Companies from all different types of industries are taking advantage of reaching niche audiences by hosting international summits, exhibitions, and trade shows.
These types of events allow companies in a specific sector the opportunity to showcase thought leadership and develop new products and services on a global stage. If planned right, exhibitions can position your brand as an innovation leader. In this article, we will highlight how to plan an exhibition that people will talk about for years to come.
So, you’re finally ready to turn your regional industry trade show into a leading international event.
This is your opportunity to expand your brand’s profile from a local to an international stage.
International exhibitions are the best forums for attracting new global business partners, networking with thought leaders, increasing your brand visibility and reputation on a global scale.
Organizing a global exhibition is a marathon, not a sprint. An event of this magnitude is no walk in the park. Exhibitions and trade shows of this size require at least 15 months of advance planning before the event starts.
If your overarching goal is to make sure your exhibition is a world reference, you’ll need to have a solid marketing strategy in place. Let’s outline the steps necessary to plan a trade show on an international scale.
Analyze the market conditions
Is there an international demand for your event?
What makes your exhibition competitive from other leading industry events?
Before the planning process begins, it’s important that you analyze the market need for an international event at this scale.
When trying to reach a niche audience, it’s critical that you conduct qualitative and quantitative research months in advance to see how you can best meet the industry needs.
Hire the right team
To successfully pull off an event at this scale, making sure you have the right team in place is critical to the success of your trade show.
When hiring an events team, it’s important that you enlist the help of the best of the best. The team that you hire are boots on the ground interacting with vendors and prospective customers.
Everyone on the event management team is in charge of making sure your trade show is a success. There are lots of moving parts to planning and executing an international exhibition. The team you hire will make sure everything runs smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks.
Often when planning an international event, you might run into language and shipping logistics barriers. Hiring a lead contact person in your host country will help your team overcome any unforeseen obstacles.
Research the right destination
Location, location, location!
While it’s not the main determining factor of exhibition or trade show success, location plays a significant role in ensuring your event is a world reference for years to come.
Think about what cities are a hot destination for your industry right now.
For example, if your target audience is in technology, you should consider destinations like Seattle in the US or Tokyo in Japan.
Consider the accessibility of the destination and the draw for attendees to attend your event.
Choosing a conference location that lacks transportation or is in the middle of nowhere could play an integral role in the turnout at your event. If you genuinely want your exhibition to be well-known throughout the world, select a destination that is attractive to attendees.
Identify critical partnerships and mobilize participation
Consider teaming up with similar organizations, brands, and government agencies to support or sponsor your event.
Co-branding an event has several perks that can help your company achieve bigger goals and initiatives by collaborating with another brand.
Event marketing partnerships benefit everyone involved.
When appropriately planned, partnered events can have a more significant impact when trying to reach a global audience. There’s a huge opportunity to generate brand awareness, develop strategic partnerships, and reach new audiences.
Once you’ve decided on key partnerships for your event, you need to mobilize the team to begin the co-marketing process.
Each partner should have a defined role in ensuring this exhibition is a success. It’s important that you meet regularly and determine the best go-to-market strategy for reaching your target audience.
Develop a promotional plan
Develop a trade show marketing plan that utilizes all of the elements of the marketing mix. Promotion for your exhibition should start at least a year in advance.
Your goal is to put your event out in the forefront and to reach prospective attendees and vendors. The initial press release announcement should include the location, initial sponsors, and a high-level theme.
Throughout the planning process, you can launch a mini promotional campaign announcing speakers, sponsors, and lodging information to drive initial sales. Make sure to collaborate with your strategic partners throughout promotional process. Leveraging their networks will help generate free publicity for your exhibition.