We are participating in the exhibition. Part 1: preparation

    The network has a huge number of publications reporting from exhibitions - CES , NAB , CeBIT and others. But there is little information on how to become a participant, but not a visitor. When about a year ago we had the idea of ​​participating in the CSTB exhibition , information had to be collected bit by bit. There were a lot of obvious things like “your booth should be informative”, really little information. Now, completing the preparations for the third exhibition, I want to share the experience of participation from the practical side with those who think about participation for the first time.

    I foresee the question: why do IT companies, which in most cases do not create a product that “can be touched”, make a stand at exhibitions? The traditional answers are well-known: there are many potential clients among the visitors of the exhibition, the format of the exhibitions is conducive to creating business ties, creating an image. However, I would not want to delve into this issue. We assume that the decision to “exhibit” has been made, and the exhibition itself has also been chosen.

    I’ll tell you briefly about how the exhibition looks. The large pavilion (thousands of square meters) is divided into many small sections, a stand is built on each of them. The stand can occupy 5 sq.m. and have two partition walls and a chair, or it can be something like a small two-story cottage :) People who tell and / or show something to visitors work at the stand. Visitors freely (randomly or along the planned route) move from stand to stand, collect promotional materials (often), exchange business cards (less often) and communicate with people at the stand (even less often).

    NAB Show, photo dcinemak.com

    So, what should be done so that your preparation for participation in the exhibition is successful.

    Responsible for preparation and participation

    Participation, especially for the first time, is a rather complicated matter, there are a lot of questions (from the number of 220V outlets at the stand to ordering a transfer from the airport to the hotel), and the schedule is very tight (the organizers will not wait for you). There must be a person who is responsible for your preparation for the exhibition, controls the situation as a whole and has the authority to customize the rest of the team. I do not recommend assigning these responsibilities to the manager of the project that will be presented - he will have so many worries to bring the project to the necessary condition. Therefore, the technical side of the organization of participation is best left to another employee.
    The tasks of the responsible person will include: paperwork for participation, communication with the organizers, hotel reservations and ticket purchase (if the exhibition is not in your city), compiling lists of things necessary for participation, constant coordination of the team’s work, and much more.

    Communication with the organizers

    The person in charge of the organization should find out the most important issues as soon as possible: free places at the exhibition, cost of participation and other services, deadlines for sending an application for participation, get a contract of participation, find out the possibilities of quick printing at the venue, affordable hotels, etc.

    Unfortunately, your preparation may end at this stage: due to lack of free space in the exhibition hall (at large exhibitions several months before the start, everything has already been bought out) or because of the cost of participation (for example, at IBC, the minimum stand will cost 10 thousand euros).

    Study the contract with the organizers in the most careful way, especially the requirements and rules of conduct for exhibitors. The contract will specify restrictions (for example, a ban on leaving an empty stand during business hours, leaving the exhibition before closing, distributing promotional materials without the consent of the organizers, etc.) and, most importantly, fines for violations.

    Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter of the exhibition. This should be done not only by the person responsible for the preparation, but also by all active participants in the process.

    Company or product description

    You will need to make a textual description of what you will present. The organizers of the exhibition will require:
    • The name of the company or product (usually a marketing name is acceptable, it does not have to be officially registered), which will be posted above the booth, written in the exhibitors catalog, pavilion map-scheme and in other materials of the exhibition.
    • A short text about you (or even several texts, from 30 to 300 words), which will be placed in catalogs, description of participants, etc.

    Writing texts is not the task of the person responsible for the organization, but the task for marketers, product managers, etc. Most likely, your product already has a description, but do not rush to use it “as is”. If the product is highly specialized, and the exhibition covers a wide area of ​​industry (which usually happens), make an adaptation of the description for the general public.


    We pass to the central element of our participation - the stand. If this is your first time participating in an exhibition, I would recommend limiting yourself to a stand of the smallest size and the simplest construction (2 or 3 partition walls). If we only have software, then we do not need to organize showcases or a show room.

    An example of a simple stand, the image of the NAB show

    If possible, choose the location of the stand closer to the main aisles, the entrance to the pavilion, the entrance to the conference rooms or at least closer to the stands of large companies (the organizers send out a layout that participants usually subscribe to). Strategically, it is also located near the coffee corner, if any. Traffic is always traffic.

    After choosing a stand, find out from the organizers exactly what you rely on this stand:
    • furniture (chairs, table, desk / front desk) and its quantity;
    • lighting (spotlight);
    • electrical outlets and their quantity;
    • the Internet?
    • trash bin?
    • daily cleaning?

