Amplify your ROI with some real buzz

Posted on Wed 6th Jun 2018 at 5:53pm


Putting exhibiting under the spotlight with Tracey Martin, head of the new Evolve department at Showlite 

When you put together a budget for your exhibition stand, you’re tasked with a lot of decisions – whether to take shell scheme or space only, what technology & equipment you need, plus the myriad details of how you will capture data, demonstrate your products or services, or offer hospitality to your valued guests. 

You don’t want to waste any of your valuable budget on anything that doesn’t immediately further your exhibition ambitions – whatever they may be. What you want your stand to achieve will define many of the spending choices you make, from the overall design to the choice of graphics, AV, IT, data capture. You will need to balance spending against the value of what you gain from exhibiting to determine a realistic return on your investment. 

I want to make the case for investing in something that can’t be measured as readily as the average sales value of a captured lead – impact. No matter how well you have calculated your spending and compared that against expected gains and returns, if no-one steps onto your stand, it will all be for nought. 

Prevailing wisdom suggests that a stand has about 4 seconds to make an impact on a visitor. That’s 4 short seconds for them to make an entirely intuitive decision, purely based on the visual impact and vista presentation of your creation. Regardless of how much you have invested in hospitality, lead capture solution, personnel or training, if you don’t make sufficient impact then you’re not getting the return on investment you deserve. 

On the other hand, if you build a good looking and visually attractive stand, and succeed in creating that elusive ‘buzz’ around your exhibition presence, then you’re going to amplify the return on the whole of your investment. No-one has been able to measure or quantify ‘buzz’ - and there’s no step-by-step guide to creating it either. 

When so much of your exhibition investment is sunk into measurables and metrics, it may seem a bit outdated to suggest spending money on ‘intangibles’ like “impact”, “buzz” and “excitement”, but these are what distinguish a good stand from an amazing exhibition experience for visitors. Investing in impact and vista doesn’t just boost footfall, increasing the opportunities for engagement and data capture - by getting people talking about you, taking pictures, and sharing, they become your brand ambassadors, amplifying your message and raising awareness amongst your chosen audience. 

This is why, here at Showlite, we’ve launched Evolve, a department dedicated to providing the creative firepower to really make an impact, regardless of the scale of your exhibition presence. We have 25 years of experience building entire shows and bespoke stands of all sizes, and over that time we’ve squirrelled away a huge amount of expertise on how to make an impact. Evolve is the distillation of all this expertise into a package designed to take your exhibition stand ‘to the next level’ from where it currently may be. 

It takes some courage to want to stand out, but the risks are more perceived than real. A well thought out, show-stopping exhibition stand is within everyone’s capabilities. It doesn’t necessarily require a big budgetary commitment either, sometimes the most effective way of creating impact can be a small and simple change. That’s not to say that extravagant centrepieces or other crowdpleasers don’t work – but it’s important to remember that whatever your budget is, creating impact is about making the right choices for your stand, and not simply throwing money at it. 

Find out more about Showlite Evolve by contacting Tracey Martin here.


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Nicola Greenaway, Managing Director, Nineteen Events
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Hannah Webb, Head of Operations, Hemming Group
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Claire Cox, Hearth & Home, Fireplace Marketing Company
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Ingrid Nilson, Director, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited
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Joy-Fleur Brettschneider, Marketing & Operations Director, Solar Media Limited
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Jo Scotting, Head of Operations, Impact Exhibitions
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Jo Foreman, Operations Manager, Brintex
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Emma Barratt, Managing Director, Broadway Events
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Angela Long, Sales and Marketing Executive, Wesley Media
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Mandie Lavin, CEO, NAFD
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Julie Pollet, Operations Manager, Brintex
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Andrew Reed, MD, William Reed Events & Exhibitions
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Sam Hunt, NMBS Events Manager
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Christine Valdes, Event Organiser, UKIVA, PPMA Group
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Gay Hutson, Founder and organiser, 20/21 British Art Fair
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Toby Merigan, Founder, European Sport Fishing Show
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Andrew Dowding, Managing Director, Essential Infrastructure Events
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Justine Devereux, Operations & Project Manager, Xmark Media Ltd
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Joel Swarc, Associate Director, Promotor Events Ltd
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