Monday 27 March 2017

Why You Should Embrace Gamification as Part of Your Next Display Stand.

If you’re not down with the kids (as we here at Guardian Exhibition & Display most definitely are!) ‘gamification’ can seem a scary word.  But it’s one you won’t be able to avoid if you’re looking for ever more innovative ways to liven up your exhibition displays and attract more visitors.

When we say ‘gamification’, we’re not talking about sullen black-clad teenagers playing Xbox in their bedrooms.  We’re talking about exhibition stands with added fizz and energy, creating spectacular traffic while engaging visitors directly with your brand. 

Gamification is basically the addition of play elements to your display.  If you’re exhibiting at a trade event any time soon, you won’t want to miss out on all the amazing benefits adding a few fun and games can offer…so here’s the lowdown, just for you!


Why add anything else when I’ve already got a great stand?

An injection of interactive play will do a fantastic job of attracting people to your stand...arguably a much better job than your best-looking salesperson in their best exhibition outfit!

Trade shows are, as we’ve so often mentioned, a blessing for businesses looking to promote themselves.  With so many visitors primed to buy, they offer an unsurpassed opportunity to vastly increase sales.

But this won’t happen if visitors aren’t motivated to visit your stand, and with so many others to choose from you’ll need to give them good reason to stop by.  Adding a unique element of fun will create an effortless, vibrant buzz that may result in a queue of people waiting to talk to you!


Exactly what kind of gamification should I add to my display?

We’re not talking about lugging a secondhand Playstation along to the exhibition to add to your stand, then letting visitors play whatever they like (although of course you’re very welcome to do this if you want to!) 

What you should always be looking to create with gamification is an enjoyable and immersive experience that’s properly tailored to your brand and will get people talking about and remembering it for all the right reasons.

Simple ideas can often be the most effective, such as a touch screen quiz about your brand, product or service, maybe with answers hidden around the stand or in your literature.  How about an interactive puzzle for people to solve, or even an electronic shooting range or a simulated car racing track to add some fun competition? 

The only limit is your creativity, but don’t forget to make sure your game ideas are relevant to your brand.  You want people to have fun, but you also need them to remember you – and we’re sure you’d quite like a return on your investment, too!

What else do I need to consider?

It’s not enough, of course, for your games to simply attract visitors to your stand; if you’ve been following our blog for a while then you’ll know the real name of the game is to get their details so you can follow up with them later on.

Your chosen method of gamification will do the job of breaking the ice, immediately engaging people with your stand and brand, then leading you on to more business-focused conversations.

Running a competition with your games, such as the shooting range example we’ve given above, provides an easy way for you to take visitors’ details as they begin.  Picking a winner later on is an excellent opportunity for an automatic follow-up, with a sympathetic ‘commiserations’ message to those who weren’t so successful!

Whatever route you decide to take with your gamification ideas, at Guardian Exhibition & Display you’ll find a friendly team of game-loving event display experts – so why not let us help you plan your winning strategy?  Contact us (here). 

Friday 17 March 2017

10 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Exhibition Stand Space

We’re a bunch of curious types here at Guardian Exhibition & Display.  We know questions are the only way to get the right information from people who won’t always know your exact requirements, and when you’re considering costly stand space at a trade event, questions are especially vital.

Being almost as kind as we’re curious, we naturally want you to get the very best return on your event investment, so we’ve been thinking long and hard about exactly what you should ask an organiser before handing over any of your hard-earned marketing budget. 


1. What type of traffic will I get?

Just who will be coming through the doors on exhibition day?  Check any past event demographics, and ensure the type of people being marketed to are actually likely to buy from you.  Otherwise you might end up having the very worst kind of day – a wasted one.


2. How much will it cost?

An obvious question maybe, but if you’re good at sales (and if you’re exhibiting you definitely should be!) there could well be room for negotiation.  Check for any hidden extras, such as cleaning services and electricity.

