or being provided by the organiser as part of a stand package booking you will need to order yourself. The closer you get to the show, the less choice you will have as stocks will have been allocated to other exhibitors.
Stand Team Related Things
Whose on the team? Decide on who your stand team will be and let them know dates, venue arrangements and the timing of their stints on the team schedule.
Accommodation & Travel: In the very abbreviated words of Oleta Adams;
“You can reach me by railway, trailway, airplane, mind, caravan….
Just get here if you can.”
Great advice and I’m sure that Oleta must have been an exhibitor at some point…. Get your arrangements for travel and hotels in place and circulate to your team.
Team briefing/s: Book in a briefing with your team before you go on site to run through arrangements for the show. Things that could be covered include; Objectives; products and pricing; target audience; stand attractions and features; opening remarks to visitors; follow-up procedures and questions from the team.
Objectives for the show: I just casually slipped-in a mention of objectives in the paragraph above. If you haven’t got clear objectives agreed with your boss or colleagues already, then now is the time to fix this as your objectives will have a bearing on pretty much all of things mentioned above. The exhibits you display, the messages on your graphics and screens, show offers etc. etc. Be clear on what will be the success measure for this event.
Part 2 of this article will be published on Wednesday 26th April