    If something from the list is missing, then I recommend paying and ordering it (the prices may shock you). In addition to the above, you can usually additionally order: chairs / tables, a power filter pilot, a booklet stand, a cooler, a coffee machine, shelving, a clothes hanger, etc. - It's all up to you. Of course, you can bring your equipment to the stand, having agreed on the import with the organizers (in other cases, it can turn out even more expensive).
    You should not rely on free internet via wifi or mobile Internet in the pavilion - a large crowd of people can cause it to overload and refuse at the most inopportune moment. If you need the Internet to demonstrate the product, then order it separately.

    Stand design

    It is possible and necessary to order (from the organizers) large-format printing on the walls of the stand, on the front desk front desk - this is inexpensive and practical. Short, easy to read text or a few “keywords” will help you reach potential customers. None of the visitors will go around all the stands and ask: “what are you doing?” (Although it seems that some exhibitors hope so).
    Ask the organizers for a three-dimensional image of what your booth will look like, and experiment with the design. Check how the design of the stand will look if several people are standing on it, will they cover something important? Will the product name be noticeably from afar?

    Stand construction

    Since the stand is the simplest, the organizers will take care of the construction. Before the start of the exhibition, the booth will be ready for work by your arrival.


    Handouts are all that you give out to visitors at your booth. Distribute for two reasons:
    • to be remembered after the exhibition;
    • to remember not only your name, but what you do and how you can be useful.

    Typically, the "razdatku" is divided into information (usually paper, the era of CD / DVD has passed) and promos (all kinds of useful and useless branded souvenirs). I will only talk about information, because promotional items are clearly optional and their effectiveness is mixed.
    As a minimum, you need to have two types of handouts: business cards and flyers / leaflets / booklets.
    As business cards, either ordinary business cards (employee name, personal email and phone) are used, or corporate business cards, which indicate only the company name, general mail and phone number.
    In addition to business cards, there should be at least a small format leaflet (A5, ⅓ A4, etc.) in which you can write something about yourself. The usual situation is when a pile of materials brought from the exhibition in a calm atmosphere is studied in your free time. For one business card, it will be very difficult to remember who you are, what you do, and why you brought this business card from the exhibition. It’s not worth the effort to create multi-page folios: it will be hard for visitors to wear, and your work will be thrown out.

    How many handouts to print

    Unfortunately, I do not have data on the ratio of the number of visitors who received a handout to the number of people who passed the stand, or the ratio of people who visited the exhibition to those who visited our stand. But this number is not very large. For a small stand of a little-known (yet) company, it’s worth focusing on approximately 50 sets of handouts on 1 exhibition day for a large exhibition (if some additional events were not organized to attract visitors). Find out in advance whether there is the possibility of operational printing at the exhibition. Well, bring more and not give out - this is better than bring less and experience a shortage.

    Training stand

    The standman (the person working at the stand) is the “face of the company” at the exhibition. Therefore, it is important that he not only exchanges contacts with the visitor, but also makes a good overall impression. In general, it should be a person who:
    • able to communicate freely with strangers (cross out introverts);
    • knows how to confidently talk about a company or products (at least according to a pre-learned text and without technical details - but with a sense, sense, arrangement);
    • strong enough health to withstand almost all day on his feet and in conversations.

    Stendistki, photo efem.com.ua

    Two standists - this is the very minimum, as there is an opportunity to replace each other. For them, a text with a story about the company, etc., must be prepared in advance, preferably in two versions - a short and more detailed one. Knowing the technical details of your product is optional. Our practice has shown that for most visitors this is not very interesting, it is more important to get a presentation or a demo, to calculate the cost on the spot (if it is not fixed), possible options for cooperation and similar "commercial" issues.
    In addition to the text, you can prepare a presentation of the product and show it on the TV screen (in advance, worry to rent it) or tablet (in this case, take care of the chargers).
    There is a rather extensive offer of professional stand-up services on the market, however we did not use them - we went to work on the stand ourselves and did not regret it.

    Free buns

    The exhibition organizers offer many additional paid services: advertising, participating in the conference as a speaker, sponsoring various events during the exhibition, hotel reservations, etc. Most likely, in the mailing list from the organizers you will be filled up with similar offers. Read carefully, as Often there are offers to promote you for free: for example, a 15-minute presentation of a new product in front of a large audience or an interview for a magazine. But such proposals are always limited, and you need to have time to fit into them - there are many who wish.
    Also, participants are often given invitations to various events - from some sponsored seminars (boredom) to city tours and parties with free alcohol :) Try not to miss.

    Invite potential customers

    Do not forget to invite your potential customers and just partners to visit your booth. A short letter indicating what you will present (do not forget to indicate the stand number) is a well-established practice in such situations. The length of the mailing list itself depends only on your attitude to spam.

    So, the main preparation for the exhibition ends here. Additions and comments are welcome, and a continuation about participation in the exhibition is planned in the next part of the article.

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