After the forced pause for pandemic reasons of most of the product fairs, in this 2022 they are back and stronger than ever. We’ve all been looking forward to getting together physically again and being able to see and visit customers and suppliers face-to-face. That is why in this month’s article we will give some simple tips for those of you who are considering participating for the first time in some kind of fair as an exhibitor, so that your product shines brightly.
Choose the right event
Whatever your sector, there are many fairs to choose from. They can usually be categorised along 2 lines:
– Geographical scope: for example, in renewables we have national fairs such as Genera in Spain and continental fairs such as WindEurope, Intersolar Munich or CleanPower in the USA.
– Theme: following the example of renewables, we have different kinds of fairs, from more general to more specific: there are fairs on energy, on renewables, on wind, solar or storage, and within these, on specific themes such as financing, O&M or legislation.
It is important to know the main ones in your sector to find out which one or ones best suit your objectives.
- Tip 1: A good clue is to check which fairs your main competitors are attending.
Take care of the stand design
The stand is the company’s business card. Therefore, it must transmit the values of the product and the company. But branding and design must be combined with functionality, as it will be the meeting room with potential clients for a few days.
- Tip 2: Less is more. Let the design highlight the product and not hide it.
- Tip 3: if you foresee many meetings and the stand is not very big, it is advisable to reserve a separate meeting room instead of sacrificing free circulation area in the stand.
Reserve the space in advance
At any trade fair there are high-traffic areas and “isolated” areas. If we want to place our stand in one of the good areas, it is essential to book the space well in advance. The later the space is booked, the less high-traffic areas will be left.
- Tip 4: study the floor plan of the fair to identify the best spaces. Areas close to the entrances or in the main aisles are safe values. Another option is to be located next to a “star” stand to take advantage of its attraction.
Showcase your product or service
In recent years, more and more companies see trade fairs as “physical” meeting places rather than showcases to showcase their products. However, I am an “oldschooler” and I still enjoy seeing the products or services of each company in-situ. Seeing, touching and experiencing the product is still for me one of the main attractions of trade fairs.
- Tip 5: Encourage the visitor to get to know the product and try it. Booth demos never go out of fashion and are one of the best ways to differentiate yourself.
- Tip 6: A technological touch on the stand is always nice but it cannot replace the human factor. A good service from the stand staff is a very powerful tool to transmit values such as efficiency, professionalism and expertise.
- Tip 7: if your product is very large and impossible to show at a trade fair, think about hyper-realistic scale models. At the recent Intersolar in Munich, several inverter manufacturers brought 1:2 or 1:3 scale models of their stations that were exact replicas and did the job.
Take advantage of the stage
Going to a trade fair and setting up a stand is a big investment, so make the most of it. The stand can be the perfect stage to record material that can be used later such as customer testimonials, product presentations or CEO statements. It is also the perfect place to present new products, commercial or even corporate news. Keep in mind that the trade media will be at the show and will be more likely to pick up on your press releases.
- Tip 8: plan your recordings and use professional equipment. Trade fairs are a hellish place to record because of the noise, lighting, etc., so you will need the help of experts.
Increase the visibility of your presence
Make a social media visibility plan for your presence at the fair. Announce your presence, distribute content during the event and finish with some kind of closing. It is also important to have a relevant topic to communicate in order to have a presence in the specialised media.
- Tip 9: Communication during the fair allows you to be more informal and creative. Twitter is the most suitable medium as it ensures immediacy and greater interaction.
- Tip 10: Invite the media to visit your stand and treat them as if they were customers. They are a very important loudspeaker for visibility.
Free food and drink never fails, but…
If your aim is to fill the stand with people, invite beer and ham. But in these cases quality is better than quantity. If you do a ” culinary ” event, try to target the public you are interested in by means of some kind of prior invitation.
- Tip 11: fairs are usually a complicated place to eat well and without queues, so any event that provides a good meal is usually well received.
- Tip 12: If you have a lot of contacts and enough budget, parties outside the fair are a very good resource. But make sure you have enough attention and try not to coincide with another more attractive party.
Set aside time to visit the fair
Those of us who have been there as stand staff know that some trade fairs are so busy that it is difficult to get away for a few hours to see the rest of the exhibitors. But it is key to find that time, as you can get a lot of ideas for improvement by seeing what others are doing.
- Tip 13: memory is fragile, so write down and photograph everything you see relevant, have a post-fair meeting to discuss common issues and generate a report of issues to improve for the next one.
Before the pandemic, many people questioned whether fairs made sense. They were seen as expensive events with little tangible return. “Nobody goes to trade fairs to buy” or “everything is on the web, there is nothing new at trade fairs” or “there is no point in setting up all this to hold meetings that could be held remotely” were phrases that were heard more and more, but with the pandemic, trade fairs as a space for networking and visibility have regained prominence. But they should reinvent themselves to avoid doubts about their usefulness returning in a couple of years’ time.