If your team are stalling in making any decisions because they are weary of any last minute Covid restrictions or just deliberating over the options available to them. That needs to stop. Show them this article, tell them you need their help. The impacts of the pandemic are still being felt but they don’t need to impede on your trade show results.
What are the precautionary measures you should take to protect yourself and continue to get amazing traction at your in-person events?
As a planner I’m always going to say that the more time you have to prepare the better, but there are definitely strong arguments to follow through with those plans this year!
Why is this year so different?
Put simply, the industry has shrunk. A lot of talent has left (a sad, yet true fact). Industry-wide there are less people to get the job done purely because they’ve had to do their own “pivot” (such a naff term) to keep afloat. Demand is now back but the bandwidth to oversee projects has shrunk. Jobs are getting done, but it’s taking a teeny bit longer.
This is just another reason why signing off earlier this year is a good idea. You are supporting your stand builders to forecast work and any additional contractors can plan too. We’ve heard of jobs (we are talking BIG jobs) getting turned down purely because exhibit suppliers don’t have the man power to undertake the project – touch wood… Not us!
The Business Events Grant has been great for stimulating conversations but it’s put 6 month’s worth on everyone’s desks and the bandwidth to push projects through has shrunk.
Sign off earlier – Early Bird gets the worm!
Our ethos is all about strategy first, design second and we stand by it but we are encouraging clients to do a two-phase approach in the current climate. What does this mean? It’s in your best interest to get as much locked away as possible and then re-visit any changes as you get closer to your event.
The basics remain the same. To succeed in any expo campaign you need to put a decent effort into how you do it. Once you get the strategy mapped out and the design on paper, get it locked away. You can then do a giant exhale knowing your expo team have it under control. You have breathing space to effectively see out your marketing efforts in and around the show (it’s the ongoing communications that really seal the deal). Even if you have slight changes that come to light closer to the time you are still in the drivers’ seat.
As with any project, it’s a balancing triad between price, project creativity and time. If your project is weighed heavily in favour of one, the others suffer. The cheapest exhibit supplier usually lacks creativity. If you’re racing against the clock you’re going to miss out on lower costs and creativity. If you want to be smack in the middle with choices, give yourself (and your project) that valuable time to get the job done! With less people in the industry, there is a higher chance a last-minute job will cost more because people have a harder time working it into production.
Selling your concept to your team
Getting buy-in from the whole team can be a hard task at the best of times. It can be frustrating to be at the receiving end of months of deliberating over designs or meetings upon meetings of trade show updates without much progress. (We feel for ya!) But, now more than ever, the team need to rally around and get the foundations locked away promptly. It’s bigger than politics now.
It’s hard enough being the meat in the sandwich at crunch time. Getting the stakeholders in on the conversation earlier in the piece helps sell the philosophy before everyone gets a different idea and then has to be sold on the concept that gets delivered. As an exhibit supplier, we love having more people involved at this stage as everyone is on the same page from the beginning. It also goes a long way to getting buy-in from the sales team as any direction comes from the top down.
Getting 3 quotes
We get it. It’s standard practice. Just know that at a time like this where bodies are down and quote requests are high, it may take a little longer. At a time like now, it’s important to see the big picture with what is happening to the industry as a whole.
Our industry has traditionally worked for free up until sign off. This means a design team, a costings person and any sales people are working for free until they get appointed as your exhibit supplier. It also means that no money is coming in so in the current climate that bandwidth can’t get increased just yet – There couldn’t me a more classic case of chicken before the egg.
The further ahead everyone can work, the better placed we are at prioritising work and contractors can plan when it’s feasible to re-hire staff. Don’t fret though, nothing is falling on its face, we are still here and there is still a need for face-to-face meetings, the industry is just in recovery mode.
If you have an exhibition on the horizon, reach out today and let’s flesh out some ideas!