Plan - why, what, when?
Start thinking about which expo/audience suits your organisation to discover which to showcase your products/services. When is it? Is that long enough to consider your objectives for exhibiting, time to design and build your stand? Time to create a full marketing campaign that runs before, during and after the show? To help you get your manufacturing expo plan right, we have pulled together a handy timeline of when you need to do what…
Where to Start?
Planning an expo does take some serious time and planning. We’ll take you through what we consider to be the ideal timeline – we know that in most cases time isn’t a luxury you possess, but if you organise in advance and acquire your extended teams’/external help, you’ll certainly get better results.
When: Ideally a year before the expo
What: Formulating ideas
- Do plenty of research – attend expo’s similar to those you are interested in and gain a feel for the layout, visitor demographic and what works and doesn’t work.
- Plan your objectives for your chosen expo.
- Pull together your budget.
- Book your stand
- Begin to pull your marketing strategy together
When: 6 – 8 months before the expo
- Finalise your stand design and speak to different vendors to agree the build
- Confirm what you will be offering at the expo and what this entails
- Launch your pre-expo marketing campaign
When: 12 weeks before the expo
What: Finalise stand designs and train staff
- Ensure the team chosen to man the stand have the business knowledge to fulfil the brief of your expo objectives and answer prospect queries fully.
- Bring together promotion ideas and start planning to produce these
- Give final approval for stand designs
- If required submit stand designs to organisers for technical evaluation and approval
- Pull together lists for your marketing campaigns
When: 8 weeks before the expo
What: Place orders for services
- Order your electrical requirements and internet connections
- Pull together the first draft of any presentation / display you are going to be showing at the expo
- Order any additional equipment you need for your stand such as furniture, refreshments, tablets and displays etc.
- Send out your first lot of invitational emails
- Post on all of your social channels to start spreading the word about your stand and the Expo’
- Order your giveaways
When: 4 weeks before the expo
What: Finalise, finalise, finalise
- Confirm the installation and removal of your stand
- Prepare your event schedule to ensure everything is completed for the expo
- Sign-off your expo graphics
- Continue with social, set up your website to engage with prospects (e.g. add expo invite CTA’s, banners etc.), offer one-to-one meetings
- If using any audio-visual equipment, ensure this is tested by approved PAT testers
When: 2 weeks before the expo
What: Check your checklist and that its completed
- Speak to the team manning the stand and confirm they fully understand the company objectives for the expo
- Follow up on all enquiries, interested parties in your stand and reaffirm any appointments
- Double check delivery dates are as agreed
- Confirm your schedule with the organisers
When: Week of expo
What: Actual build
- Stand build
- Ensure all ordered items have been delivered
- Collect expo passes
- Ensure the team have all arrived and know where they should be
What: Engage, Engage, Engage
- Keep up the social media
- Ensure your team are on message, WhatsApp, Snapchat and whichever tools you and your prospects agreed to communicate via.
- Visit competitors’ stands and see what they are promoting and how
- Make sure you have a plan for when the expo ends – what needs to go where and with who?
When: After the show
- Ensure that everything is dismantled and signed for by the right people to be returned
- Carry out a review on the performance of the expo against your objectives
- Follow up on all leads – even those which aren’t a great fit at this time
- Use the assets you created for follow up marketing
- Appraise the event with your team to evaluate what worked / didn’t work well to implement changes/additions/repeats of this event at your next expo.
We have created a Manufacturing Expo Plan Gantt chart which contains all the key Expo planning tasks. Just enter the Expo start and end date and the strategy will populate your plan.