Are bespoke exhibition stands worth the time, effort and money?

It can be argued that there are many cheaper ways to attend an exhibition than to have an entirely custom made stand. When visiting a show, they are the ones that dominate the hall floors and occasionally they may be double decked to offer greater space with the stand footprint. What they offer is a completely individual look and feel, one that can match the exhibitors brand with precision and certainly, one that will not be mistaken for a competitor.

However, the arrival of new materials, new techniques and the need to create high impact stands in shorter build periods, have all contributed to blurring the boundaries between a one-off bespoke exhibition stand and custom modular stands that we looked at in a previous blog post (link).

One thing that remains constant is that a custom built stand is an investment. It is an investment in marketing; a cheap stand that fails to deliver could be far more costly than a more expensive stand that delivers against the objectives it is charged with meeting.

Because exhibitions are usually vertically aligned if they are B2B shows and often targeting a specific segment of the public if they are B2C, they are a tightly focused marketing channel. This means that a well designed and built exhibition stand can attract a good number of highly targeted leads.

So, if you are heading to that perfect show, the one that addresses your target audience perfectly, you really need to make the biggest impact your budget will allow. To do that you really need to be considering a custom build exhibition stand. They are perfect for brand building, for making a statement on the show floor and attracting visitors

Custom-built stands are highly effective for something such as a brand-building, product launches, market launches and competitive positioning, where image and impact are very important and that's where exhibitors will get their money's worth. A big stand in a small show may be seen as overkill, and an imbalance of spend against benefit, however, if the show is one of the the massive international exhibitions such as Mobile World Conference which is a multi hall, highly competitive and noisy event over several days then a larger presence is needed.

There's no point having a lavish stand for a small trade show. But if you're going to a show like Telecoms Geneva - a huge environment that is very competitive and noisy - then you need a stand that will get you noticed. And that means a custom built stand.

When looking at the budget for a bespoke stand there are some considerations to factor into the project once the considerations of meeting the marketing objects have been satisfied. But for a moment let's just run through what the marketing objective may comprise.

There are really three key reasons to attend an exhibition – to take new products into an existing market, to take existing products into a new market, and to be a platform to meet dispersed clients and prospects whom it would be financially punitive to travel to meet at their own premises. Part of this requirement may be a host of new sales leads to be followed up post show, for that there needs to be something to hook visitors and grab their attention. There will need to be some form of data or lead capture and there may be a need to have some form of private area in which you can speak privately to the visitors – all of which will have a significant bearing upon the design of the stand and the budget required.

If the stand is the a meeting place for international visitors then the may be a need for some form of hospitality on the stand. That can range from having coffee served by a barista through to a fully catered stand with a separate hospitality area.

If you are launching a new product into the market there may be a need to demonstrate the product in-situ. At the huge print show FESPA this would mean having large scale print machinery installed and some of it running at the show.

The implications of all these factors on the design and build of the stand will impact upon budget and complexity, some of which preclude the use of a modular system.

There are some real practicalities to be considered when looking at a custom built stand, from having power connected that is sufficient for your requirements, through to structural calculations if the stand is high, water and waste connections, audio visual requirements, and rigging of banners from the ceiling. All of these come within the scope of work for your exhibition contractor and they are all things on which they can advise you.

A bespoke custom built exhibition stand has its place in the marketing tool kit, key to its success is understanding how and when to deploy it.

We can help you get the very best out of your custom built exhibition stand, download our brochure to see how we have helped other clients.

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