One of the top concerns we address regularly with our clients is the ongoing dilemma of where to locate their exhibit on the show floor. There are multiple viewpoints on what is the optimal site. However, we approach space selection as we would any other event marketing campaign element – it depends on your organization’s objectives for the event. Some common objectives and their accompanying ideal spaces include:
New business opportunities: Conventional wisdom says it is best to put your exhibit closest to the entrance, so attendees will see you first. However, in practice, attendees often stride right past the first row of exhibits to linger in the heart of the show floor. Therefore, to have the most traffic and the best opportunity to engage with browsing attendees, exhibitors should in fact face an inner aisle. Some shows have even played up this trend by placing a “boulevard”, complete with benches and greenery, at the center of the floor. Exhibitors along this space have more time to connect with attendees, rather than only as they are entering or leaving the show floor.
Customer relationship management: If your objective is to meet with existing customers and keep them in your booth, location is important to ensure they can find you on the floor. In this case, you want to be as far from your competitors as possible, and with an island or on the end for maximum visibility. You should also be reaching out before the event so customers know exactly where to find you and what to expect when they arrive.
Brand awareness: When the top objective is to get as many eyes as possible on your company name, logo, or product, then the ideal location is a space closest to where all attendees must pass. Often this means near the entrance/exit, or at another location where attendee visitation is mandatory – such as a CME reporting station or show organizer booth. While exhibit location is a key component to brand awareness, it should be coupled with other tactics to maximize the show floor position.
The suggestions made here are assuming you have the choice of any spot on the floor. We also understand that space selection is frequently driven by show “points” or investment level, so if the ideal location is not available, it does not mean the show will be a failure. Any location can be a success with the right marketing plan, environment and attendee experience.