Preparing the Fair
Presence at a trade fair may bring significant benefits to a company, nevertheless, successful participation depends on the preparation which has been made. Through the following outline, with very general headings, we suggest the steps which must be considered. In this sense, the Feria de Madrid, through the support given by its commercial teams and its Service Folder, offers you the ideal framework to facilitate your participation in our fairs.
- Analysis of the decision to participate.
The fair that you wish to take part in must be carefully chosen and you must check that its design fulfils your objectives. Collect all data from previous fairs.
- Incorporate fair participation in the general marketing plan of the company.
Presence in a fair must be an extension of the company itself. The image that is offered must correspond to the global strategy.
- Drawing up of a specific participation plan.
Participation in a fair must have its own marketing plan which includes objectives and means and outlines all the sections deriving from participation in a fair. A fair involves a whole host of tasks before, during, and after the holding of the fair. Plan, assess, and, above all, divide up responsibilities sufficiently in advance. Many corporate areas are involved, especially commercial, marketing and communication departments. All of them have to operate and participate right from the outset. To sum up: professionalise and plan are the two words which are key to successful fair participation. The basic elements which must be well-analysed and planned are as follows:
- Specify the type of participation.
- If you want to achieve notoriety and image: a prestige stand.
- To present innovations and other products on sale: an exhibition and sale stand, larger or smaller depending on the quality and the quantity of products to be put on display.
- Presential, general distribution information: information stand.
- Selection of products to be displayed :addressed from inside general corporate strategy; you must take into consideration other factors such as the type of visitor that will go to the fair, and who you want to attract to your stand. It is essential to attract professionals clearly highlighting new products and innovations.
- Completion of the registration dossier: the surface area to be reserved will depend on the amount and types of products and services to be displayed; on the reception and meeting areas that you want, etc. The services folder and catalogue which are sent to the exhibitor must always be analysed in depth in order to prevent serious problems such as:
- Having, in the proper place, installations of water, electricity, telephone, fax, etc.
- Anticipating the necessary auxiliary personnel (hostesses, translators, etc)
- Anticipating the cleaning service for the stand.
- Studying the appearance in the exhibitors catalogue so visitors know that your company is participating in the fair.
- Having enough invitations to give to current or potential customers.
- Having anywhere to sit down, keep documents or display products.
- Having décor, signs, flowers or any other necessary elements.
- Drawing up of the budget.
- Promotion and advertising expenses: investment which is incurred to convey the participation of the company in the fair and to attract visitors you are interested in (stand design and décor, drawing up of technical documentation - commercial, advertising in official fair catalogue, mailing to future visitors, advertising incentives to attract visitors, etc.)
- Structure expenses: these derive from the total or partial use of company personnel and equipment (travel, board and lodging, etc)
- Fair expenses: these are costs which will be incurred as a consequence of contracting services, auxiliary personnel, material, etc., from the fair organisation or the official exhibition centre suppliers
- Space, obligatory insurance and minimum services
- Rental of modular stand if the company does not choose one of its own design
- Electricity services
- Supply of water, drainage, compressed air
- Telephones and fax
- Equipment for the projection of audiovisuals, luminous panels, etc.
- Gardening and other decorative element
- Auxiliary personnel (hostesses, interpreters, security guards, etc.)
- Assorted services (catering, cleaning, transport, etc.)
- Specific commercial and communication plan
Successful participation in a fair depends, to a large extent, on the degree of satisfaction of the visitors. As promotion techniques may contribute significantly to this, all possibilities must be considered, namely, those of the company itself and those offered by the fair organisation:
- 1.- Definition of the presence in the fair in the Marketing Plan trying to answer the following questions:
- Why is the company taking part in the fair?
- What does it want to communicate or show?
- To whom?
- What trade or notoriety objectives are being sought?
- 2.- Promotion of the company on the occasion of its participation in the fair: Successful participation in a fair does not solely depend on the organisers, but also on the actions which are directly undertaken by the exhibitors, their originality, and their effectiveness in actions such as:
- Direct marketing to professionals that you are interested in, indicating the stand number with the fair logo.
- Media advertising
- Preparation of technical-commercial documentation
- Rental of conference rooms in order to inform professionals, the mass media, and customers about new products and/or services, new technologies, expansion plans, etc.
- Participation in the exhibitor catalogue and other fair publications
- Information to be provided to the professional press including new items, unpublished information, etc
- Post-fair monitoring.
And, of course, it is when the fair ends that the work really starts which should make all the effort involved become real. Commercial monitoring of the contacts made during the fair must be undertaken as the fair is usually only the starting point. The follow-up work is what will enable the company to profit to the full from participation at a fair. The following must be done:
- A report on the FAIR
- Statistical reports assessing the positive and negative aspects of participation as well as possible improvements in readiness for forthcoming fairs
- Press dossiers
- Creation of visitor files, following up of contacts made