Planning for an exhibition involves bringing together a number of different disciplines ranging from the decision-making process, design and stand considerations, to personnel and marketing strategies. With so many moving parts to consider, careful and methodical preparation is required in order to ensure a smooth and successful event.
While the exact details of each show will differ, this checklist provides a solid framework for identifying and completing the most common actions before, during and after the event.
1. Select appropriate show
2. Set budget
3. Decide type of stand:
- Shell scheme
- Space only
4. Agree stand size and location
5. Learn about the most common exhibiting mistakes before you book
6. Define your audience
7. What does success look like to you?
- Set sales target
- Set leads target
8. Decide which products and services to exhibit
9. What’s your ‘big enticement’? Will you:
- Launch a product / service?
- Offer a show-only discount / deal?
- Provide demonstrations or free trials?
10. Review speaker opportunities
11. Research workshop or breakout session opportunities
Stand design and requirements
12. Write a good stand brief for your provider
13. Decide stand requirements:
- Utilities such as water, electricity, internet, phone lines
- On-stand furniture
- Carpets / floor covering
- Catering / refreshments
- Cutlery / cups / plates etc
- AV equipment and/or presentations
- Formal / informal meeting areas
- USB sticks, adaptors, chargers, cables
- Waste bins
14. Do you have a data capture system?
15. Will your stand meet safety regulations?
16. Do you have insurance?
17. Do you need security or night sheets?
18. Does the stand need to be stored after the show?
19. Decide on your exhibition team
- Are they knowledgeable?
- Are they experienced events professionals?
20. Create stand rota
21. Is branded clothing required?
22. Book hotel rooms and transport
23. Create name badges
24. Set expenses budget
25. Brief team (exhibition goals, lead targets, dress code, stand rules, etc)
26. Learn how to attract more visitors to your stand
27. Promote event on website
28. Promote event on social media
29. Notify clients and prospects
30. Create press release and distribute to target media
31. Decide on promotional gifts
32. Design and print sufficient collateral
33. Design and print sufficient business cards
34. Design and print pop-ups / roller banners etc
Paperwork and timelines
35. Sign and return order forms and declarations
36. Note shipping
37. Note set-up and dismantle times
38. Note artwork deadlines
39. Note show guide deadlines
At the event
40. Take list of important contact numbers
41. Take contract
42. Take stand layout plan
43. Take show stationery box containing cleaning materials, staplers, hole punch, pens, scissors, tape measure, velcro, Swiss Army Knife etc.
44. Take a First Aid kit
Post-event activity and evaluation
45. Have all scheduled leads been followed up?
46. Have all non-scheduled leads been followed up within 3 days of the event?
47. Evaluate results against objectives
48. Evaluate results against investment.
49. Communicate outcomes to stand team and thank you’s.