3. Are there other opportunities?

Some events offer slick sponsorship packages that include additional marketing, logo placement and social media promotion.  Some don’t, so think creatively and you could end up getting far more for your money.  Are there any extra speaking opportunities or workshops you could run, for example?


4. Where will I be in the hall?

We’re getting good at spotting first-time exhibitors – because they’re the ones tucked away behind the staircase, or in the dead area right at the end of the hall.  Check your location, and don’t be afraid to request somewhere better if needed. 
It’s also a good idea to check who’ll be exhibiting next to you, and where any competitors are likely to be.

5. What makes your event stand out from the rest?

Trade shows are extremely effective, which means there are lots of them around.  Google events for your industry, and you’ll likely find a whole host to choose from…so you need to know exactly why the one you choose is going to be worth your time and effort.

6. Does your event have a history?

Is this a brand-new event?  If so, then with no previous pedigree or guaranteed following it’ll be harder for you to promote your attendance.  If it is a brand-new event, check that the organisers have the right backing, experience and marketing know-how.

7. Do you offer WIFI?

We’re forever extolling the benefits of interactive video and lead generation apps for your exhibition stands, because they work.  So make sure you’ll have access – or make sure you’ve got other, equally enthralling, plans if not.

8. How will you help me succeed?

A good organiser will want you to succeed, because it means they’ll succeed.  For starters, they should be focused on marketing at every opportunity, so at the very least make sure they’ll be regularly promoting your attendance at their event.

9. Am I free to choose my suppliers?

Be prepared. Do you have to rent your stand kit direct from the organiser?  Are there preferred suppliers (often priced higher than those you’d choose yourself) for any extras? 

10. How efficient is your support team?

Experienced event organisers really know their stuff – and there’s a lot of stuff to know!  The best support teams will have event checklists and exhibitor manuals that will explain everything to the last detail, so you’ll feel in safe hands throughout. 

Hopefully, we’ve furnished you with some insights that will ensure your event runs like clockwork.  And as we’ve said – we love questions, so if you’ve got any for us we’d love to answer them!  Simply get in touch (here).

Friday 10 March 2017

12 Reasons Why Companies Fail at Exhibitions

As regular readers know, at Guardian Exhibition & Display we love nothing more than putting together eye-catching displays that get event visitors talking for all the right reasons!

 Recently though, we’ve caught ourselves thinking about the ways companies often get exhibitions wrong (not that we’re pessimists, you understand!) – so to save you precious time and energy we’ve put together a handy list of – surprisingly common! – mistakes to avoid. 

1. Showcasing at the wrong exhibition

Make sure you’re exhibiting at an event where visitors will be primed, not puzzled, to talk to you.  If people have to make an effort to understand why your company’s there when they don’t have to bother, they probably won’t.


2. Not showing how your business can help

It’s easy to think your stand and literature will do all the work for you, when you’ve spent time and money for them to do just that.  However, every visitor you meet will have a specific need – even if they don’t know it until the moment they approach you! – so you need to draw it out, then show how your company can address it.

3. Not capturing enough leads

People love to chat!  Just remember to check if the person telling you about their disastrous day is also interested in passing on their details so you can contact them later…

4. Failing to follow up on leads

…which must be your first job once the buzz of the event has passed!  After all, surely you don’t want to waste all that time and hard work?

5. Using an uninspiring stand

We don’t know much about this one ourselves, since all the stands we create are naturally dazzling!  But if yours doesn’t inspire visitors to come and talk to you now, swap it for one that does.

6. Poor marketing literature

You’d be surprised how often companies produce amazing literature…without telling people how to contact them!  Make sure your literature gives your audience all the information they need, clearly.

7. Not deciding on a clear event objective

Turning up to an event and just hoping for the best is a bad strategy.  If you have a clear idea of what you want to gain – higher quality leads, perhaps – it’s more likely you’ll achieve just that.

8. Seeming unfriendly or unapproachable

Your stand will work hard for you, but it can’t converse with people on your behalf.  An eye-catching stand and a friendly smile are a winning combination people find hard to ignore.

