Common Mistakes of Exhibition Selection

Dear exhibitor, how do you choose an exhibition to participate in? Which way of selection is the right one, and which is not?

Potential exhibitors often make a number of typical mistakes when they select an exhibition for their participation. Let us examine them in detail.

Mistake N1.

The decision on participation is made without considering key performance indicators (KPIs), based on the following factors:

  • - direct competitors participate in the exhibition;
  • - someone’s recommendation;
  • - in the result of persuasive advertising;
  • - out of habit;
  • - administrators’ solicitation.

The mentioned reasons can be taken into account, but the most crucial part is missing, i.e. key performance indicators of the exhibition as a marketing channel. A potential exhibitor who decides on the exhibition without taking them into account makes unprofessional management decision.

Mistake N2.

Performance indicator is assessed incorrectly.

Let us repeat, what is the exhibition key performance indicator from the exhibitor’s point

Let us repeat, what is the exhibition key performance indicator from the exhibitor’s point of view? Correct, the quantity of target visitors who are the decision-makers or affect the decision to purchase goods and services.

Exposition net space and the number of exhibitors are indirect, but important performance indicators of an exhibition. These factors show how many companies decide to exhibit, and how large their stands are.

There are two ways to obtain information on the exhibition KPIs: its web-site and the web-sites where data on official exhibition audits are available.

It is worth saying that, unfortunately, the information placed on the organizer’s web-site may contain overstated data. The professionals are well-aware of the fact that in 2004 before the system of exhibition audit was launched in Russia, according to the statistics, Russian exhibitions were 4 times more attended than the German ones. People who have ever visited exhibitions in Hannover or Frankfurt need no explanation that, to put it mildly, it was a considerable overestimation.

A potential exhibitor who plans to allocate funds and time for an exhibition has to obtain reliable information about it.

As it was mentioned above, the reliable information can be guaranteed only on the web-sites that place official exhibition audit statistics.

What is the exhibition audit?It is a procedure when an independent auditor verifies and confirms the following consumer properties of the exhibition: the number of exhibitors and visitors, the exhibition space, the list and number of participating countries. On our web-site all these parameters are given in dynamics and are located in profiles of the respective exhibitions.

The higher the number of specialist visitors interested in your goods is at the exhibition, the higher your return on investment (ROI) is going to be. We suggest estimating your own ROI from participation in the exhibition by filling out a special form placed on our web-site.

Our web-site also contains data on several exhibitions’ Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power. These data allow more in-depth assessment of the actual purchasing power of exhibitions as well as answering the following questions:

  • What is the visitor financial capacity? What is the value of contracts that they conclude to purchase goods and services of your interest?
  • What is the value of contracts signed by the visitors in the result of the exhibition? Do the visitors select the exhibition as an actual purchasing channel?

All open data is available in Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power reports.

Mistake N3.

Such a simple tool as the Russian National Exhibition Rating is not used for exhibition selection.

In 2013 the Russian National Exhibition Rating was launched.

It was initiated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (RF CCI) and the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF). The technical operator is the company called RussCom IT Systems, it is the official exhibition statistics auditor in Russia and the CIS countries. All the rating members have passed an independent audit of their statistics.

The rating offers you a simple and rather effective tool for exhibition selection. All exhibitions that passed the audit within the past two years are being ranked. Exhibitions are rated separately in each of the 51 subject categories, in the following four nominations:

  • "Professional Interest," based on the number of specialist visitors
  • "Exhibition Space," based on the exhibition net space
  • "Market Coverage," based on the number of exhibitors
  • "International Recognition," based on the number of participating countries and the number of foreign exhibitors

The rating is a very simple tool. It takes just 2-3 minutes to assess an exhibition with it. Make sure that the exhibition that you are going to participate in is really worth it. Dot all the i's and cross all the t's.

Mistake N4.

The exhibition status is not considered.

As a rule, few exhibitors pay attention to different logos placed on exhibitions’ web-sites. However, the logos awarded to the event speak of its status and may considerably supplement your idea of it.

A sign of the high level of an exhibition is its support by the following authoritative Russian and international organizations:

  • - the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI)
  • - the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF)
  • - the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCI RF)

The main criterion for an exhibition to obtain an UFI or RUEF status is the compulsory exhibition audit in compliance with the international rules. An exhibition can receive a logo only if its parameters meet the following criteria:

UFI Logo:

  • the event must have a regular schedule;
  • the number of direct foreign exhibitors must be not less than 10% of the total number of exhibitors;
  • the number of foreign visits or visitors must be not less than 5% of the total number of visits or visitors, respectively;
  • the event catalogue must be published not only in the country's language, but also in at least one other foreign language, preferably English.

For more information on how to obtain the UFI Approved Event status and a logo, please go to “UFI’s Auditing Rules.”

RUEF Logo:

  • the exhibition must have its own original name;
  • the exhibition net space must be not less than 1,000 sq.m.;
  • the number of direct foreign exhibitors must be not less than 10% of the total number of exhibitors (moreover, their rented exhibition space must be not less than 100 sq.m.);
  • the total number of visitors must be not less than 5,000 people;
  • the exhibits must correspond to the stated subject;
  • the exhibition must comply with its stated dates and periodicity;
  • stands equipment must meet the international requirements;
  • ongoing services (commercial, marketing, advertising, etc.) must be provided.

For more information on requirements for exhibitions to acquire a RUEF logo, please visit the RUEF Regulation on “Voluntary Certification of Exhibitions.”

Do not make serious decisions on exhibition participation without having trustworthy information about it. Evaluate its key indicators (the number of targeted visitors, exhibition net space, the number of exhibitors and participating countries), estimate your ROI, pay attention to its place in the exhibition rating and to the logos awarded to it. Only then you will be able to say that you approached participation in the exhibition with competency and professionalism.