Participation in trade fairs is one of the key components of marketing budgets. It represents an investment of time, money, and effort, requiring a strategic approach during the fair and beyond. Actions related to participating in industry trade shows can also play a significant role in the e-marketing strategy for entities in the meetings and events sector. The digital nature of the content means that the effort and time invested in creating and distributing it will yield benefits not only in the short term but also for many months or even years after the event concludes.
Let me share how a plan for events like IMEX in Frankfurt or IBTM in Barcelona is prepared and executed.
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A good plan is the foundation
Before the commencement of the trade fair, our strategy undergoes meticulous planning with defined objectives that transcend our organizational channels. These objectives extend to encompass a spectrum of influential stakeholders present at the event, including the esteemed fair organizers, global media networks, influential personalities within the industry, and key opinion leaders. Additionally, our collaborative efforts extend to our partnered entities sharing the same platform, as well as local media outlets.
Our overarching goal is to curate a comprehensive narrative that resonates across diverse communication avenues. This includes but is not limited to, our company’s channels, partner entities, and the multifaceted spectrum of media and influencers present at the event. The desired outcome of these concerted efforts is to secure an extensive array of positive exposures and coverage across various mediums. We aspire to capture the attention of our target audience through diverse forms of content, ranging from compelling texts and in-depth articles to engaging social media posts, captivating visuals in the form of photos and videos, and even prominent mentions alongside visual representations in the IBTM Show Daily magazine.
By strategically aligning our goals and messaging with these diverse platforms and influential figures, we aim to create a lasting impression and foster a robust presence that reverberates far beyond the confines of the trade fair. Our ambition is to craft an impactful narrative that not only garners immediate attention but also perpetuates our brand’s resonance and credibility within the industry long after the conclusion of the event.
Pre-trade fair activities
As the trade fair approaches, the momentum of our engagement intensifies, aligning closely with the overarching theme of the IBTM event, aptly named “Culture Creators.” These pre-trade fair initiatives form an integral part of our strategic marketing approach. They encompass a multi-faceted communication strategy involving the dissemination of press releases, strategic publications on the fair’s dedicated online platform, and enticing previews showcasing our participation at the event, accompanied by visually appealing graphics highlighting our esteemed partners. Additionally, we unveil a compelling announcement detailing the representatives who will be present on behalf of our organization, creating anticipation and interest surrounding our attendance.
A meticulously curated landing page, encapsulating comprehensive information about our involvement, is meticulously crafted and housed within a dedicated web domain, such as meetings.poland.travel/lets-talk-busines. This serves as a centralized hub for all stakeholders and interested parties, offering insights into our objectives, agenda, and the value we aim to bring to this prestigious gathering.
Our social media strategy is strategically orchestrated, allowing for meticulous planning of posts that seamlessly integrate into our broader narrative. Minor adjustments, if necessary, are effortlessly made on-site to enhance these planned posts with captivating visuals, impactful videos, and real-time updates that resonate with our audience and capture the essence of our participation.
Furthermore, a meticulously drafted press release is poised for immediate distribution upon the conclusion of the fair. This comprehensive document, enriched with relevant data, captivating visuals, and compelling quotes, ensures that our impactful presence reverberates beyond the event itself, extending our reach and solidifying our position as a noteworthy contributor to the industry conversation.
Day 0 in Barcelona
The journey from Warsaw via Zurich to Barcelona with Swiss Air, followed by a direct transfer from Barcelona El Prat airport to the prestigious trade fair venue, Fira Barcelona Gran Via, marks the commencement of an exhilarating experience. However, the day preceding the grand inauguration of the fair holds pivotal significance beyond mere logistical setup. It represents a defining moment—a culmination of meticulous planning and the collective efforts of our dedicated team. This day serves as an opportune moment to unveil the tangible results of our preparation, sharing the inaugural glimpses captured through real images or engaging videos showcasing our meticulously designed booth. This serves as an enticing invitation, compelling attendees to eagerly anticipate and visit our exhibit the following day.
The inaugural day of the event is nothing short of exhilarating—it signifies the inception of a dynamic three-day affair where opportunities abound for all involved. For our representation of Poland, the festivities commence an hour earlier with the commencement of the highly anticipated Polish Musical Mornings, headlined by our Music Ambassador, Basia Giewont. The intricately arranged space, where the artist collaborates with a DJ, holds substantial significance as it draws in crowds, prompting them to pause, record memorable moments, and capture captivating visuals. These mornings have transcended mere performances; they’ve seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the travel show, becoming an indispensable element that sets a vibrant and positive tone for the entire day’s proceedings. Notably, this year witnesses an additional promotion—a dedicated Spotify playlist featuring Basia’s music, ensuring that the experience resonates even beyond the event’s timeline, allowing enthusiasts to relive these captivating moments at their leisure.
The fair has commenced
Before the official start of the fair, the day begins with a visit to the trade fair organizers’ marketing department at the Polish booth, and a greeting with the Digital Team responsible for creating and publishing content. Next, a quick visit to the IBTM Daily Show’s editor-in-chief and the Press Room, leaving a press release and engaging in small talk with present journalists. Then, a brisk walk across the trade fair hall to other publications and their journalists who have their own stands at the fair. These relationships have been cultivated over the years, and the internet also aids in their development; here is where those efforts pay off.
Before the clock strikes 9:50, taking the official photo of the group of Polish exhibitors, there’s just enough time for a quick round across the trade fair hall, as one might unexpectedly encounter more individuals to invite to the Polish booth for coffee. Whether it’s a journalist, a photographer from the Digital Team, a MICE influencer, or another key opinion leader—everyone adds value. By ten o’clock, it’s time to commence meetings at the booth, occasionally checking what’s being discussed online during breaks.
