people at an exhibition

Marketing & Advertising Materials You’ll Need For Exhibitions, Events & Conferences

From display materials to wearables and ‘giveables’ what are the must haves for your next trade show?

Written by
Ella Faulkner
Internal Sales

Marketing materials for conferences – ahead of the event

The exhibition is coming up fast. When does the marketing of your presence at the event begin? We’d suggest it starts well in advance of the event itself, probably at about the time you’re signing off on the promotional and display material you’ll be taking there.

You’ll want to get all of that sorted well in advance, not least so you can practise assembling and disassembling your stand. It pays to give the marketing a similar lead time.

As with all marketing, some clients will engage with some content more than others, so ensure you have the time to produce content across a range of channels, including:

  • As soon as you know the stand number you’ll be at, start teasing your attendance at the event in the company newsletter.
  • At least a month (and ideally longer) before the event, issue a series of emails targeting clients, suppliers and other stakeholders you’d like to talk to at the event. Ensure you have a suite of emails prepped to follow up on different segments and non-responders.
  • Put a banner/hero pane on the website advertising your presence, ideally linked to a landing page on which you can discuss the people, products and services you’ll be bringing to the show.
  • As the event draws closer, ramp up social media activity and maintain it throughout the event.
  • Want to encourage a particular client or group of clients to attend? Get imaginative with your event marketing materials, from issuing tailored lanyards to sending out printed prestige invites.

On everything you issue, ensure the call to action connects to event registration and make sure every recipient knows where to find you.

FREE DOWNLOAD: An Exhibition Checklist

Exhibition advertising materials – display

You’ve drummed up a significant group of attendees. Now you want to create a physical presence that makes your stand a standout.

Exhibitions vary in scale, and you may well be planning to attend several over the next couple of years, so create marketing materials for conferences that give you flexibility. By taking a modular approach to stand design, you’ll always be able to create a trade show stand appropriate to the venue, and you’ll always be able to handle the unexpected.

So if you have a vast expanse in the middle of the NEC to call your own, your stand will deliver the level of visual oomph required. And if there’s barely room for a table and pop-up banner, you’ll be able to deal with that too.

As part of your exhibition advertising material mix, consider:

Banner flags: Great for ‘zone marking’ your space indoors. Equally great for advertising your presence outdoors to people arriving at the event venue. The natural movement of blade, drop and feather flags catches the eye, making this an impressively dynamic piece of exhibition advertising material.

Flags: Have flagpoles at your disposal? Give added height, scale and clout to your marketing materials for events, so your visitors can see you from across the car park.

Roller banners: The basic staple of your event marketing materials, because they can supplement a larger trade stand or do the job solo when space is really tight.

Pop-up displays: The big, bold backdrop of your trade show and the real statement piece among your conference marketing materials. You don’t have to stick with angular rectangles. Think how sweeping lines and curves could add energy and drama to your stand.

Lighting: Whether as lightboxes, round- or under-pedestal strip lights or above your roller and pop-up banners, a variety of lighting options can ensure you’re always prepared to maximise the light conditions of any event space.

Furniture: Not always essential but depending on the amount of stock or promotional material you need to store on site—or the space you need to complete forms with customers—a table, pedestal or other portable, branded furniture could be essential.

Flooring: Indoor and outdoor, the right trade show floor can bring all your stand’s elements together to former a cohesive and carefully branded whole. Without it, there’s the risk the venue’s battleship grey flooring could suck the life out of your stand.

FREE DOWNLOAD: An Exhibition Checklist

Conference marketing materials – wearables

You’ll want your conference team to dress appropriately for the event and for your industry. That may mean nothing more dramatic than smart but comfortable business wear, yet when every delegate is wearing something similar, you’ll want to distinguish your team in some way.

A badge, lapel pin, tie or similar can be the small simple statement that ensures visitors to your stand can spot the people they need to talk to.

Event marketing materials – giveables

Promotional marketing materials for events have long been a staple part of the trade show toolkit, but they’ve taken a bit of a battering in recent years.

Handing out lots of single use goodies with questionable eco-credentials could make your brand memorable for all the wrong reasons, and you don’t want a perfectly successful expo to be derailed by a poor choice of merch.

The simple rules of choosing the right promotional marketing materials for conferences is this:

  • Give something sustainable
  • Give something that helps your visitors act sustainably
  • Even better, give something that does both of the above
  • Connect your promotional marketing material to your brand and the visitor experience

Here’s some examples of what we mean by that:

  • Near the door of the expedition hall? Give a branded water bottle. The risk with giving a water bottle when your stand is in the middle of the hall is that yours will be the fifth bottle they received that day.
  • In the middle of the hall? Give a branded tote bag (to carry all the water bottles)
  • Give a recyclable pad and pen which can be used on the day and carried back to the office
  • Rather than giving a product at all, ask visitors to scan a QR code on your banner to receive a 15% discount off their first order (which also enables you to capture visitor data). You could add the QR code to recyclable business cards or postcards too

Create a more successful exhibition, event or conference

A successful event doesn’t hinge on investing in all of the above. It’s about achieving a good, flexible mix for your brand that gives you the ability to adapt to local conditions while keeping your brand feel consistent.

To explore ways of doing that, talk to us now.

Exhibition Checklist - Free Download