1. For increased brand activation at a trade show or exhibition, and maximising ROI, what new products and services are on offer in terms of stand schemes and allied products?

The Modulbox is a new cost-effective ‘exhibition stand-in-a-box’ which is proving very popular among our clients. They like its quick set-up time and versatility (it can be used both indoors and outdoors).

The Modulbox is manufactured locally which ensures that prices are kept competitive in relation to conventional exhibition stands. We used the Modulbox to create Scan’s stand at last year’s Markex show in Johannesburg and its innovative, modular design received rave reviews.

2. What are the latest solutions to generate traffic to an exhibition stand?

We have seen a marked increase in the use of both fabric and LED lighting on stands. Both are cost-effective materials that can be used to dramatic effect on a stand.

Fabric is being used more and more to replace traditional stand materials such as wood and laminates. It saves clients money as they are able to re-use fabric panels over a couple of exhibitions. Fabric is also very tactile and draws people to a stand – many people cannot seem to resist touching or brushing an eye-catching piece of fabric.

LED Lighting
LED lighting is also a popular way to bring traffic to an exhibition stand. It provides a warm, white light which is very appealing to the human eye. It is also a greener option as LED lights are low cost, burn at a lower temperature (therefore are safer) and use less electricity than conventional lights. Although the initial upfront cost is slightly more, LED bulbs last significantly longer than conventional options, making them cost-effective in the long run.

Lighting has become a key design element when creating an exhibition stand with many stands using light colour washes over the whole stand for maximum impact.

(See attached picture of Stand with colour washing)

3. Discuss five crucial points that all exhibitors should consider when choosing to exhibit at a trade show or exhibition.

Five crucial points that exhibitors should consider when choosing to exhibit are:

  • What is your objective behind exhibiting at this particular exhibition?
    Before committing to an exhibition you need to be clear about what you aim to achieve by exhibiting. For example, if you are looking to generate leads, what procedures will you have in place to qualify and collect leads on your stand?
  • What pre-show promotions do you have planned?
    You cannot rely solely on an exhibition organiser’s marketing efforts to get visitors to your stand. You need to tell your existing and potential clients that you will be exhibiting at the show and why they should visit you there.
  • Does your stand design match your objectives?
    Your stand design must help you fulfil your exhibition objectives. For example, if one of your objectives is to meet and talk to clients face-to-face you need a meeting area on your stand where you and a client can sit and talk.
  • Are your staff properly trained?
    Your staff needs to be specially trained to man an exhibition stand. For example, they need to know how to interface effectively with visitors, how to qualify leads at the show and how to manage any electronic equipment on the stand.
  • What post-show follow-ups are scheduled?
    Exhibiting is a wasted exercise if all the leads collected are not followed up on timeously. Likewise any networking connections that were made need to be explored and strengthened to reap the full benefit of exhibiting.

4. What are the industry trends for 2010?

One of the strongest trends we have noticed is that clients are re-using stands. Re-usable fabric panels are becoming a popular choice for decorating the stand, rather than vinyl panels which are easily scratched.

Clients are also looking for portable stand options, with many choosing to do the set-up themselves.

5. As exhibiting continues to be a costly business, what are your suggestions to companies that simply cannot forgo exhibiting this year, yet their marketing budgets are severely strained?

Clients need to work closely with stand designers to come up with creative solutions. There are always more economical options and clients should not be afraid to ask for them. Graphics can be re-used and should be designed with this in mind.

I still believe that exhibitions offer the best value for money when it comes to marketing media. They provide clients with an opportunity for invaluable face-to-face communication with existing and potential clients.

If clients take the five crucial points (above) into consideration, and exhibit in line with their set objectives, exhibitions can be a very effective and economical marketing tool.