A tumbleweed and no leads: 6 of the most common exhibition fails

A tumbleweed and no leads: 6 of the most common exhibition fails

We’re now on the other side of the New Year and the exhibition that seemed like it was eons away is drawing ever closer. But now is not the time to panic. In fact you’ve probably come away from the break rested and relaxed, your creative lasers set to ‘stun.' In other words it’s the perfect time to start brainstorming some ideas on how you can make sure you’ll be getting a bang for your buck. In this time of reflection, it’s always good to draw advice from those that have gone before. While there might be great value in looking at what successful exhibitions do, sometimes it’s better to have a look at some common mistakes, so that you may skip lightly around them on your way to exhibition glory. Below we look at six of the most common mistakes exhibitors make.

1. You have failed to generate leads

Or in other words, you’ve not hit your number one objective. All that time, money and effort spent and you’re coming away with nothing but disappointing memories and a few subpar keyrings. There are a few reasons that this may have occurred, which leads us to our next point:

2. You’re in the wrong place at the wrong time

It’s easy to get swept up in the promise of an event and on a superficial level it might seem like a good fit for your company. But before committing to a large investment you need to ask:

  • Are my ideal customers attending?
  • Are businesses in my industry attending?
  • Is there potential to network with industry thought-leaders and influencers?
  • How big a commitment is the exhibition?
  • Is the investment proportionate to the size of my business or objectives?
  • Does the exhibition align with my overall strategy?

Having these questions in mind allows to you to carefully weigh up the potential outcomes with the potential costs.

3. Your design is about as inspiring as a pair of beige slacks

While design can be costly, it doesn’t have to be. As Max Boyle from Hello Social says, your stall is an opportunity to create a conversation with potential customers. It can be as simple as creating a wall for a fun instagram moment or even a talking point, like the big data Princess Leias at CeBIT 2016. Just remember to feature your branding so that you create another moment for exposure when snaps are uploaded.

… or your design is as distracting as a bag of rainbows

In fact, a very common mistake is for companies to go too far the other way and go overboard with their design. You don’t want to overwhelm/confuse/terrify an attendee. It’s better to decide on one alluring visual feature, be it a slogan, a bright colour or a seriously mint bit of tech.

4. Your giveaways can’t be given away

Or to put it another way, enough with the pens. Yes pens are useful, but then so are cotton buds and no one has ever started a conversation with, ‘these cotton buds are the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.' A giveaway should evoke an emotion: Surprise, delight, relief, hilarity. Especially at a tech event, you want your product to say ‘I’m interesting, innovative and a bit cool’.

5. You have a great conversation starter, but no conversational skills

Even if you’ve managed to have a great set up, or a great giveaway, if you don’t know how to make the most of those hooks, then it doesn’t matter if you’re giving away iphones in a scale model of the TARDIS, you won’t achieve your purpose, which is to get leads.  This conversation can be on social media. If you see something cool, or an attendee remarks on how much they like your robotic oven-cleaner, then extend that comment into a conversation. An exhibition isn’t necessarily the time to convert leads (that should be on the ‘after exhibit’ to-do list), but you do want to make it very easy to collect names, without it feeling cumbersome, or desperate. An interactive email form is a perfect way to capture your potential leads without things getting weird.

6. It’s not good-bye, it’s au revoir

After all that hard work, one of the biggest mistakes we see people make is failing to follow up on their leads. As part of your exhibition plan you should have a strategy to qualify and follow up all your leads. And one email doesn’t cut it. As one commentator says ‘have a plan to communicate throughout the year and the outcome will be much more profitable.’ And communication doesn’t have to be an email. Social media allows us to connect with agility and immediacy. If something relevant comes up, don’t be scared to tweet, tag or join a conversation with a connection you made at the exhibition. As long as that engagement is authentic, then using social media platforms can be a powerful way to show some personality and some humanity.

We wish you the best of luck planning your exhibitions for the upcoming year. Exhibiting can be a fantastic way to build your business. To learn more about sponsoring at CeBIT and how it can be a provide you with a great ROI then consider looking into exhibiting at CeBIT Australia 2017.

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