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How Not to Run an Exhibition Stand

Exhibition stands are not cheap. In fact they are generally very expensive. This means it’s important for any b2b marketing pro to get a good return on their investment.

Exhibition Stand Tips

What’s wrong with the picture above then?

Despite this being a very busy exhibition overall, there are hardly any customers on this stand. I count six exhibitors in this picture with only two customers. Odd given the exhibition was very busy.

This photo was taken at the IP Expo exhibition at London’s Earls Court yesterday. The stand alone would have cost £60,000 (give or take). When you factor in all of the extra costs associated with this stand, I’d bet the ROI will be very poor.

What then could they do differently? Here’s a few ideas:

1. Get the right staff on the stand

I find it very frustrating to see people on exhibition stands facing inwards, talking to each other as above. Let’s get one thing straight, your stand staff are there to engage with attendees, start conversations and capture contact details for sales follow-up.

For a big stand you need two types of people:

> those who can engage with passers by, bring them onto the stand to qualify for a more detailed conversation. This is typically a marketer, or someone comfortable with making eye contact and starting conversations.

> those who can take the conversation forward and into more depth about your product, typically a pre-sales or sales manager.

For smaller stands make sure your team are trained not to loiter at the back of the stand. Checking emails and chatting amongst themselves is not the reason they are on the stand. That’s a sure fire way to turn people off from engaging with you.

2. Make your stand interesting

Yes I know this seems obvious. But it’s easy for a busy marketer to book a stand and assume that just turning up with a bowl of chocolates and a prize draw is enough to get people on to your stand. Guess what. It isn’t.

At IP Expo yesterday I saw fruit smoothie and coffee bars, a dancing robot, small presentation theatres, all manner of games and a lot more. These extras made those stands attract attention and get busy.

And no, that attractive young lady with a big smile and a badge scanner is not good enough. You might collect a bunch of contact details from unsuspecting passers-by, but they will not be at all qualified for follow-up.

Don’t make the same mistake as the exhibitor above. Next time you book a stand get in touch and we’ll help you to make your stand much more engaging and ultimately increase your ROI. 

Oh and before I forget, although the picture above is of Riverbed Technology’s stand, there were at least half a dozen or so more stands just like this.