9. Not offering anything to take away

We’re not talking about Oscars-style goodie bags here, simply something that will keep you in visitors’ minds after the event.  A flyer will do – just make sure you’ve got enough!

10. Not shouting about the event

Social media – not to mention your own website – is an effective, free selection of promotional tools.  Don’t rely on people finding you by chance on exhibition day, shout it from the rooftops beforehand!

11. Failing in follow-up persistence

A single, lacklustre call following the event will undo all the hard work you did on the day.  Have a clear plan for following up leads; if your e-mail goes unanswered, try a call next.  Log everything, so you can easily check who you’ve contacted and when they’re due for a follow-up.

12. Not building long-term client relationships as part of following-up

You’ve got a fantastic opportunity to gain more business from happy customers, so invest some time in finding out more about them.  Tailoring your services to their likes and dislikes wherever possible will prime you for even more business later on.

Did you recognise your company in these exhibition blunders?  If so, don’t worry – we did say they were surprisingly common after all!  But if you want to avoid any more in future, we can help.  Just contact us here

(This is how it should be done! Here is our set-up for Validium earlier this week at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Show).

Thursday 2 March 2017

A Marketing Manager’s essential exhibition checklist.

Calling all Marketing Managers: here’s a handy checklist for your most successful exhibition yet!

You may have noticed that we’re heading fast into spring, the perfect time of year for rebirth and growth (or so we’re always being told!)  Here at Guardian Exhibition and Display, we’re of the opinion that your company can benefit from its very own springtime growth spurt, resulting from positive promotion at exhibitions and trade events.

Getting events just right is vital, and we know it’s not easy to cover all the bases when you’re busy.  So this week our knowledgeable team have been busy putting their perfectly-groomed heads together to come up with a checklist of exhibition essentials that no self-respecting Marketing Manager should be without!

1. Make sure everybody knows your objectives for the show

As a marketing professional, you’ll be used to working at breakneck speed, ensuring everything is ready to go in the run-up to event day. 

One thing we’ve seen time and again however, is that no matter how slick your display or how engaging your standholders, if your team don’t understand why they’re there, it’s a good bet they’ll use the wrong tactics for your event objectives.  So if your plan is to generate a certain number of leads, or focus on a niche section of your business – make sure everybody knows it! 

2. Ensure your exhibition stand displays your message clearly

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on saying it…because the importance of including a well-designed stand at your exhibition just can’t be emphasised enough.  (Yes we’re biased, but we’re also very experienced in these matters, so trust us!).

Event visitors won’t have time to chat with everyone they pass, so from the moment they arrive they’ll be on the lookout for the right companies to approach.  A clear and eye-catching stand will help them sort the wheat (you) from the chaff (your competitors!). 

3. Organise all your promotional material in good time for the show

Leaving your promotional material to the last minute is just inviting mistakes you really don’t need.  Get everything together well in advance, check it thoroughly and make sure it showcases your company at its clearest, boldest best.

4. Pre-book all your travel arrangements and accommodation

This is another essential not to leave to the last minute.  Well, at least not unless you fancy a stay in the grubbiest B&B in the area, preceded by standing room only on the train.

5. Use social media to promote your appearance at the show

Social media equals free publicity, so get hashtagging!  Remember that social media has different uses – employ Twitter for short, snappy updates, Instagram for some fun pictures of your pre-show prep, and Facebook to profile who visitors are going to meet on exhibition day.  Encourage your followers to retweet and share your updates for maximum coverage.

6. Use a quick and easy method to collate leads

There are plenty of whizzy apps available to help you capture leads, but even a handwritten form is better than nothing…as long as your team know exactly what they need to do, and what information they have to get for the all-important follow-up.  Which brings us to…

 7. Give clear instructions for lead follow-up after the show

You need to keep up the momentum after the initial buzz from your event has passed. Don’t rely on anyone contacting you – ensure your team is ready to follow up quickly, and watch all that new business come flooding in!

Looking for even more ways to make an impactful impression at your next event?  Our friendly team is always happy to advise – simply contact us and see what your business and our experience can create together.