Five weeks on from IMHX and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked if we had a good show. In theory it was a great four days, but how do you really quantify overall success and from when?
There are of course the tried and tested routes; during the show – how busy your stand was compared to previous years, post show – the number of qualified leads, on-going – the cost of attending the show and man hours vs. actual sales. They’re all valid, but for me it goes beyond the obvious, and way beyond the actual show.
This year we launched the biggest ever number of new machines and we chose to unveil them all at IMHX. It was a huge commitment and required our already strong team to pull together even more in order to meet the deadline.
No doubt others in the industry also used the landmark event as a launch pad for new products but I’ve often wondered where self-promotion stops and boring the customer starts. All the gimmicks in the world will not make up for lack of substance or second rate products.
For this reason, as with other forms of marketing, many pundits would argue and I agree, that any activity needs to be based on a proposition (i.e. have a purpose) and be followed through. This means that activities require proof of performance and must be backed up with genuine expertise and, ideally, a track record.
To know whether a show is a success therefore cannot be determined as soon as the doors close on the last day. It can take many weeks, even months, for the true value of exhibiting to filter through. This includes brand awareness – the reward of which is less tangible, it could even take up to five years before someone volunteers that they’re buying because of the impression you left with them. As result and I’m sure many will agree, even though the hard work starts before the show and yes, increases during the show, it is post-event where it really takes off.
Keeping the momentum going is essential. All the great work during the show needs to be continued, developed and honed. Without the ‘trappings’ of the show, the great stand, the ready-made audience and, dare I say it, the motivation of the competition being in such close proximity, you have to know how to make an exhibition of yourself. And, I believe, the successful ‘exhibitionists’ will be those who put the visitor (or potential customer) at the centre of attention rather than any product or service.
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