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Your Easy 6 Step Guide to Exhibition Planning Excellence       

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, exhibiting at a trade show can be an excellent way to showcase your offerings and enhance brand recognition. Nonetheless, orchestrating a successful exhibit demands thorough planning and thoughtfulness. It requires creativity, meticulous attention to detail and strategic thinking to deliver unforgettable experiences that captivate attendees and leave a lasting impression. In this 6-step guide, we’ll explore the best practices for achieving exhibition planning excellence, covering everything from goals and objectives to post-event evaluation.

1. Define Clear Objectives and Goals

Before embarking on the planning process for your exhibition, it’s crucial to establish a clear objective for what you want to achieve from participating.

“A key question to consider is… what does success look like to you? What are the key metrics that will signify a positive return on your investment?” Consider the approach of setting SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. An example of this would be to generate 50 qualified leads and schedule 10 follow-up meetings within one-month post-event. By outlining the criteria for a successful exhibition, you can then tailor your planning efforts to align with this outcome.

Your objectives can encompass various goals, such as generating sales leads, enhancing brand visibility, or introducing a new product. Once you’ve identified your objective, you can begin to strategise the most effective means to achieve it through your exhibition activities. Additionally, it’s advisable to communicate your vision of success with your suppliers, so that they can make specific recommendations and help guide your stand design journey to meet your objectives.

2. Know Your Audience Inside Out

Once you have determined what your business objectives are, it becomes crucial to comprehend the demographics of the attendees and your potential customer base. Consider the audience demographics as well as the size and scale of the event – how many attendees do they attract and how successful is the event perceived to be? Start by creating audience personas to develop profiles of your target audience segments. This will ensure you can tailor your messaging and engagement strategies. Use past event data, surveys and market research to understand your audience’s preferences, pain points and behaviours. Then, once you have narrowed it down to a few trade shows that meet your objectives and target audience, you can start to plan your strategy to attend and achieve success for your brand.  

Hot Tip: Find shows that attract the most industry decision-makers. When an exhibition is shared or endorsed by an industry regulator, it will naturally attract more industry leaders, giving you an opportunity for higher earning potential.

Ultimately, understanding your audience will drive your strategic approach, ensuring you deliver an experience tailored to their needs and preferences.

3. Create Compelling Exhibition Experiences

While it’s important to have a great product or service to showcase, without a carefully devised promotion strategy, your trade show booth risks getting lost among the hundreds of others on the exhibition floor.  It’s essential that your promotions are unique and resonate with your target audience, whether it’s through discounts, giveaways, interactive games, or other creative initiatives. Why not consider incorporating activations such as hands-on demos, VR experiences or live product trials to attract and engage attendees? Be sure that your promotions strategy is aligned with your overarching business objectives too. This will ensure your plan is tailored to suit your audience and more effective in driving traffic to your booth. Check out our insight article that delves deeper into creative and fun ways to create an engaging exhibition stand here.

4. Focus on Seamless Execution

The key to a successful exhibition stand lies in seamless execution. Pay close attention to logistical details such as installation, audiovisual requirements and event staffing and if you’ve opted to host any experiential experiences, ensure they are scheduled at the most suitable times to align with the exhibition’s timetable.

Develop a comprehensive checklist and timeline to ensure that every aspect of your event runs smoothly and according to plan. Effective communication and coordination with vendors, sponsors and partners are essential to minimising potential hiccups and delivering a flawless experience for attendees. Be sure to regularly review and update your event checklist to ensure no details are overlooked. Additionally, organise a test assembly to identify potential challenges. Creative Hire provides a test assembly service, allowing you to inspect your display before installation or dispatch. To make sure you avoid the common mistakes when planning an event or exhibition, check out our latest blog here.

5. Leverage Technology for Enhanced Engagement

In today’s digital age, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing event engagement and attendee experience. From mobile event apps and virtual reality experiences, there are countless tech tools available to help you create immersive and interactive events.

To easily incorporate technology into your next stand, why not create event-specific hashtags to encourage attendees to share their experiences on social platforms? This approach boosts visibility and engagement, allowing attendees to easily find and interact with your content. Additionally, event organisers might share your posts, further leveraging user-generated content and real-time interactions. You could even try-out free platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram or YouTube Live to broadcast key parts of your exhibition experience to a wider audience. You can create engaging content from inviting guest speakers through to streaming product demos and conducting Q&A sessions.

Before you pack up your exhibition stand and start your post-show follow up, consider using free tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to gather attendee feedback during the event. By collecting valuable insights and measure attendee satisfaction at little to no cost will help you refine your strategy for future events and ensure continuous improvement.

6. Follow up with customers after the event and measure success

Once the exhibition is over, don’t forget about following up with customers who showed an interest in your products or services. According to EXHIBITOR magazine’s most recent Sales Lead Survey, at least 40 percent of leads generated on the trade show floor go unfulfilled. This step is integral to converting leads into actual sales, so ensure you have a structured system in place for capturing contact details and promptly reaching out post-event.

Consider using affordable email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or Hubspot to send personalised thank-you emails and follow-up messages. Stand out from competitors by adding a personal touch to your follow-up communications and create a personalised thank-you videos for high-value leads using free video tools like Loom.

To calculate your ROI and measure success against your set objectives, you could use free tools like Excel or Google Sheets to create simple calculations and metrics. These tools allow you to easily input costs and revenue data, apply formulas and visualize results with charts, providing a straightforward and cost-effective way to track and analyse your trade show performance.

While exhibitions can indeed serve as powerful tools for generating interest in your company and offerings, their success hinges on meticulous planning and preparation. Get in touch with Creative Hire and we’ll help guide you on what success means to you and your brand and by following these tips, you’ll be on track to putting on a great show.

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the Ultimate Exhibition Planners Guide

From crafting a flawless marketing strategy to mastering stand design and supercharging promotions, your pathway to success begins with the perfect plan. 


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