One of my previous jobs was as a marketing manager for a technology start-up in the UK. It was a challenging role as we were trying to gain new attention, customers, and also interest from key investors. Like many companies, we were up against a number of competitors, although in our eyes their product wasn’t as good as ours despite their effective marketing methods. Before they came along, we were able to get away with low marketing costs as there were no other companies to buy from, but when they did we decided that we needed to up our game.
We had been to exhibitions before and had simply chosen shell scheme stands. This is where you pay a higher cost to get walls put up, carpet laid, electricity sockets put in, and whatever else that specific exhibition includes in the package. When our biggest competitor came and showed off their large custom built stand, we were both impressed and worried. We’d never done anything like it before, but we knew that we had to look like the market leaders we knew we were; we soon learned a lot about exhibition stands!
How to choose between the two stand types
If you’re just launching your start-up, it is unlikely that you’ll have the capital to afford a custom build stand. This is because you’ll need to pay for the space itself, and then find an established exhibition stand contractor to design and build your stand for you. For that reason, space only stands can be very effective if you also purchase a pop up banner or other good branding device. It’s also very handy to be able to speak comfortably to people, and don’t shy away from making new business connections. However, space only stands can give you the freedom you need to make your exhibition experience exactly what you need it to be – all you’ll need to consider is which space you want and who you are going to get in to make you an amazing stand.
Choosing a stand contractor
If you decide to go down the route of having a space only exhibition stand, you’ll need to find the right people for the job. I had a list of about ten companies that I quickly whittled down when I checked out their portfolios – it’s important to find a company that is able to understand your business and takes your needs to heart. There are a lot of things to consider such as cost and creative design, as well as the materials they have on hand to put everything together. I have found that many companies are happy to help even when you have a completely new idea such as an ingenious way of putting iPads on your stand or some funky lighting. Use your gut instinct as it’s often right, especially when you feel like a company isn’t taking your brand guidelines into account in the design stage.