Why am I here? 4 reasons exhibition marketers MUST understand their purpose for event participation

December 10, 2018

Exhibition marketing and event participation can drive the best ROI of your entire marketing mix. But you don’t enjoy rewards just for turning up.

Knowing your purpose is essential to making the right decisions in your exhibition strategy, to power ROI across your most important business goals.

Focus your exhibition activity

Knowing your purpose helps you focus your exhibition activity in the most effective way to achieve your goals.

Are you participating in an event to gain data or to drive sales? Is brand awareness your priority or are you launching a new product?

Knowing the answer to that question is crucial – and the answer isn’t ‘all of the above’. Best practice exhibition attendance means having one clear purpose and priority.

Of course you’ll have subsidiary priorities (who doesn’t want to build their brand and drive sales?) but you should have one clear strategic objective. That’s why you’re going to all the effort of event participation.

Once you know your main priority, you can make decisions that align. For instance, if you want to grow your database you’ll prioritise activity that helps you generate leads. You’ll likely have multiple touchpoints to gather data and probably take more sales staff too, to help achieve that goal.

In contrast, say your main purpose is brand building. In that case, you’ll know to prioritise growing your reach with things like social media booths, competitions, influencer attendance, impressive new tech or guerrilla events.

Assign your budget better

Knowing your purpose means you can assign your budget in the smartest way, to drive success for your key metrics.

In an ideal world you might prioritise brand building and generating hype and collecting data and launching a new product. But realistically, you don’t have the budget to do all those things well.

Which brings us to the next reason to understand your purpose: so you can make better budget decisions.

Budgeting is one of the areas exhibition marketers struggle with most, and getting this wrong can hugely disrupt your ROI. If you go over-budget, you could hit all your lead generation goals but still make an overall loss.

So this is important. Knowing why you’re attending helps you know which elements to prioritise in your budget.

Come back to the example where you’re looking to grow your database. If you know that, you can assign budget to the highest impact areas to achieve that goal. If you don’t, you might invest heavily into, say, paying an impressive influencer to attend – which might generate loads of hype but few relevant leads.

Knowing your purpose means you can assign budget in the smartest way, which will ultimately lead to higher ROI by driving results across your most important metrics.

Make smarter decisions about attendance

If you truly understand your purpose, you can make smarter decisions about where and when you should attend events. So you can maximise ROI across the exhibition channel (and prove your case for next year’s budget).

Create stronger branding

Knowing your purpose helps you make creative decisions that align, so your branding is stronger and more memorable for attendees.

If you don’t narrow down your purpose, you risk being an exhibition generalist. You attend for attending’s sake and try to be everything to everyone. Which means you dilute your impact for every activity and every audience.

Instead, knowing your purpose means you know who you’re targeting and with what. Which has a direct impact on your creative and marketing collateral. Things like your exhibition stand and take-home brochures, for example.

Imagine someone walks by your real estate stand. You’ve got one section focussed on beach redevelopments, one on commercial letting and one for luxury apartments. You have a split second to make an impact – but your message is so mixed that you don’t. That visitor walks to someone else who instantly speaks directly to them and their needs.

But say you know your purpose. You know you’re launching a new beach redevelopment and want to build leads in that area. You design your stand to focus heavily on that development, built around a 3D model and including aspirational video interviews with other beachside property developers.

That’s instantly much more impactful, because it specifically targets the most relevant leads for your purpose. That’s how you generate more overall leads, of a higher quality – which leads to more sales overall.

Exhibitions and events can be a huge source of ROI, but ROI doesn’t happen automatically. You have to know your purpose so you can make aligned decisions – on your activity, your budget, your exhibition mix and your creative – to help drive ROI around your specific goals. That’s key to maximising effectiveness across the exhibition channel.

 TGP is one of the Middle East’s leading design and production companies, focusing on exhibitions, events, interiors, graphics, and audio-visuals for various industries. For more information or to meet the team, please call +971 50 636 7774, send an email to hello@tgp.ae, or click here.