Can your exhibition stand design really make you money?
Posted by Tom Oakes
There, we said it. Money. You won’t hear it said a lot. We in the marketing and exhibition stand design industry do like to skirt around the issue. We can maximise your investment or we can make your stand ‘work’ for you but very seldom will we tell you that by utilising our skills and by investing in great design that you will make money. The reason for this is clear, no one can guarantee that your exhibition stand will make you money but, can anyone really guarantee that they can maximise your return on investment or make your stand ‘work’ for you? There are dozens of factors that can affect how your stand performs but thinking in simpler terms about what you want your stand to achieve can help when it comes to making those all-important budgetary and design decisions.
In this blog I am going to discuss how investment in design can potentially help your stand make you money and in doing so try my best to avoid all the old marketing clichés (I can’t promise).
Do you want to make money?
Yes you do. A generalisation maybe, but ultimately yes you do want to make money. An exhibition stand can be designed to perform a multitude of functions but ultimately all of them lead to one simple end, you want to inform, persuade or engage with people through your stand in order for them to part with money at some stage. There are some exceptions to the rule for instance, a government organisation that is promoting a bursary or a grant scheme but even then, that is an investment in the country and its infrastructure promoted broadly to improve the economy and yes make money. I can almost hear a number of people reading this blog screaming “Brand awareness” and of course, there are bigger brands that wish to use an exhibition stand or space to promote their brand and engage with their existing customer base however, I would argue that is simply to encourage them to continue to part with money at a later date. The only question left is how not if you want your stand to make you money.
“Money coming in says I’ve made the right marketing decisions” – Adam Osborne, creator of the world’s first portable home computer
Speculate to accumulate
Ok, so we agree, your ultimate aim is to make money with your exhibition stand. First things first, you need to spend some. Speculating to accumulate is a simple concept often forgotten when it comes to investing in a great exhibition stand design. Design costs money, there is no avoiding it and a great design costs more than an average design. The problem is design is subjective. This becomes less of an issue when you really understand how you want your stand to function (make you money) not simply how you want it to look. Do you want to network? Sell product? Promote a brand or new product? Have you researched the type of people who will be attending your chosen event? Once you can effectively communicate to a designer how you want your stand to function you can be more confident that the money you are investing in design will be spent more wisely.
Style over substance
This is where many people start to drop the ball when it comes to making money from an exhibition stand design.
It is vital that your exhibition stand makes an impression and the aesthetic of your stand is absolutely vital to that but there is far more to an exhibition stand design than simply making it look good. The most vital element of any stand is the interactions visitors have with the people you have manning your stand and creating the right space for them to do their job is imperative to the stands success. The sky is the limit when it comes to design but be clear, will your sales people be selling direct or demonstrating product? Do they need space to welcome visitors or meetings rooms to engage with them privately? The psychology of the trade show visitor is a fascinating subject for another blog but by understanding it you stand a far better chance of getting the exhibition stand design you need meaning you stand a better chance of your stand making you money.
Say what you mean and mean what you say
Here comes a cliché I apologise in advance – Stay on message. Your exhibition stand as with your entire promotional arsenal should be focused and everyone involved should be clear as to what you want it to say as well as what you want it to achieve. Stuffing an exhibition stand display full of as much product or information as possible can often feel like the best way to spend what is often a very restrictive time period exhibiting but again, referring back to the psychology of those that attend a trade show the impression your stand makes last for weeks even months longer than when the show ends. A cluttered stand that hides your brand or muddies the information you are trying to communicate can have an adverse effect on the impression you make even if your product or service is great! Being clear on what you want to sell or promote at your show early on and building your design around it is a sure fire way of maximising your return on… nearly, making sure your stand makes money. Your stand design, as with your message should be tight and focussed.
Understanding the cost of exhibiting
In any industry it is important that you are able to trust the experts. It is also important that you understand where your money is being spent. As with any bespoke purchase you will often have a very clear budget and know what you would like to spend however, with an exhibition stand design and build there are a number of factors that can influence how that budget is spent. Many end to end exhibition companies offer a full end to end exhibition service but will often have to outsource parts of the job such as logistics and graphics. Make sure you have done your research and understand precisely who will be providing each element of your stand and what each element is costing you. Choosing a full end to end exhibition company that can truly design, build and install your exhibition stand will save you money. You may spend the same budget but spending it sensibly on the things that matter, namely design as opposed to additional transport costs will help your stand to perform better. As a side note, make sure you are always given a fully transparent quote that details all the costs involved.
Get in there early
The best way to ensure your stand will perform is to make sure you engage with the experts early. Designing an exhibition stand and creating a great space in which for you to do business is an ever evolving process and by making sure your brief is as concise and informed as possible is the key to success. Astro exhibitions offer a no strings attached free design consultation prior to completion of your brief to help you to think more clearly about what you want to achieve prior to you sending your brief out to tender.
So, Can your exhibition stand design make you money? No. Can it help make sure you are given the best chance to succeed at making money from your next show? Absolutely. The key as I have tried my best to explain is to keep focussed on that goal. Explore and innovate, get creative with your design but never lose sight of how you want your stand to function and what it is you want to achieve.