Ross Farmer
Ross Farmer

The important marketing question no-one ever asks

Category: Marketing Strategy

Friday October 6th, 2017

At Horizon we consult on a lot of marketing projects, offering our advice, wisdom and experience to ensure our customers’ goals are achieved.

However, we’re also asked to create a lot of collateral for customers within the confines of fairly narrow briefs – perhaps none more so than in the case of exhibition graphics like banners, pop-ups and display panels. We talk to our customers, of course, but we often find ourselves producing graphics that feature product images, stock photography, contact details and straplines, all properly branded. Which might, at first glance, seem just fine.

But what many of our customers are failing to ask themselves is this: what do they actually want to achieve by attending an exhibition?

This isn’t always the easiest question to answer – a company’s broad goal might simply be ‘sell more stuff’ – but with a bit of soul-searching it’s usually possible to narrow down something more concrete. A few examples include:

  • Get more sign-ups to a CRM / email database
  • Fend off an aggressive competitor
  • Increase sales/profitability with existing customers
  • Enhance brand recognition
  • Reach a new market
  • Consolidate on or celebrate recent successes
  • Shout about a new product or service

So why does it matter? 

Each of the above responses to that important question would lead to a marketer / designer to come up with a different approach to your exhibition collateral. The core pillars will remain (e.g. branding and contact information) but the messages will vary, the copy will vary and the choice of images may vary. The whole approach might vary too – for example if you want more sign-ups then a giveaway or introductory offer is a great place to start – but too many businesses wait until they’ve already gone down a generic marketing path before starting to think in these terms.

And with exhibition season truly upon us (though, to be honest, it’s a year-round thing these days for many industries) there’s never been a better time to look at your business goals and your marketing from the same perspective. It’s one thing to inform your customers and prospects that you exist – it’s quite another getting them to react in the way that you want.

NB this approach applies just as much to the creation of websites, content marketing campaigns, advertising and all other aspects of marketing – we’re just using exhibition graphics as an on-trend example.