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Cranmore Park Blog

Digital marketing can help businesses maximise their return on investment (ROI) at trade shows, it has been claimed. Writing for Crain's Cleveland Business, Fathom's online advertising specialist J.J. Anderson explained how the internet can be used to companies' advantage and complement their exhibition strategies.

He claimed that, very often, manufacturers "lag behind" in the digital landscapes, with relatively few fully harnessing the power of online advertising. Anderson offered the view that this is a high-potential area for such companies, providing they are willing to investigate the use of web-based marketing tools.

At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.

These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.

If you're running a new start-up business and only have a limited marketing budget to work with, is it a realistic prospect to advertise at trade shows and exhibitions?

There are costs involved with this form of promotional activity, as you'll have to pay for your booth, travel to and from the venue, accommodation and any staffing costs.

To give away or not to give away? That is the question. Everyone likes a freebie at an event or tradeshow, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do. Yes, there are merits to handing things out, however, you must ensure that it makes sense for your business and that it’s something that will actually add value to your operation.

Budget will also play an important role in deciding whether or not to hand out take away gifts at your stall. Before you spend half of your event money on humorous gimmicks, think to yourself “will this be better spent elsewhere?”

The first ever Expo Midlands event at Cranmore Park proved to a be a huge success, with hundreds of delegates attending and a follow-up event already in the calendar.

More than 60 exhibitors and 500 delegates descended on Cranmore Park for the free event on June 17th, which was headlined by two familiar faces, including one local man who has made it big in the media world.

If you're planning a conference for the first time, you might not realise what a big job you've undertaken. Even if it's going to be a relatively manageable event in terms of numbers on the day, or over the period of the event, there's still an awful lot of preparation to be done in advance.

You want to make the best possible impression with everyone who attends, in order to build a strong reputation which will stand you and your organisation in good stead in the future. In order to achieve this, you've got to hire great facilities, organise high-quality events, book the right speakers and ensure everyone's needs are met.

Conferences and trade shows can offer a multitude of opportunities from a networking perspective. If you're willing and able to put yourself about, and track down the important people in the room, you can add some valuable names to your address book. It could be the leaders of another business involved in your industry, or somebody you'd like to invest in your enterprise. It might be a thought leader, whose insight can add value to your business and help you take it to the next level.

But what you have to remember is that important people also tend to be busy people. You won't, by any means, be the only person who wants to network with them. As such, if you do manage to pin such individuals down for a conversation, you've got to make it count. And this means making a great first impression.

Visiting a conference might not seem like a particularly gruelling task, but you will be surprised by how tiring it can be. You might find yourself on your feet for hours at a time, and when you are sitting down you will be exercising your mind as you try to keep up with taking notes and absorbing the content of one of the many panels.

It's hardly equivalent to running a marathon, but all the little activities add up and by the end of the day you might find your eyelids drooping! Obviously this means you will not be getting the most out of your conference. So how can you prevent yourself from being tired out on the day?

If your organisation to benefit from its trip to an exhibition or trade show, you've got to know how to pull the punters in.

You can have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody wants to talk to you, or find out about what you have to offer, you're not going to make any sales.

Exhibitions and large trade shows are a great place to advertise your business. Usually, this means getting a stand together and showcasing whatever it is you have to offer, whether that means showing off the services you offer to potential customers or trying to get retailers to stock your wares.

This can be a great way to grow your business, but there are several challenges you must overcome first. Trade shows will not consist of just your stand and a swathe of potential customers; there could be dozens if not hundreds of competitors there with the same goals as you.

When you are at a presentation, lecture or other session at your next conference, you will need to take notes if you want to retain all the information that is imparted to you. However, this is easier said than done. Keeping up with a seminar can be difficult if you have to concentrate on both what is being said and your own writing.

Human speech is surprisingly fast - around 200 words per minute - and nobody can keep up with it if they are writing everything down word for word. Standard handwriting can only reach speeds of 20 to 30 words per minute. Do you think you could understand your notes if you were only able to write down one word for every ten said?

What can you do to make a real splash at trade shows and stand out from the crowd? One way to increase your visibility - and that of your business - is to become a speaker, rather than simply an exhibitor.

Imagine the possibilities if you are able to hold the floor for a few minutes, with hundreds - or even thousands - of eyes on you. Daunting as this might be, it's one of the best ways to raise awareness of your brand.

How far ahead can you plan your business diary? The one thing you should always expect in business is the unexpected - circumstances, scenarios and events which force you to change course at short notice.

While you can never be sure exactly where you'll be at any given point, or which tasks will be your most immediate priority, it is vitally important to plan ahead as far as possible. As a business leader, your year needs a degree of structure - week by week, month by month. This gives you the best possible opportunity of achieving both short and long term goals.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you may well speak to hundreds of different people on any single day. They may all be interesting individuals, people who are interested in doing business with you in the future, but the reality is you can't get to know everybody properly. If you get decent footfall to your stand or booth, there simply isn't the time to have extended conversations with everyone who expresses an interest in your offering.

The fact is that every person who approaches you - or you approach - could be the next potential customer. It won't necessarily be the person you spend 30 minutes talking too, convincing them about the benefits of your products and services. Because however hard you try to make a sale, they still have the right to leave at any point without buying.

In order to expand, many companies rely on being able to hire skilled workers so they are capable of taking on more custom. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but businesses can hit a major hurdle if there is a shortage of potential employees with the talents and knowledge needed for the role.

Skills shortages can have massive effects on UK industry, and there are concerns the country might be in the grip of one right now. Based on the latest research, it would certainly seem like London has a problem with a lack of skilled employees.

Have you ever had a trade show that was a failure, but without any clear reason why? It could be that you had very few people come over to your stand, or that the people who did talk to you rarely ended up making a purchase. Often, this is because you got one thing wrong: your positioning.

This seems like a very tiny part of a successful trade show experience, but it is actually incredibly important. Where you sit or stand plays a large part in how approachable you seem, as well as whether you come across as relatable or distant to the attendees. So, where do you usually position yourself?