Some of what goes into organizing an exhibition
Market research, market research, and more market research.
It all starts with the concept. First, we need to decide what the content of the show will be. Once we have this we need to establish whether there is sufficient public interest in this topic to support such a show.
The next step is the market of your chosen subject matter. Is the market big enough? Are the manufacturers and suppliers of this market willing to support such a venture? The potential exhibitors need to have an appetite for idea.
As it has been said. “there can be a gap in the market but is there a market in the gap?”
What makes a successful show.
This is not rocket science. There are two fundamentals that need to be satisfied to host a successful exhibition. Visitors and Exhibitors.
Visitors attend the show based on what the organizer promotes the show to be. What is the show about? What is there to do and see at the show?
This requires being true to the chosen content and getting the exhibitor mix right. The visitor who decides to get into his or her car, drive to the venue, pay to enter (hopefully with the family in tow) needs to feel that he got value for his money. We want the visitor leaving the show happy that he attended. Wanting to return the next year.
Getting the correct mix of exhibitors on board within the focus of the show will attract the visitors with these interests. This means that you are bring the exhibitors target audience to the show. that being BUYERS.
Exhibitors participate in shows and exhibitions for a variety of reasons. That said, the biggest reason is sales. Bring them their target audience, buyers, in sufficient quantities and they will have a successful show. Achieve this and they will be back.
Simply put, a successful show entails happy visitors and happy exhibitors.
The hardest part of all
Getting the elusive exhibitor to commit! If I had ten rand for every potential exhibitor who says “Oh, I think I need to participate, please send me all the necessary information,” I’d be a lot less poor. Exhibition sales is only for the most tenacious.
Daily Frustrations you need to put up with. (says me grinning.)
• “I’m sorry can you call back, they are in a meeting.”
• “Thanks for following up. Can you please resend the information as I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet?”
• “Would you consider a trade exchange?”
o Putting an exhibition together costs millions of Rands and sadly trade exchanges don’t pay the bills.
• Phones just ringing incessantly. Don’t these people work these days?
From my perspective, having the potential exhibitors commit earlier is immensely beneficial to them. They get so more exposure pre-show. Alright, and it would increase our productivity in a big way. (I wish)
This is key to ensuring a successful show. It’s about bring the right visitors in sufficient quantities. The right visitor being people interested in the content of your chosen exhibition. Buyers. This requires targeted promotion. Reaching people with specific interests. This comes at significant costs to the organizer. Holding back here will undoubtedly have the organizer wishing he was invisible at the show.
Behind the scene
There’s a team of individuals with a passion for what they do. Determined to succeed. Willing to do whatever is needed. Passionate, creative, and driven. Much fun is to be had in our offices amongst the chaos. We work in a pleasant and relaxed environment and entertain each other as we relate our frustrations.
Our release is our weekly “Kultuur uur.” This is where we gather on a Friday afternoon and support one of our local watering holes. We tell ourselves we are not losing out on productivity as there is no one else working on a Friday afternoon. Phones just ring. Looking back on our weekly gatherings it is fair to say that many a good idea has come out of these sessions. They be a work session with a good dose of creativity and encouragement for all. That and what seems to be a subconscious determination to support the many craft brewers continually popping up.
In summary I’d say that organizing a show is not for the faint hearted. Not for “sissies” Got the right concept, are a go getter, a doer and a talker then there it can be very rewarding.
The success of the Cape Holiday Show, I put down to surrounding myself with the right people. Good people. It is a team effort and thankfully we have team commitment on our side.
It’s all about putting buyers and sellers together in sufficient quantities!