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Trade fair planning made easy: 5 points you shouldn’t miss

Trade fair planning made easy: 5 points you shouldn’t miss

Give Aways are more important than you think!

2019 will be the year of trade fairs for Setlog. It will be exciting and there will be lots of new impressions and certainly super exciting and new contacts again. What happens before the event, before the “super fair” with the great booth and the meaningful and binding graphics, rollups, flyers and gimmicks?

I can report it first hand, because I am responsible for the organization of events and trade fairs here in the company.

First and foremost, you need a lot of patience in this area!


We are agile, so of course the opinions of all participants are important. Since not everyone always has time, it’s best to start planning your booth a year in advance. But where do you start? I do what is easiest for me: I book rooms for the colleagues who will represent us at the fair as early as possible because the affordable rooms are booked out quite quickly. I think in the age of comparison portals like trivago, swoodoo and no company wants to book unnecessarily overpriced rooms anymore. At least we don’t want them and book accordingly.

Then, of course, it is important to register your participation at the fair – you have the possibility to ask for a more attractive placement on the fairground. The Messe Frankfurt team for example is always ready to listen and makes almost anything possible. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much for that.

Finding ideas for the visual appearance of the booth and the rollups is a time-consuming and sometimes even arduous process. The coordination with the graphic designer is tedious, but – and I find this very important and exciting – you can get more ideas and information from their side, which we might not have not considered yet. The entire development process is super exciting and you always, absolutely always learn something new. Ultimately, you have a result that makes everyone happy and that can be represented well.

We keep it simple at trade fairs

But what else do you need in addition to the booth and the representatives?

What information material do you take with you, in what format and in what kind of look do you design it, so that potential visitors stay with us and want to talk to us?

Do we need a film? Yes, a film is always great, what do we want to express with this film?

How long does it take the filmmaker to edit a film that

  1. is not too long

but in return

2. has an amazing statement.

Just hinking and talking about this topic can already fill months – thank God we have a Marketing woman who already has very precise ideas. Although – these do not always shorten the discussion. Would I call our Nora demanding? Yes, but with vision, which I personally think is very good. There won’t be any standstill with Nora in our company, and I think that’s just great!

Since we have nothing “real” to touch, we also want something to click through.

Now you think “Man, that’s a software house, they just develop those ideas”, but unfortunately that’s not as easy as it might sound. It’s not like we don’t have capable and ambitious developers, no, that’s not the problem. The “problem” is, that our developers are very busy with our customer projects and unfortunately don’t have time for such “gimmicks”. So we are also looking for a service provider with whom we can create offers and have detailed discussions. The process of trade fair preparation is very time-consuming and communicative. Did I mention that before?

Haptics are always a very important topic: Which paper quality do we use for which flyer or article? And because we don’t have a product that can be touched, we always look for haptic stuff to offer visitors, something they can take with them. We already have mobile phone cases, wristbands and USB sticks in our range, but there is certainly something else that everyone would like to have. We are excited about what we will be offering at the fairs this year, we are still in planning mode with that.

And of course, we want our visitors to feel “at home” with us, so we are also caring about the catering at our booth. It is always easier to have intensive conversations with drinks and snacks.

But one very important point has not yet been mentioned! To make it possible having intensive conversation with drinks and snacks, we also need to do intensive press work that refers specifically and informatively to our trade fairs. This category of event management should not be underestimated and is certainly worth a closer look. We will get to that. For now you just have to know the following things regarding press work: In addition to all the other points listed, press work is decisive to have a successfull trade fair appearance.

If you would like to know how we present ourselves at the trade fairs and what happened to all the discussions and meetings we held up to the fairs, you are welcome to visit us at the following fairs in the first half of the year:

In addition to all the trade fairs, we also have two job fairs in the first six months of 2019 and I am personally looking forward to them. On the one hand, these fairs are always very relaxed due to the young audience, and on the other hand, we positioned ourselves very well last year and have almost nothing to prepare for now. So we are going to these fairs with great anticipation and without any preparatory stress.

Dear talents, if you want to visit us, come…

… to the Stellenwerk the RUB (Bochum) in May or the Reality at the TU Dortmund in June. We are the colourful, loud and happy ones.

On job fairs we like it more colorful and crazy! Regarding the booth and the people 😉

A series of events that we organize throughout the year is our Meetup Digital Innovation Ruhr, which we organize once a month and that offers a relaxed networking environment. With fantastic speakers and guests, we spend an evening around topics regarding the digital change in the Ruhr area. Our speakers burn for their topics, so the discussions after the presentations are always very honest and everybody learns something or gets some new ideas. Besides, our guests are also entertained very well at our event.

What do we do to keep our finger on the pulse of time? Quite simply – we have helpers! Yes, our colleagues, who “hang around” at conferences and conventions, are sent on their way to scout interesting speakers and draw attention to us. The marketing team is regularly at Meetups and other events and also finds speakers for our Meetup there. Only in this symbiosis it is possible to make our meetups as diverse and lively as they currently are. We also had one or two colleagues here who acted as speakers and even some of our guests wanted to be a speaker. With this event it is simply important to keep your eyes and ears open, the rest comes all by itself.

In conclusion, all the trade fairs and events we have this year are always unique for us and we always put our heart and soul into their preparation and implementation. It is important to us that our guests feel comfortable with us and like to exchange ideas.

What can we learn from all of our preparation? We compiled 5 must do’s that you can’t forget when you are planning a big trade fair:

What should I be aware of when planning trade fairs?

  1. Start 1 year in advance

Sounds hard, but it’s worth it. When the trade fairs are over, you can start planning for next year right away. Since you are dependent on many instances, an early start is definitely necessary.

  1. Dare to ask for possibilities

You don’t have to be satisfied with having a certain place on the exhibition grounds. Asking whether there might be cheaper or more attractive locations doesn’t kill anyone. Often you are rewarded with goodwill and thus with a better place for your stand.

  1. Optics is everything

Of course – colours and an appealing design attract people and set you apart from the competition. However, you should always consider your corporate identity and corporate design.

  1. Target groups

Am I at a job fair or a trade fair? That’s important as the target group is changing depending on what kind of trade fair you are. The advertising material changes as well as the “message” – after all, you want to address a potential employee differently than a potential customer and also impress them with adapted give-aways.

5. Even in the digital age, haptics count

Also, or especially in times of the digital change it is reassuring to give people something “real”. Whether print products or funny gimmicks – “something to touch” should not be underestimated.

  1. meet basic needs

The classic one at trade fairs: Food and drink for everyone! And it still works and shouldn’t be missed at your own booth. Trade fair visitors actually expect to find some foods (gummi bears, of course) at trade fair booths.

Simone Goebelshagen
Simone Goebelshagen is our “Executive Assistant” and among other things responsible for our trade fair planning. For more information about Simone, just click on the picture!