Exhibitions are hugely important for any brand that is hoping to expand its market presence, promote new products and services, build its network of industry contacts or even scope our its competition. This much is no secret, that’s for sure.
Conferences, by contrast, generate a significantly smaller amount of interest with retailers from every sector frequently reporting that they feel uninspired about the marketing opportunities that are available at conferences.
Largely, this is due to a lack of accessible information and data on conferences. That is, they tend to be smaller, less well-publicised and have poorer infrastructure than exhibitions (which we all know can sometimes be intimidatingly large, both in terms of size and cost).
This concern, that the amount of space that is available at conferences for exhibiting is far too limited, is one that is shared by many brands. If, for example, a conference is hosted by a hotel then the presenters, attendees and exhibitors all have to work within the particular spatial restrictions created by the location.
But such limitations need not dissuade people from exploring the benefits of exhibiting at a conference. Quite the opposite, in fact, as there are methods and resources which enable brands to negotiate the potential drawbacks of conferences and capitalise on the wealth of marketing and networking opportunities that remain largely under the radar.
Listed below are some of the key benefits associated with exhibiting at a conference along with several suggestions of the ways in which these benefits can be enhanced through using strategically designed display stands.
Benefit #1 - Price
Smaller, less well-established brands can sometimes find that exhibiting at a major exhibition can be utterly unaffordable (it’s widely acknowledged that exhibitions are incredibly costly, not only in terms of the financial price-tag attached but also with respect to the amount of time and labour required to design, build and transport a display).
Conferences, by comparison, tend to be smaller affairs that carry proportionately smaller price-tags. Therefore, they can function as an effective way in which start-ups can improve their marketing strategies and build their network of industry contacts.
Given their smaller size, retailers should be looking to invest less in a display stand that will be used at a conference compared with one that they would take to an exhibition. One way of keeping the costs to a minimum is to limit the number of bespoke elements involved in the design. By choosing to hire an ‘off the shelf’ stand instead, retailers and conference organisers can ensure that prices will be dramatically reduced.
Luckily, the spatial restrictions that are generally part and parcel of conferences mean that exhibitors are sometimes actively discouraged from constructing elaborate display systems and assured that more modest stands are a far more appropriate and effective option.
Benefit #2 - Audience
Conferences present the added benefit of creating an environment in which lots of likeminded individuals are gathered together to pursue an interest in the same topic or issue.
This means that, through choosing to sponsor a conference that is relevant to them, brands have a unique opportunity to promote their products and services to a large group of people who are highly likely to have a genuine interest in what they have to offer. For example, a conference focusing on the latest problems in IT security is likely to attract an audience that is interested in what a company that provides security consultancy services has to offer.
It is therefore vital that any branding is clear and coherent with the theme of the conference (so that it will be relevant to the interests of the attendees). To this end, conference display stands can be provided with custom-made graphics that are printed according to a brand’s specifications and requirements.
It is also possible to integrate creative lighting systems into the stands themselves which attract greater attention to a display and ensure that the branding materials are memorable and easily recognisable.
Benefit #3 - Ease
The reduced size of a conference means that exhibitors have to spend less time and energy when it comes to setting up and taking down their displays.
By choosing a pre-made display stand, this benefit can be further enhanced because they are designed to be quick to assemble, disassemble and transport.
Also, in the knowledge that conference display stands may be used by a range of different brands, they are developed so that any user (regardless of prior experience) can build them with ease. Including fabric graphics into the display means that the entire system can be packed down into a small container and enables retailers to feel confident that the materials themselves will not be damaged when in transit between conferences.