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To exhibit, or not to exhibit?

Monday 21 March 2016 4.25pm

Jan Bailey, Marketing Manager at Hoople Ltd

The feet having now recovered from a day at the Hereford and Worcester Chamber’s expo, I’ve been reflecting on whether the experience was worthwhile in terms of our business. Specifically:

  • Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
  • Should we book to go again in October?

We ticked all the boxes in terms of best advice from experts:

  • Make sure exhibition is targeted at people you want to talk to. Tick. We know that the Chamber works with businesses in ‘our patch’ here in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
  • Set objectives: know why you are there. Tick. We wanted to raise awareness of our apprenticeships and recruitment service and generate contacts for our database. A couple of genuine business leads would also be a bonus.
  • Make your stand attractive and ensure visitors can see at a glance what you do. Double tick. We had a brand new stand that was innovative and impactful.
  • Staff the stand with people who can effectively answer questions about your business. Absolutely tick. Our Marketing Assistant, Fran, and I were definitely up for the job!
  • Don’t eat or drink on the stand. Hmm, well a little coffee may have slipped through the net, but we resisted the temptation to eat the delicious free food on offer at the exhibition on our stand!
  • Be welcoming on the stand and don’t dismantle until the exhibition is closed.  Tired tick. It is easy to flag after a full day on one’s feet, but we (wo)manfully managed to stay upright and alert until the end.

Hoople exhibition stand March 2016The Chamber tells us that circa 800 people attended – or, in other words, there were 800 opportunities for our stand to be seen.  We met and spoke to some lovely people, many of whom were fellow exhibitors, and collected a handful of business cards to be added to our contact database. But hand on heart, can I attribute any tangible business to our being there. Probably not.

But does that mean we shouldn’t go again in October? Our marketing budget is tight, but the cost of attending the exhibition is relatively low and it’s one of the few events actually happening in our neighbourhood.  Added to which, what value can you place on those 800 opportunities to be seen and the chance that further down the line when they’re looking for an apprentice, training programme or want to appoint a new member of staff, they’ll recall having seen us and get in touch.

Perhaps the question should be, can we afford not to be there? We are all operating in competitive markets. To be in with the chance of any business, your prospective customers need to know you’re in the race! 

I guess that means: See you in October!

Jan Bailey, Marketing Manager at Hoople

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