Artsolute Media Group

11 Step-by-Step Guidelines to Follow for New Exhibitors

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Building a new booth can be a daunting challenge, especially when you're new to the industry or issuing your first request for proposal. To help you navigate this uncharted territory, here's a step-by-step guide.

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1. Develop a timeline and budget

Establish a basic timeline for the build. Include the targeted months in which you identified potential exhibit houses, send a request for information (RFI), receive responses and narrow the field, issue an RFP to the remaining firms, review their presentations, select a new exhibit house, start and finish construction, and ship the booth to its first show.

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2. Create a task force and gather information

  • Set objectives and determine the look and feel of your potential booth. Quickly establish an internal booth-build task force comprised of your manager, vice president-and brand-manager-level reps from marketing, senior management from the commercial group, a corporate communications/investor relations rep, and key people from the sales management and finance departments. It is imperative that your team include individuals in addition to the commercial group.
  • Compile a list of survey questions for your group. Questions should include: What are some dislikes/likes about your booth? and How would you want your visitors to navigate throughout your booth? toWhat message or feelings do you want your booth to communicate? The sole purpose of doing this is to establish key objectives and outcomes for the next exhibit.
  • Gather the data. It's crucial that you compile all of the information necessary for the RFP, such as product samples, mission statement, Pantone Matching System logo colors and directives, etc.

By doing this, you allow a continuous flow of communication between you and your task force. This will prevent a lot of unnecessary mistakes caused by miscommunication. As your event draws near, it will become a struggle to get your team in the same room at the same time because the members of your task force will always be on the road. Try setting up video conferences to establish more face-to-face communication. As a result, everyone will be on the same page.

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3. Identify Potential Exhibit Houses

Research exhibit houses and compile a list. Thoroughly research each company and conduct verbal interviews with companies that you believe can deliver your design, construction, and services requirements Attend educational conferences dedicated to expo and event professionals, so that you can identify as many feasible exhibit firms as possible. By doing this, you allow a continuous flow of communication between you and your task force. This will prevent a lot of unnecessary mistakes caused by miscommunication. As your event draws near, it will become a struggle to get your team in the same room at the same time because the members of your task force will always be on the road. Try setting up video conferences to establish more face-to-face communication. As a result, everyone will be on the same page.

4. Develop and issue the RFI

With questions developed by your task force, have your team create a Request for Information (RFI). This is an in-depth request for detailed and specific information regarding the exhibit house of interest. Here are some categories your RFI should possess:

  • General Information: Does the firm have a global presence? How many people are employed there? What is there corporate philosophy? .
  • Account Team: How many clients are handled by the team that might be assigned to your account? What duties are subcontracted? If any.
  • Trade Show Experience: Does the firm have any other clients similar to the industry you are in? Who are the company’s top ten clients? Which international countries in particular have they done business with in the past year?
  • Design: How many designers are currently on staff? Has the firm won for exhibit design for their design efforts in the past two years? Is installation and dismantle outsourced? Do they have inventory-tracking capabilities?
  • Pricing: What is the current rates for warehouse handling, storage, graphic design, fabrication, etc.
  • Financial Positioning: What level of revenue growth is the firm anticipating in the foreseeable future?
  • Industry Details: How much experience does the firm have in the industry you are in? At what particular shows concerning that field that they have recently created or installed exhibits?
  • Additional Information: What is the company’s corporate culture?
  • References:Find out whom might you be able to contact regarding their experiences working with the firm, particularly if they are in the industry you are in.

5. Create The RFP

Use the research and information and requirements developed by your task force. You can break your FTP down into several components.

  • Company Overview: Include a description of your company, products and competitors, mission statement, core values and key corporate messages etc.
  • Marketing Strategies: This should include marketing collateral, promotional campaign strategies, print advertising, etc. Make sure you sum up your general brand marketing plan.
  • Challenges/ Objectives: This section of your RTP should include problems with your existing company, as well as functional and design objectives for the new build.
  • Services: Provide an overview of services that you require for during the next 3-5 years, including overall account management, international exhibiting, possible inventory management, etc
  • Budget: Share a general budget range rather than to provide an exact amount for a project.
  • Photos: Add images of your existing, including elements and detail.

6. Issue the RFP

Once given the green light, send the RFP to the exhibit house(s) of your choice along with a confidentiality agreement (this basically states that you won't share their intellectual property, and they can't share yours) and a form of acceptance. A completed acceptance form is an indication that the exhibit house would now be entering the RFP process and intends on following through to final completion.

7. Check Financials and References

While your sent proposals are being worked out by selected firms, your accounting team should perform a financial check on each company to find out if they’re in good financial standing. This process may seem tedious but it’s a great way to look at a company’s strengths and weaknesses and determine if they completely meet the needs of your company.

8. Perform Site Visits

Visits are the perfect way to spend more face time with company representatives, scope the corporate environment and get a good look on the general attitude of its employees. You will receive a first-hand sense of the quality, service, and efficiency of each company.

9. Analyze the Presentations

Now it's time for the firm to present their designs. Here's how you can evaluate the proposal:

  • Overall Design: How does the overall design help you communicate your image, message, and brand effectively?
  • Financially Stable: Do the firm appear financially stable?
  • Cost: Are the cost within your budget ballpark?
  • Total Program: Provide an overview of services that you require for during the next 3-5 years, including overall account management, international exhibiting, possible inventory management, etc
  • Financing Alternatives: Do their payment, lease, and/or rental terms match your company’s needs?
  • Functionality: Does the design accommodate an engaging event with a theatre-type setting, or high traffic giveaways, etc.?
  • Flexibility: Will the booth adapt to different spaces and products?

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10. Select and Notify the Winners and Losers

So you've seen about all the presentations that you could see. Your awesome task force submitted their scores and calculated the results, and now you have a winner. What's next?

  • Immediately notify the winning firm: Also, send the unselected firms a letter explaining that they were not selected and why. Make sure you thank them for their services.
  • Invite reps to your office: What better way to welcome aboard your selected firm by inviting them to meet your entire team of product managers, commercial management, exhibit management, etc.

11. Prepare an executive summary

Compose a one-page executive report for management that explains the entire booth-building process at a glance – including what you used to have, what you needed, what plans were presented, your recommendation, and your reasoning. Then send the summary to your vice president of commercial development and your CEO, who would quickly approve the purchase. Even the most well-planned process is prone to a problem or two. That’s why Artsolute Media Group is here to make sure it’s simple and easy for you. Stand out and stand up to your competition. We’re here to help you put your best foot forward.