Why exhibit at all?

You know the type. He sees an advert on TV for the new McChicken wrap and laughs, seeing nothing but a global company blindfolding you to believe fast food is ‘healthy’. On his walk to work in his crisply-starched white shirt, he sees an advert for trainers on the side of the bus, and sniggers, knowing full well these expensive pieces of rubber will be sold for 100 times the cost they were made for in Bangladesh.

Ben Smith sees through advertising facades. And Ben Smith, unfortunately for you, is one of your customers.

Let’s transport him back 162 years to 1851, when the world’s greatest (and arguably first) Exhibition was created – The Crystal Palace. The vision by Henry Cole was built to host and ‘show off’ all the great revolutionary inventions from around the world. It attracted more than 6 million visitors, but what it really did was expose all these great inventions and discoveries to people who had no idea they had ever existed before. This very motive is still behind exhibitions today.

Just imagine Ben (then called Sir Benjamin), walking round in his top hat and waistcoat, stopping as he saw these brand new inventions: folding pianos for yachtsmen, a model of a proposed suspension bridge linking Britain and France, and a knife with 1851 blades to commemorate the year of opening. Ben may be very skeptical, but he can’t deny an innovative design when he sees one. At each exhibit, he paused for a moment, nodding his head slightly in appreciation with an upturned smirk, and moved on gracefully.

Now this whole thing brings us neatly round the whole of why should you exhibit. You need to show everyone out there that your company exists. Modern-day Ben is a busy man; if he’s not in meetings at work he’s reading up on foreign policies or doing a light jog around the Embankment. He gets sent to these exhibitions by his Manager to be a representative of the company and to come back with new knowledge and money-saving solutions. He doesn’t have time for gimmicky advertisements and false claims, he wants to see the real companies.

But – what if your company wasn’t exhibiting? What if you thought they were a waste of time? He’s too busy to read your Tweets, or see your latest promotions online. He wants to see you in person. The good old fashioned way.

Face to face marketing and exhibiting can’t be beaten, and in a world overcome with digital technology and virtual communities, that’s slowly getting forgotten. Exhibitions are put on to bring together all different kinds of companies, from all around the world, into one place. And you may just think they are just for big obvious markets, like the Gadget Show, or the Clothes Show Live. But nowadays exhibitions are becoming so numerous that Apple’s famous trademark phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ can be applied. Want to go to an exhibition about funerals? There’s an exhibition for that. Allergies? There’s an exhibition for that. Over 50? Well you’re in luck, there’s an exhibition for that, too. People are attending these because they want to learn more. They want to meet people face to face. They want to be amazed with new inventions and services they never knew about before.

So should you exhibit? If you want to reach out to a wider audience, then exhibiting really is a great way to do just that. It’s widely becoming more and more popular, with all the latest exhibitions gaining more visitors and exhibitors each year. In fact, they’re becoming so popular, most exhibitions are having to change venue just to fit everyone in, with the move to bigger exhibition spaces like ExCel and Earls Court becoming an increasing trend across the exhibition scene. It’s a great time to get involved and get on board.

And you may find that exhibiting isn’t for you. Which is fair enough, but I’d still say it’s worth doing at least once to see the possible potential you could get from it.

If you’re new to the scene, we have plenty of other blog posts offering advice on how to get started, how to save yourself money when exhibiting, as well as other things like using iPads to improve customer engagement and how to use Twitter at Exhibitions.

If you feel like you’re ready to take the first steps in exhibiting, call our team on 01202 723 500 to discuss your options, or email designteam@quadrant2design.com for more information.