Still investing in exhibitions? Here’s where your budget should be going

The value of booking a presence at an exhibition has been debated for years. So much time, effort and organisation goes into it often leaves marketers and decision makers about what worth is really achieved from your attendance.

Costs to remember for your exhibition:

- Cost of exhibition space; shell scheme or space only
- Exhibition architecture
- Accommodation, sustenance, expenses and – if applicable – travel
- Shipping
- Promotional goods and marketing materials
- Marketing and communications (as part of your strategic plan)

All costs do vary from show to show. For instance, if you have 6m squared space booked with all the additional items above included, at the end of the day you are looking at a rough spend of £25,000/$30,000. To justify this spend, the return has got to be worth at least 50% to represent best value and to avoid inward – often awkward – debate as to the hassle it caused the entire business.

When I was budget holder organising such events, we’d always have to factor in entertaining existing customers. This ridiculous turn of events is still going on.  Booking an exhibition to invite existing customers to tell them how good you are; surely they should know this by now?!

This is where you should be investing your entertainment and exhibition budget. 

What your current clients really want is an experience they’ll never forget. In fact, you should also invite customers who you may have had difficulties with; it shows you value their business and you want to retain it; challenges between you can be ironed out.

The not-so-breaking-news about exhibitions is that nothing really comes of the cold prospects that come from it. In car sales parlance; they’re “tyre kickers”. The adage of needing to be at an exhibition to be seen in industry is so far out of date that even one of the clueless gang on the Apprentice would agree.

Budgets are finite and need to be justified accordingly. Retaining and uplifting current customer spend is so much more worthwhile than ploughing an exhibition hall with aimless contacts that in reality are about as much use as a swimming pool on the back of a motorbike.

"Take motor racing for example. The misconception is that the sport is awash with cash and why should businesses add more for little return. However, the sport has moved on from just branding cars and hoping a prospect catches your name as the car speeds past at 120mph. Branding is now just a supplement to client experience and customer engagement."

Take motor racing for example. The misconception is that the sport is awash with cash and why should businesses add more for little return. However, the sport has moved on from just branding cars and hoping a prospect catches your name as the car speeds past at 120mph. Branding is now just a supplement to client experience and customer engagement. So, take your clients to an event and why not support a budding racing driver who could benefit from your interest? Give your clients and prospects an exclusive event to attend. An event that they will never forget that will be informal and entertaining; the memory will last for years.

If you are an international based business, Alex Gill – currently competing in Formula Renault Northern Europe – is tipped for stardom and reaching the higher echelons of F1. By supporting him and his team, you can be assured a first class experience, a brand ambassador par excellence and a wealth of marketing and content generation opportunities that heights on and offline marketing channels.

Alternatively, if you are a UK based business, you could do worse than putting a small portion of your marketing budget into Ben Davis’ racing programme. In 2017, Ben will be competing in a full season of Renault UK Clio Cup in front of 30k+ fans every other weekend and claiming 2m+ TV viewers.

Either or both programmes will open many doors to you and your clients:

- Networking
- Opportunity to get to know your clients better in an informal, laid back environment
- Content, social media and blogging opportunities
- Enjoy luxurious hospitality without lifting a finger
- Logistics of taking plenty of marketing opportunities not required
- Invite key staff to develop relationships

Following the sheep and “do what you’ve always done” is the easy way out. By engaging in team/driver in motorsport can give you an additional string to your bow that can be significantly more beneficial for your bottom line than leaving sales and business development personnel with sore feet talking to people who are not even remotely interested in your product/service, no matter how good you are.

"Following the sheep and “do what you’ve always done” is the easy way out."

For motorsport opportunities listed above, please contact:

Steve Gill
07901 515309
stevegill@btconnect.com

Ben Davis
07974 305798
ben.j.davis@outlook.com

 

Author: Chris Phillips
Oliver Myles Marketing
chris@olivermyles.co.uk
01442 503723