When exhibitions are given final confirmation of the go-ahead to restart, the biggest problem organisers will face will be one of confidence.

Expressed more clearly; a lack of confidence on the part of exhibitors and visitors.

Right now, your business and those of organisers have other pressing problems to face.

The lack of revenue and cash flow is probably the biggest threat to your business, and many, many others in the events sector. 

Which is why a restart date can’t come soon enough.

Now a restart date is known (siubject to final review), all event businesses will have something definite to plan around. Business activity can begin again.

And it’s precisely for that reason that you need to think about ways to bolster or boost the confidence of exhibitor clients.

For sure, there will be mixed feelings among many exhibiting businesses about returning to events.

That will include even those who in the past might have been prolific participants.

Concerns about staff safety and reduced attendances will be on their minds but so too will be the need to get sales moving again.

Your marketing if it’s to be successful, will need to address and answer those concerns.

So thinking about you will tackle these issues is something to prepare for

One thing you can be sure of is that organisers will be stressing safety procedures to their exhibitors and visitors.

They will need to do this.

Organisers will need to reassure and demonstrate it’s safe to attend.

Marketing from suppliers that follows this trend will help to build exhibitor awareness and boost confidence.

If pubs and zoos can operate safely, trade shows most certainly can too. Perhaps more so given their ability to track and trace visitors and exhibitors through their registration software.

Explain this and highlight the safe working procedures your company will working to when events reopen.

And, the same information will be be needed for your staff and work colleagues. They too will need to have confidence that the return to work will be safe for them.

I think talking about “the new normal” is tired.

I think talking through your marketing about the “safe normal” instead is a much more positive approach.

Tell how your business, in conjunction with every other in the events industry is working to achieve this “safe” state.

It’s very likely, though I’m guessing here, that there will be rules that have to be followed both by exhibitors and visitors attending a show.

What might those rules be and how will you tweak your product or procedure to accommodate them?

It’s your where marketing blends with Ops.

Scanning social media this week, there is a lot of frustration being expressed and rightly so about the lack of a government decision restarting events.

However, when marketing to clients, this is not what they want to hear.

If possible, find other things to talk about. Things that could build enthusiasm for the events medium.

Images of flashbacks to stands and shows with messages that express how your company is looking forward to “doing it all again” are much more positive.

“Really looking forward to working with all the team at XXXXX again on the new show dates of XXXX.”

Messages of this sort remind exhibitors what events are really all about.

I’m not advising anyone to be reckless or to pretend things are way better then reality. Deal with definite things. The event happened and it will, again.

And while your company may not be working, those of your clients probably are.

If you can’t promote success news stories about your own business, promote some of theirs.

“Delighted to see that our client ABC Ltd have won a five-year contract with XXXXXX.”

Bond more tightly with your clients because their success is your success also.

In tough times, look for all the silver linings you can find. See the things that will provide confidence for you and your business in the future. Hopefully, that’s not far away.

David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only



The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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