By Lisa Dunphy
As we approach the summer season, preparation for many agricultural trade shows is well under way. Fundamental to the success of any trade show, be it agricultural or otherwise is event management. Event management is one such profession where failure has no hiding place. Preparation is key! A lack of preparation, confidence about your stand position, design and concept, and visitor expectations will land you in an embarrassing situation. To avoid uncertainties, below are some of the most important event management tips to consider in advance, during and after your event.
“Location, location, location” is the case here just like at any other trade event. Most trade shows will offer prime location booths for an extra charge. If you are willing to pay extra, look into this early, as prime locations sell out fast. You may need to think even further in advance. If you plan on attending a trade show long term, year after year, prime location is something you can try to leverage and negotiate into your contract.
Get the look
Visitors are attracted to good looking stands. Use crisp clean lines and colors in keeping with your brand standards. It is imperative to put effort into the concept and design of your stand at an early stage to ensure you portray your brand and message in the best possible light. It will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by. Ensure your brand is clear and able to be seen from every direction. Use clear signage, flags, lighting and shrubbery to enhance the stand.
Make your stand approachable
In addition to having that ‘right look’ and appealing design, your stand should be approachable. Professional staff, smartly dressed with branded clothing and name tags are extremely important to the company image. Have a variety of different display options to appeal to different people. Some people like flyers, brochures and reading materials. Other visitors favour visual effects such as a video demo on a screen or tablet. Many will want to engage with staff and ask questions. Ensure you have a good balance of staff available at all times throughout the event with up to date business cards.
Attending trade shows for visitors can be physically tiring as there is lots of walking around. Offering refreshment will be much appreciated. Your offering should be in line with your company culture or stand theme. Water bottles, coffee cups, sweet treats and any packaging should come with your branding or business card attached to help remind visitors where they received it from.
Network! Network! Network!
There are thousands of exhibitors at trade shows looking to connect with like-minded individuals and are willing to talk for free. Many of the distributors and manufacturers are eager to share their experiences about what it took to get to where they are. Make friends with your neighbours, let them know about what you do and find out what their business is. You will want other non-competing exhibitors to refer visitors to your stand when appropriate, just as you will want to refer others to theirs. At trade events you will meet amazing people with incredible ideas, who are more than happy to provide feedback about how to make your product better and share their tricks of the trade.
Reach out on Social Media
It is recommended to prepare a social media marketing plan in advance of your trade show, including a content calendar with nuggets of information about your brand, products on display, exciting items of interest during the lead up and on the day of the event. Another way to engage with people on the day of the event is when visitors have checked in at the venue or mentioned the trade show on social media. Invite them to your stand and offer a special incentive through social channels.
After all the hard work of attending your trade show or exhibition, it is so tempting to pack up and go home. For most exhibitors, this is when the ‘real work’ starts, converting all those precious qualified leads and contacts into sales. Ideally prepare your follow-up plan and literature in advance, set yourself a deadline to get these out within a week of the event. You should collect meaningful information from the participants. Send feedback forms, gather feedback, understand participants’ reactions, gauge expectations and measure the impact of your event. This will help you get valuable insights for future events based on the information received. Make time to connect on social media platforms with all your trade show neighbours and contacts you met at the event. This is invaluable to expanding your professional network and hopefully you will soon see referrals coming your way.
Agricultural trade shows are a fundamental part of the Agri business networking calendar. Green Acre Marketing will do all the work to ensure that your brand delivers the appropriate message and leave your existing or potential customers with a lasting impression.
Contact us at Green Acre Marketing for more information.
Green Acre Marketing are delighted to welcome Lisa Dunphy to the team. She will head up our Communications and PR section. This announcement also comes as we celebrate two years in business. The company was set up by Aileen Barron with a sole purpose: To provide marketing services to Agri businesses operating in Ireland. And we do that, currently supporting well-known international and Irish agri brands.
Originally from Dungarvan, Co Kilkenny, Lisa is well known in the agri industry in Ireland. She worked for the Arvum Group over the past six years as Marketing and PR Manager across the group, which incorporated such companies as Seed Technology, DLF, Advanced Fertilizers, and Specialist Nutrition.
