Pixalytics is becoming a conference exhibitor! After years of attending conferences, we decided, for the first time, to become an exhibitor. We are undertaking two exhibitions this year, and our first is GEO Business 2015 taking place later this month on the 27th and 28th at the Business Design Centre, in London. As complete novices in the exhibition world, weâ€™ve had an interesting learning curve. Here are five lessons weâ€™ve learnt during our preparation, and the one thing we still donâ€™t know.
- Everything Costs! We bought an exhibition space, which has three walls and our name above it. We knew weâ€™d have fill the shell to create the stand, but hadnâ€™t realised exactly what this meant. Itâ€™s obvious now, but we hadnâ€™t thought about the need to have electricity connected on the stand, various options for furniture, hiring equipment, getting things to our stand and how you actually attach items to the stand. We discovered that there is a solution to these, and numerous other things, but they all have a cost. Buying the stand space is only the start, and this has made us rethink everything from stand design to our travel arrangements.
- Stand Design. We knew we couldnâ€™t compete with the big firms with their cappuccino machines, freshly baked cakes and leather chairs. We had to go for something different, and so weâ€™ve attempted to create interesting, intriguing, slightly vintage and cost effective stand (see lesson 1!). If you are at GEO Business come along and tell us what you think. As a sneak preview, the blog picture is part of our stand.
- Promotional Items. You need to have promotional items, freebies and things to hand out; but the question is what? We wanted items that were interesting, promoted us and ideally would make it back to the desks of potential customers. We discounted novelty items, expensive items (see lesson 1!) and unwrapped sweets (you never known where peopleâ€™s hands have been!). Weâ€™ve settled for pens (useful, and might make it back to desks) and postcards (interesting and promoting us); wrapped sweets are still being debated, youâ€™ll have to come onto the stand to find out the decision.
- Talk To People, Not The Internet. A lot of the exhibition preparation can be done on the internet and by email, but we had lots of questions. We found it was far easy to talk to people, rather than simply fill out forms. We gained a lot of information by talking to the conference organising team (thank you Danielle) the company hiring the audio-visual equipment were helpful and our promotional material suppliers (Adam from Redrok was great!).
- Expect Phone Calls. We got a lot of phone calls once our participation was on the exhibition website, all of which were trying to sell us something! The most surprising were the numerous, and we do mean numerous, calls weâ€™ve had offering us discounted hotel rooms.
So these are the five things weâ€™ve learnt in our preparation, and Iâ€™m sure there will be more to learn during the stand construction and the exhibition itself. So what about the one thing we havenâ€™t learnt? The thing we have no idea about is whether all of this effort will be worth it.
So a question for all experienced exhibitioners, how do you decide if an exhibition stand has been worthwhile? Is it the number of business cards collected, number of people spoken to, amount of publicity generated or is it about the amount of new work generated? Drop us a comment, or a tweet to @pixalytics, telling us how you measure exhibition success.
If you are coming to GEO Business 2015, please drop by the stand and say hello.