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By piranha

21st March 2014

As a full service agency, although the team at Piranha are best known for their web design and on-line marketing expertise, there are a number of other promotional services that we are able to provide.

For example, our team can ensure that your exhibition stands, for those all-important upcoming events on the 2014 calendar, are top notch. To find out more about our exhibition stand design offerings visit our exhibitions page.

To complement the work that we do, with our inspiring clients, to create the UK’s most effective exhibition stands, we decided to put together this blog outlining the dos and don’ts of attending trade shows and exhibitions.

If you are looking to break out of the office or shop-floor environment and embark on a trip to an industry event, it is vital that you turn the trip into a money-making venture as it can be very easy for a trade event appearance to descend into something reminiscent of a sitcom’s Christmas special.

Our networking experts’ insider tips are as follows:


It is vital that you choose the right event. One that appeals to people that fit the profile of your imagined prospective customer. Once at the event, you will need to provide an experience that appeals to their needs. It is not enough to simply plonk a box of free chocolates on trestle table and hope for the best.

Freebies are lovely, but in many cases they will only attract people that are on the hunt for any and all freebies that they can get their hands on.

A great way to adapt and optimise the give-away strategy is to run and expose a competition to win something of greater value. A “Win a Kindle at this Stand” banner is sure to grab attention, and might be especially relevant if you are running a book store or tech company, for example. As part of such a competition, you will be able to harness the contact details of legitimate prospective customers. Such details can be invaluable in helping you to develop an email marketing campaign or to gain more relevant followers on social media.


Too many people in the marketing industry are stuck in the 1970’s mindset of “push marketing”. Traditional push marketing techniques involve the use of things such as roadside billboards and interruption adverts during TV shows. These advertising mediums are decreasing in value and, what’s more, there effectiveness is much more difficult to gauge than that of methods of pull marketing.

“Pull marketing” techniques, such as offering up quality blog content or re-tweeting a post on social media are becoming more valuable as we head deeper into this decade.

You can also apply the core philosophies of pull marketing in a conference or exhibition setting. By seeking to learn more about your prospective business contact, rather than shoving your own company’s message down a person’s throat, you will find it much easier to make friends and influence people.

Lead a conversation by approaching others and asking them who they are, what they do, what brings them to the exhibition, how many children they have, and so forth. Taking a genuine interest in the activities of a prospect will help you to build a bond, whilst also enabling you to form a clearer mental picture of the profile of your average potential customer or business partner.

You will also find that people that you have shown an interest in will be more likely to reciprocate. This is a strategy that marketing industry thought-leader Gary Vaynerchuk recently championed in his book ‘The Thank You Economy’.


The worst thing that a small-to-medium-sized business can do, as a part of any marketing campaign, is to allow ego to lead them into areas where the competition is too fierce. It is important that you are able to accept the current limitations of your own business.

A smaller, locally-based business should never put itself in a position where it is exhibiting against 100s of larger nationally-focused companies (as obvious as this point seems, we see this a lot!).

There are natural limitations to your ability to promote your business, whether they be in terms of financial muscle or manpower. There are only so many people that you can speak to in a day’s eventing. Don’t overstretch yourself and find that you have spread your staff too thinly. Laser-focus on events that fit your niche or that cater to individuals in your locality.

4)      FOLLOW UP

Once you’ve gathered the contact details of your prospective leads, and sorted and categorised them according to their relevance and value, it is important that you follow up ASAP.

The quicker you can add the main protagonists on social media or send out an email newsletter, the quicker you can discuss the success of the conference for your business and thank those who contributed.

Fast action will escalate your new-found relationships from simple chit-chats into solid on-line connections. You will now be in a strong position to continually serve your on-line content to the captive audience that you have generated.

Don’t forget to strongly follow up on the Kindle (or equivalent) give-away suggested above. Making people aware of the winner showcases the credibility of the contest and builds trust. If you can get a testimonial from the winner to use as part of the newsletter, even better. If you execute this strategy correctly, you will now have a platform from which to launch future competition.


If you’ve had any experience of applying similar techniques at a trade exhibition, let us know how things went via the comments section below. Alternatively, if you think we’ve missed anything, we’d also love to hear from you.

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