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Five key tips for exhibition / trade show planning


With over 20 years of experience in exhibitions, the team at TMF Marketing have worked to develop a sophisticated strategy to ensure our clients are able to gain maximum return on investment. So as the date for our next exhibition draws closer – the renowned Intersec in Dubai. Featuring 1,304 exhibitors from over 58 countries in security, safety and fire protection - we thought we would offer some key tips on how best to plan for an exhibition.

1) Planning and preparation

The work for any exhibition starts well before the event. In order to really make the most of your investment, you want to engage with current customers and potential visitors before setting up your stand. These outreach campaigns should harness the potential of PR; try and arrange pre-show interviews as well as gaining some exposure in magazines or newspapers. This coverage will not only raise brand awareness, but also entice more visitors to see your stand.

2) Branding

You want your stall to be attractive and enticing. In exhibitions halls full of businesses selling their wares – standing out from the crowd is imperative. Consult with a graphic designer and look into collateral such as impactful banner stands and bold signage. It can often be the smallest thoughts that leave a lasting impression, so it may even be worth looking into branded chocolates, pens or USB sticks. At events, a little really does go a long way. You could even consider doing a giveaway, encouraging visitors to offer you their email address in exchange for entry into a prize draw - helping to further increase your exposure.

3) Dress code

In the chaos of a trade show, it can often be difficult to differentiate visitors from staff. Make sure to implement some form of dress code so it’s easy to identify who can help. Providing branded name badges as well as a colour scheme – that should dictate the tie colour of the men and scrafs of the women. Having your staff look professional, smart and uniform should make them far more approachable and help gain some more traction at your stand.

4) Messaging

This is true of all marketing, but imperative at a trade show where you are so directly comparable with your competition, who are literally standing next to you. Make sure you have clear messaging possibly in English and local language that is filtered through all your content, collateral and merchandise, and one that is also echoed by your staff. Having this will make you memorable, engaging and far more enticing.

5) Logistics

We have saved the best for last in this case, because whilst logistics might not be the most glamorous of activities, it is the most important. Find out exactly how big your space will be and plan your stand accordingly. Most importantly, find out how much access you will have to power outlets, as whilst you may well have the very latest technology, if it is constantly being used, it really will only last so long. Consider having back-ups (that are fully charged) just in case of an emergency. Plus ensure your visitors have seating areas, and refreshments as anyone who has attended a trade show will know it’s a tiring affair. Finally, make sure to read the fine print – does your venue have any particular restrictions or regulations? We have known some fantastic marketing ideas fall at the final stage when they simply weren’t allowed at the venue.

If you have any questions about planning a trade show please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01895 832 802 or drop us an email on tara@tmfmarketing.co.uk