Lisa, who holds a Masters in Marketing, will bring a wealth of knowledge in Communications, PR and Event Management to complement all services being provided at Green Acre Marketing. She told us, “I’m very excited about moving to a company that offers the opportunity to work with so many great agribusinesses and joining a company that is still at an early growth stage gives me the opportunity to make a unique contribution to the success and development of the business”.
Speaking about the recent appointment, Aileen said, “As a company we are so proud to be working uniquely in the agri sector and had the opportunity to be involved in some great marketing challenges for our customers over the past two years. Having worked with Lisa in the past and now having her involved in Green Acre Marketing reinforces what we offer to our customers and I am delighted to have her on board”.
If you need any Marketing, Communications, PR or Event Management support, have a query or would like to get assistance with developing your marketing plan this year, contact us at Green Acre Marketing.
Getting an event organiser to run your workshop, launch, business opening, and exhibition frees up your sales staff to achieve the best in their roles and do what they do best: network with clients, find new customers and make sales.
Here are some tips to help you run a successful Agri seminar or workshop.
Why run an event?
There are many things you need to think about when planning an event, however a very good starting point is give a great deal of thought to the following two items as these will give you the seminar topic and help you build an engaging programme.
Start by asking your team what your business will achieve from it and what is the overall objective in running the event. Reasons include: to build awareness of your business and products/services, to reach new customers/clients, to keep in touch with your current customers, to boost your brand’s reputation, and to showcase your products and the technology associated with them.
Secondly, who do you want to invite and what are the benefits of attending this event for the invitees? This will determine what will be included on the electronic and print media before, during and after the event.
Picking a date – Time of year is crucial for Agri events. Think of your attendees and what suits them and the timing of the message you want to give.
Venue – Location is key. Your customers may be travelling from all over the country. Consider having more than one event if trying to appeal to a larger region. Also, consider the room size, too big and it looks empty, too small and it is crowded.
Speakers – Consider your overall message that you want to resonate with attendees. This will help you determine internal or external speakers that will spark interest in your event.
Start and finish times – Consider how long attendees have to travel to and from the event and pick start/finish times to assist this. If it is a full day, plan for refreshments; snacks or lunch.
Attendee list – How you target the right people for the event depends on the aim of the seminar. Your sales staff will have built up lists of customers and these can be a very good starting point. Then start to think about influencers that would be of value.
Advertising the event – You’ve got the date, venue, start/finish times, a topic and possibly a programme and you’re ready to start promoting the event. Promote an event too early and people forget it, too late and people are busy. A nice balance is to start with a ‘Save the Date’ email to your attendee list. Then send the official Invitation about three weeks before the event and follow up with a phone call a week before the seminar. I cannot stress the importance of this follow up phone call. Unfortunately with the busy lives people lead they may have forgotten to reply or assumed someone else did it and before you know it you have 10 extra people planning to attend that you were unaware of! It is worth noting, making these calls is more time consuming than you think, so don’t leave it last minute. This call also gives sales staff a reason to call/catch-up with their customers, to promote themselves by selling the event and use the opportunity to book time to meet the customer in the near future if they are unable to attend.
Programme of the event – Ask your speakers to send their presentation summary and bio in advance to help plan the programme timings and bring balance to the day. This also gives you material for a seminar brochure.
Promotions – Check the branding in the room on company banners and stands, and put together promotional items to give to customers i.e. brochures, pens, notepads etc.
Photographer – Book a photographer to document the event or take key group shots for press releases after the event. Invite the media as well.
Why use Green Acre Marketing to run your Agri event?
Running a large industry event like a seminar, from launch to final press release, takes time away from your sales staff. Using an event organiser frees up sales staff to network during the event, make contacts and sales.
Green Acre Marketing will take care of everything. We will develop a customised checklist for your event with deadlines for all activities to help everything run smoothly and make the most of the event, leaving time for you to be with your customers.