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28 November 2018

Exhibition space is booked but is your Marketing plan in place?

With ADIPEC now complete and conference plans being discussed for 2019, it never fails to amaze us how quickly an event we have been working on comes around.  For the think team, our calendar can revolve around conferences, exhibitions, events and key dates for our client base.  Alongside our yearly marketing planners, we work 3-4 months in advance when planning the communications strategy for key events; we always want to get maximum value from the PR and marketing opportunities for them.

Unsurprisingly, not every business has the time or resources to plan in advance and therefore they lose out on the opportunities a marketing push gives them during a conference.  Whether you have invested in a large space for a company stand or are just having company delegates attend, there is a real opportunity to engage with other businesses as well as promote what you do.

As we return from ADIPEC (the UAE’s largest oil and gas conference) we give you an insight into what a prepared and effective conference plan should include.

  • Build a flexible plan in advance – this should include PR, social media, marketing material, website updates, abstract deadlines, presentation opportunities and relevant events to attend during the conference.
  • Exhibition stand designs can be developed as far in advance as possible to ensure your brand and message is visible to all. 
  • Region-specific marketing material might need to be produced – do you need translated content?  What about new photography for the products on show?  Pulling together relevant and consistent material for brochures and presentations doesn't need to be last minute.
  • PR opportunities – we will be ensuring a PR plan is devised for pre/during/post-event media opportunities.  We begin liaising with editors and journalists months in advance to raise awareness of our clients, ‘sell in’ articles relevant to that publication, set up interviews and generally give background information on the company that is attending. 
  • Online presence – alongside your traditional PR plan, there needs to be a focus on other platforms.  Social media content can be planned in advance with those attending the conference ‘drip feeding’ photos to us throughout the event for upload.  We develop and manage many of our clients’ social media content, allowing them to get on with business development during the week.  Twitter can be utilised for targeting journalists throughout the week and is an easy and effective way of being part of the conversations online. Content for the website can be drafted and finalised well in advance so it ties in with other conference news.
  • Promoting yourself during the week – alongside planned speaker slots and abstract submissions, there will be events to attend and people to target.  Ensuring you are in front of the right audience is essential.

Some of our team give their top tips for helping your exhibition planning the best it can be.

  • Don’t forget your business cards! 
  • Ladies, bring comfy shoes – I’ve learnt my best high heels will not last the week! 
  • Before you leave, have an internal meeting to ensure all those that attend have a consistent company message and are aware of the key points when talking about their products/services.  It might be that not everyone who attends is technical or BD focused.
  • Don’t forget that overseas conferences often provide the best opportunities to catch up with the clients – or potential clients – who are based near you the rest of the year.
  • If there is one, download the event app. If you’re looking to meet specific companies, its exhibition map and conference agenda will save you lots of time.
  • Keep in touch! We’ve met individuals at similar events (OTC, ONS, ADIPEC) and sometimes years later we work with them in the same, or different, role.  So keep in touch with those you meet as you never know when they might need your services.