Participating in a Trade Fair: A Guide for Companies

Photos of Develer's booth at the SPS Italia trade fair

7 things (plus one) not to overlook

Have you ever imagined bringing your company to an international stage? Have you ever thought about setting up a booth, paying attention to every detail, from promotion to logistics? Have you ever juggled between builders, designers, and the dreaded bureaucracy?

We hadn’t. At least, not until this year. Then, we decided to participate in SPS Italy, the trade fair dedicated to intelligent, digital, and sustainable industry, which was held at the end of May in Parma. Let’s just say the experience left quite an impression on us: it was an intense and surprising adventure that taught us a lot.

In this blog post, we want to share some reflections that might be useful for those approaching this fascinating world for the first time. Here are the 7 things (plus one) not to overlook when participating in an international trade show with your company’s booth.

1. Brief: what, how, and to whom to communicate

A good brief – a document that summarizes the research done and the goals of a marketing campaign – is the foundation of effective communication and efficient organization. Our advice is to write a clear and comprehensive brief, outlining what you want to communicate, how you intend to do it, and to whom your message is addressed.

The brief should include:

2. Booth: carefully plan your location

Carefully choose the hall where you will place your booth and select a central position within it: the location of your booth can make a big difference in the quantity and quality of visitors you attract. 

In short, a strategic location not only increases the visibility of your booth but can also significantly boost the number of interested visitors.

3. Timing: plan everything in advance

The key to successful trade show participation is early and well-structured planning. Here are some tips for managing timelines effectively:

Planning everything in advance not only reduces stress but also allows you to better manage resources and ensure every detail is covered. Early preparation gives you the advantage of calmly handling any unforeseen issues, ensuring a smooth trade show participation.

4. Logistics: organize with precision

Logistics is one of the crucial aspects to ensure all necessary materials arrive on time and in perfect condition. Here’s how we organized ourselves:

By following these steps, you can manage logistics efficiently and organized, minimizing the risk of forgetting something important. Good logistical management ensures that everything you need is at hand and ready to be used, making stand setup easier.

5. Team: effective management and communication

Team management is crucial for the success of trade show participation. Here’s how we organized the team that prepared for the trade show and staffed the stand:

Good team management and effective communication are essential to ensure everything runs smoothly. When everyone works in synergy and is well-informed, the chances of success increase.

6. Comfort: make the stand welcoming and functional

During the trade fair days, the stand will become your home and workplace. Ensuring the comfort of the team and visitors is essential to maintaining a positive and productive atmosphere.

Creating a comfortable and functional environment not only improves the team’s experience but also makes your stand more welcoming to visitors. When the team is comfortable, they can focus better on interactions with clients, contributing to the overall success of your trade show participation.

7. Post-Mortem: analysis and continuous improvement

Organize a post-mortem meeting, which is a meeting attended by all the people involved in the event, to gather relevant information and evaluate the various aspects of the recently concluded fair. During this process, you will analyze what went well and what needs improvement to draw useful lessons for future events. This is essential to assess the effectiveness of your trade show participation and to identify areas for improvement. Here’s how to proceed:

A well-organized post-mortem meeting not only allows reflection on past experiences but also provides a solid foundation for the success of future trade show participations. Constructive feedback and the implementation of learned lessons will help you grow and continuously improve.

 8. Budget: where to invest

If you have noticed, among the various points, we have not yet talked about the budget.

The budget is always a delicate topic because every company has different resources, and when it comes to participating in an international trade show like SPS Italia, there are potentially no limits: you can spend from 1 to 100, depending on the choices made and how much you get carried away. One thing is certain: without accurate planning, you risk losing control.

In this way, we seem to have found a balance between quality and spending, ensuring an effective and professional presence at the trade show.

What we learned

Taking part in a trade show like SPS Italia with your company stand can be an extraordinary experience, but it requires careful planning and attentive management of details and costs. Nothing can be left to chance. By following these steps – from drafting a detailed brief to post-mortem management – we returned from Parma satisfied with our work and the results achieved.

We learned that every detail matters: good organization, a well-coordinated team, and a comfortable environment not only improve the experience for you and your visitors but can make the difference between a mere presence and a profitable and rewarding participation.