Guest blog: The cost-effective solution to exhibiting

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By Natalka Antoniuk, Quadrant2Design

Exhibiting is considered an essential tool in the B2B marketing mix. A trade show floor is a fantastic place to network, grow your business and increase brand awareness. At an exhibition, you are given a unique opportunity to position yourself in front of a niche target audience. These visitors want to hear about your product or service. 77% of executive decision-makers found at least one new supplier at the last exhibition they attended.     

There are tons of advantages when attending a trade show. It gives you a chance to show potential customers that you are human. You can raise brand awareness, generate hot leads and close deals. The networking potential at an expo is unlike anything you’ll have witnessed before, you can make new business partners or spy on competitors. One of the most important things you can do is gain instant feedback from your customers and stay ahead of the market. If you’re not already exhibiting, why!?

Budget

There’s one big reason why. Budget. The cost of the floor space, the exhibition stand, power and lighting, staff training and accommodation can quickly add up. The floor space alone is usually £300-£350 per square meter, but that has risen to £800+ at popular events.

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A common mistake made by exhibitors is to overspend on their floor space, leaving them low on funds to cover their exhibition stand. Austin Rowlands, an exhibition expert at Quadrant2Design, highlights this as one of the 5 worst things to do when exhibiting. It is hard to pull together a successful exhibition on a tight budget.

A second mistake that marketing managers repeatedly make is buying a cheap exhibition stand or display. If you think about it logically, this is your one chance at a first impression. Posters, banners and 2D graphic displays simply do not have the same impact as dynamic, multi-dimensional exhibition stands. Underspending on your exhibition stand is likely to do more damage to your ROI than good, often pushing visitors towards your competitor’s booth.

You would be forgiven for thinking that exhibiting is only a good option for a business with a huge marketing budget, especially with the cost of custom-built exhibition stands. That’s where things get interesting. If you know your stuff, exhibiting can easily become one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies in your arsenal.

Cost-effective exhibiting

The first trick is to negotiate the price of your floor space. Now, this isn’t a guarantee but event organisers want a sell-out show so often there is a deal to be made. One thing to note is that the floor spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. If you wait to try and grab a last-minute deal you’re likely to find yourself somewhere less than ideal. See how early negotiations go and then make a decision from there.

Managing to save money on your floor space is great, but it’s not where the real savings happen. The secret cost-effective exhibiting lies within the exhibition stand itself. A modular exhibition stand is reusable and reconfigurable which means you can use it at every event in your exhibition calendar.   

What is a modular exhibition stand?

A modular exhibition stand is created out of blocks (or modules) which can be assembled in different ways to form new shapes. With this type of system, you can reuse your exhibition stand at any event – the size of the floor space, its orientation or how many open sides you’ve got have no effect.

Why is this a cost-effective solution? Because traditional exhibition stands are designed specifically with a particular floor space in mind. Although they may appear cheaper, having to repurchase these stands for each expo quickly adds up. You should consider a modular exhibition stand as an investment.  

Investing in a custom-modular exhibition stands   

A common misconception is that these modular systems are boring. They are cost-effective because they’re reusable (which also makes them great for the environment!) but the design is lacking. This is a myth. A custom-modular exhibition stand can be designed according to your specs. Often, these stands come with more graphics than a traditional (and very expensive) custom-built stand and can compete in terms of unique design features. This is something the industry was not able to do before custom-modular was created.

Once you’ve got an exhibition stand contractor, you can talk to them about your options. Some great features that you can include on a custom modular exhibition stand include:

  • High-level branding at 3.9m
  • Rotating headers
  • Illuminated showcases
  • Photo-flooring
  • A range of lighting features

As you can reuse this stand at every event, you can expect the cost per show to get smaller and smaller every time. The initial cost will be higher than a pull-up banner or basic stand, but it won’t be long before your investment starts paying off. Plus, they do look great – just check out Tribe’s custom modular exhibition stand.

And it gets better…

If this sounds fantastic to you, but you still think this solution is over your budget, then there is one more trick to reducing the cost. Rental exhibition stands are ideal for repeat exhibiting or single-use, and you can see a huge reduction in the price.

When it comes to renting a custom modular exhibition stand, we’re talking about renting the framework. You can still have the graphics designed exactly as you’d like them – and these will be yours to keep.

The best thing about renting a stand (as well as making it budget-friendly) is that you don’t have to worry about storing it in between shows. Depending on the designers, you might even find a rental service that includes installation and project management as part of the package.

To sum it all up

If you operate in a B2B market, you need to start exhibiting. The networking opportunities alone should be enough to get you signed up. Yes, you are going to need some sort of budget. Now you have no excuse because this article shows you how cost-effective a custom-modular exhibition stand can be.

By investing in a custom modular exhibition stand you can see your ‘cost per show’ slashed. Eventually, this exhibition system will become a more cost-effective stand than its low budget alternatives. To top it all off you can reduce the costs even more by hiring a custom-modular exhibition stand instead of buying one. The design will still draw in crowds. You can continue to reuse and reconfigure the graphics. But, at the end of the show, you don’t need to worry about it anymore. This is the only, real wold cost-effective solution to exhibiting.    

This content is sponsored by Quadrant2Design.