Exhibition ROI: Can you boost it by outsourcing stand design?

August 5, 2018

Just like all types of marketing, exhibitions are about results: building networks and generating leads. And it’s your stand that is the most significant factor when it comes to impacting ROI.

Research by Exhibitor Online found that 82% of trade show attendees have the power to recommend or make final purchasing decisions – so a unique and memorable stand is a strong step in attracting visitors, boosting brand recollection and winning more customers.

While outsourcing your exhibition stand design seems like a cost, scratch the surface and you’ll find outsourcing can save – and make – money.

Here’s how.

1. Save time and stress…

… so you can spend longer on the things you’re best at.

The first benefit of outsourcing exhibition stand design is the time and stress you save. If you design internally, it will take longer than engaging a specialist to do the work.

If you design internally, it will take longer than engaging a specialist to do the work.

So, now you have more time to spend on areas where your specialist knowledge can add real value. By that I mean things like exhibition strategy, or ensuring your pitches, communication and messaging tie into your overarching brand goals. And don’t forget customer profiling and segmentation to better empower your salespeople in their understanding of visitors.

Exhibition marketing takes time and you have to prioritise where you spend yours. Outsourcing exhibition stand design frees up bandwidth for you to work where you can add most value.

2. Save money on building costs and transport…

… by capitalising on long-term working relationships.

Whether your exhibition company has in-house building and logistics capabilities, or outsources to trusted contractors, the result is the same: you save money.

That’s because your exhibition team already has established relationships with a network of exhibition professionals across the industry. Relationships they’ve often spent years nurturing.

Those relationships translate into preferable service and preferable rates, compared to what you could negotiate yourself. You’re generally looking at a 15% cost saving on the likes of building and transport compared to the off-the-street price.

Take advantage of those relationships to not only gain peace of mind, but to save money that you can invest into other areas to make your exhibition more effective.

That 15% saving might mean you can take on an extra sales rep, for instance. Which means you can serve more visitors, more quickly, potentially capturing more leads than you might have done.

3. Understand competitive landscape and latest trends…

… so you can create a unique exhibition stand that impresses visitors, boosts word-of-mouth, and cements your reputation.

Uniqueness is the most important principle of exhibiting because unique things attract more attention.

But being unique is impossible if you’re hiring a cookie-cutter stand. It’s difficult even if you’re designing in-house, because you most likely get ideas from reading the latest magazines or skimming press releases, which is where most other people get their ideas from too.

The result is an exhibition stand that’s more fizzle than bang, which means fewer visitors, fewer leads and fewer customers.

The result is an exhibition stand that’s more fizzle than bang, which means fewer visitors, fewer leads and fewer customers.

What’s needed is a team of specialists who are completely embedded in the exhibition world, and understand the competitive landscape as well as the latest display technology.

That way, you can be sure your exhibition stand is genuinely unique and innovative – not jumping on the bandwagon.

4. Know what works and what doesn’t…

… so you avoid costly mistakes that jeopardise your reputation – and next year’s exhibition budget.

The danger with uniqueness is that you accidently court notoriety. That’s always a risk when you’re thinking outside the box, and big errors of judgement can happen in a heartbeat.

Imagine you’re trying to reach a younger demographic with your new product. So you bat ideas around internally and decide to work with a leading YouTube influencer. You design your exhibition stand around them, build a supporting social campaign, and so on.

But then, two days before the event, the influencer makes an unsavoury comment and falls dramatically out of favour. And maybe you don’t realise in time, and before you know it, your brand is all over social media for the wrong reasons.

Outsourcing your exhibition stand design means working with specialists who live, dream and breathe exhibitions. They have intimate experience of what works, what doesn’t, and potential pitfalls on the path to success.

That insider-knowledge helps you to know you’re not making any huge mistakes that may cost you leads and your reputation. This kind of risk reduction is one of the biggest reasons to outsource exhibition stand design.

5. Get on-the-day support…

… so you can more effectively manage crises and spend more time interacting with visitors.

After planning, budgeting, scheduling and coordinating, the day of the exhibition might seem like a welcome relief. But this is the pinnacle of all your work so far. If something goes wrong, it can undo everything.

After planning, budgeting, scheduling and coordinating, the day of the exhibition might seem like a welcome relief. But this is the pinnacle of all your work so far.

If you’re handling your exhibition stand in-house, you’re on your own. This means a few things:

  • You need to pay to take more people with you to handle crises should they arise.
  • Or you don’t take enough crisis handlers and then risk major reputational damage should something happen.
  • Even if you handle any crisis well, that means you neglect the most important thing – interacting with customers and talking about your products.

Imagine. You’ve designed your stand in-house and you’re super excited for the exhibition. But, when it’s being unloaded, the venue organiser comes over and tells you you’re not HSE compliant. What then?

Or, you have a terrible time trying to connect all your audio-visual equipment, so you spend the hours before people arrive running around frantically trying to fix the issue. Now, when people do arrive, you’re stressed, unkempt and unprepared, not calm and collected as you envisaged.

Or, you set up your stand and everything is going well, but then protestors turn up and start waving placards and shouting at visitors. You have no idea how to best handle the situation and suddenly your stand is deserted.

If you’re working with an exhibition team, they’ll often be by your side from brief through to stand removal. You’ll have people with you during the exhibition to handle last minute issues and keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes. You’ll have more time to connect with visitors properly and maximise your chances of gaining leads.

6. Plan your costs upfront…

… so you can more effectively budget and avoid costs spiralling.

Another benefit of outsourcing exhibition stand design is the ability to plan costs upfront. When you design in-house, costs can often spiral. Your team aren’t exhibition stand design specialists so they don’t have the deep knowledge and practical experience that allows for accurate costing.

When unforeseen hurdles arise, that’s an extra cost, and another, and another. And suddenly, you’ve spent double what you budgeted, and have to cut spending elsewhere. This all ultimately translates into reduced ROI.

Here’s an example. You think you’re saving money by designing in-house. But then, the factory supplying materials goes on strike, the unanticipated hold-up loses you two weeks and you have to find another supplier. And then you lose your slot with the build team, which causes further costs and delays.

And your exhibition marketing manager spends all their time worrying about the stand, so drops the ball on social media. So, you don’t send that pre-exhibition campaign inviting existing customers, even though existing account growth is a major strategic priority.

When post-event reporting comes around, you have to explain why you’re overbudget and underperforming against your goals. Not ideal.

Outsourcing exhibition stand design means you get one, all-inclusive cost upfront. This way, you always know what you’re spending, can reliably budget for other areas, and unexpected logistics or supply chain snafus don’t end up increasing your spend.

Outsourcing drives exhibition ROI

The fact is this, outsourcing exhibition stand design feels like a significant cost, but that’s only superficial. A closer look has shown how outsourcing saves time, money, reduces risk and increases stand effectiveness; a sure-fire route to maximising your ROI on the day.

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.