What is the best way to tackle the exhibit hall? I am interested in taking a look at the different booths, but I always feel overwhelmed and usually only make it down a few aisles before I run out of time.
This question is part of the following Ask The Expert session:
How to get the most out of your conference attendance
Company: Terrapinn Inc, USA
Job Title: Marketing Director
The best way to tackle the exhibit hall is to set yourself some realistic goals and then plan accordingly. Which exhibitors could potentially have the biggest impact on your business? They are the booths you want to make sure you visit at the event. Make sure to review your needs, and keep them in mind when setting your goals for the expo hall.
Once you have your goals or targets in mind, plan accordingly.
Many expo halls are arranged in categories, with exhibitors of a specific type (eg. CMOs, consultants, equipment providers etc) grouped together. If you know your biggest area of focus is compliance and legal issues, then make sure you know where the law firms are grouped and start in that area of the exhibition hall. Exhibition floor plans are usually available in advance, so you can plan this out before you even arrive at the venue, saving valuable time and avoiding having to wander through parts of the expo hall that hold little value to you.
Many events also have online networking tools. Consider reaching out to key solution providers before the event and schedule meetings at their booth. This will help you plan out your on-site schedule, and ensure you have a game plan before you arrive at the event.
Another good tactic to consider is divide and conquer! Go with a group of colleagues, and split out the expo hall between you. This ensures that the whole hall is covered by someone from your organization, and you can meet and compare notes after the event to ensure everyone is caught up to speed.
My last tip is to not worry if you don’t make it to all the booths. As mentioned above, many events now have online networking tools. Use this as either a follow up for the exhibitors you did speak with, or use it as a way of reaching out to the ones you didn’t have a chance to visit at the event. It could be as simple as saying “Hi, I missed seeing you at the event. Could we please schedule a time to chat to go over your product/service?” They’ll be more than happy to talk you through it on the phone or via email!