It’s valuable to proactively review the trade fair’s educational program in advance and strategically plan participation in at least two or three significant events. Whether it’s attending Alistair Turner’s presentation on “The IBTM World Trends Report” or catching Julius Solaris on stage, before or after their sessions, there’s a prime opportunity for brief conversations and extending invitations to visit the Polish booth. Finding time in the bustling schedule for these engagements is crucial. These noteworthy events draw sizable audiences, once again creating opportunities for networking and conversations about Poland. A quick selfie at the booth or taking a group photo for someone else—absolutely encouraged. Don’t forget to tag us @PolandCVB; we’ll include it in our IBTM23 highlights on Instagram. Remember, “Content is King, Distribution is Queen.” Throughout the day, meetings interspersed with digital marketing efforts will be the modus operandi.
Of course, it’s essential to keep our own channels active. Therefore, in the evening, a comprehensive summary gallery lands on Facebook, encapsulating the day’s highlights. Additionally, real-time analysis involves monitoring Stories tagged with the Fira Barcelona Gran Via location, and tracking trending topics at the fair. With that, it’s time to call it a night, recharge, and prepare for the following day of the trade fair.
Utilizing the Marketing Potential of Trade Shows
Beyond the “standard” obligations and tasks of an exhibitor, I perceive trade show participation as an opportunity to amplify marketing efforts. Why? As someone responsible for online marketing, the objective is to provide numerous compelling reasons and opportunities to visit our stand, foster connections, and generate content associated with Poland. This could encompass information about Poland as a whole, interviews with Polish exhibitors, or engaging narratives showcasing the country’s offerings. Hence, my aim is to continuously attract new individuals to our Polish stand and present it to our partners. The anticipated outcomes include articles about Poland or its features in summarizing publications, social media posts, photographs in the trade fair IBTM Show Daily, snippets in day-end summary videos on IBTM Youtube Channel, or recorded interview segments with representatives from the convention bureau shared by MICE influencers.
The core mission revolves around strategically leveraging the trade show platform to not just showcase our offerings but also to create a narrative that captivates and compels individuals to explore Poland further. By engaging with various mediums, we aim to extend our reach, imprinting the essence of Poland in the minds of our audience through diverse content formats. The ultimate goal is not just to participate but to curate an experience and narrative that resonates long after the event concludes, leaving an indelible impression of Poland’s richness and potential in the realm of travel and events.
Opportunities Beyond the stand
Actions beyond the booth with a Polish touch are also significant, such as capturing moments like the exceptional joint performance of Basia Giewont with DJ Fox during the largest happy hour at IBTM. Those who witnessed it know its impact. Someone must have had the vision to conceive and plan this unique performance during what we call the “in-between moments.”
The pandemic has significantly altered the promotional discourse of trade shows. It’s crucial to engage attendees on-site while also considering those who, due to various reasons, aren’t physically present but are observing events online. Leveraging social media is vital, along with live streaming—active participation is essential. That’s why I participated in the live-streamed “Ljubljana Talks,” organized by the publisher Kongres Magazine. The panel discussion titled “Baltic Tigers” focused on promoting countries from this region of Europe. Representatives from convention bureaus in Latvia, Finland, Estonia, and Poland participated in this insightful discussion.
Beyond the physical confines of the trade show, these engagements serve as catalysts for wider outreach, broadening our impact and influence. This isn’t just about promoting our presence; it’s about crafting an immersive experience that resonates with both on-site attendees and a broader virtual audience. As we navigate this evolving landscape, it’s imperative to capitalize on every opportunity, utilizing diverse channels and innovative approaches to ensure our message transcends boundaries, resonating with audiences wherever they engage with us, be it physically at the event or virtually through digital platforms.
The campaign “POLAND. More than you expected”
In many aspects, Poland’s participation at the IBTM trade fair in Barcelona was exceptional. During the Polish happy hour at our stand, a special video was also recorded by Sina Bunte, an influential figure in the MICE industry. This video served as a pivotal element within the overarching campaign titled “POLAND. More than you expected.”
The campaign’s core essence revolves around showcasing Poland’s multifaceted offerings that transcend conventional expectations. It’s about more than just destinations; it’s an immersive journey into the diverse landscapes, rich culture, and the myriad possibilities the country presents. The strategic utilization of such influential collaborations aligns perfectly with our mission to present Poland as a vibrant, dynamic, and versatile destination for business events and leisure travel alike.
Furthermore, this collaboration with Sina Bunte brings forth an influential voice within the MICE community, providing an authentic perspective that resonates with our target audience. By integrating influencer marketing into our campaign strategy, we’ve opened doors to a wider audience, leveraging Sina’s reach and credibility within the industry to amplify our narrative. This forms an integral part of our concerted effort to position Poland as a standout destination that surpasses expectations, captivating the imagination of event planners, delegates, and travelers seeking unique experiences. The collaborative video serves as a testament to our commitment to innovative marketing strategies that highlight Poland’s immense potential and allure within the global events landscape.
In the end, there’s always the crucial step of evaluation and measuring the results. This involves utilizing tools such as Brand24, analyzing posts containing specific phrases or hashtags, reviewing daily event reports on the trade fair portal, and examining what managed to capture the attention of photographers and publishers in the Daily Show. One initial observation is that there was three times more content generated on Instagram during IBTM compared to Twitter. As we await the delayed flight from Barcelona back home, the final step involves summarizing the findings, allowing us to slowly pivot our thoughts towards 2024 and begin drafting an article for Think MICE.
This post-event evaluation phase is pivotal in understanding the impact and resonance of our strategies. Through comprehensive analysis, we decipher not only the quantity but also the quality of engagement across various platforms. It’s about understanding the nuances of audience interaction, identifying what resonated most with our target demographics, and extrapolating actionable insights for future endeavors.