Pre Event Planning and Post Event Planning
- Know who your audience and clearly define your objectives prior to booking a space.
- Quantify your objectives - such as the number of leads you want to generate, the number of sales you want to make, or the number of demos you want to give.
- Ask the event's management about past year's attendance, audience demographics and carefully review the audience analysis
- Ask about typical traffic patterns, where refreshments may be located and where your competitors might be located. The idea is to get into a high traffic area without paying a premium for the space.
- Budget realistically -- from booth design and construction to travel and entertainment. Don't forget about items such as shipping, labor for setup and knockdown, utilities, advertising and promotion.
- Invite the media to stop by your booth. They should receive pre-event invitations or press releases by mail; some events may have an on-site media center where press kits can also be dropped off.
Pre-event mailings are an important traffic generator. See the Promotion section for more ideas! If your graphics inventory is out of control, here's a way to help make order out of chaos:
Take a picture of every single graphic you own. Then measure it, record its dimensions & storage site on the back. Put the pictures in an album with clear sleeves (so you can view front & back). This method will save you a tremendous amount of time when you plan your events. It may also save money because you will get a clearer picture of whether you can use existing graphics or need to order new ones.
Be sure to train the people who will work the booth. People will remember if your staff is knowledgeable, courteous and helpful. Rotate your staff regularly to ensure that they are "fresh."
Make sure your sales people know how to quickly qualify a lead and create a method for tracking prospects -- even a simple spreadsheet or form will do.
Actively seek out potential customers -- talk to them at the refreshment booth, after-hours events, in the hallways, wherever you can find them! If your event allows it, put sales kits or brochures at a general information table. This information should have your booth number on it.
Have a post-event marketing plan in place even before you leave the office. Many companies actually neglect this part of the process! Be sure to send out information to interested prospects immediately. Some companies prepare and mail materials each night after the event; others do it as soon as they return. It should be no more than a week later. Even a simple "thank you for stopping by" with a reminder that you will follow-up with them shortly can work. And then, do it!
Calculate your return on investment -- divide the event costs by the number of leads, sales, visitors, or other "measurable." You can track this data in increments such as one week, one month, three months, six months and one year after the event. This will help you determine if this particular event is worth attending again.