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Pre-exhibition promotion for High-End Interior Brands

Wayne McMaster

10 July 2014

Interior designers and high-end specifiers generally plan their trade show time in advance.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research commissioned a study by Deloitte and found that those exhibitors who conducted a pre-show campaign raised by 46% their "attraction efficiency," meaning the quality of the audience they were able to attract to their stands. Similarly, the conversion of exhibition stand visitors to qualified leads rose 50% when a pre-show promotion was used. 

Work with the Show

Make sure you get on board with all the show organisers support channels including their online Directory. This is the portal that all their 'buzz' creating efforts will be directed towards, don't overlook its importance, and take the time to input as much information about your new products and brand story as you can.


Good photography is not a luxury. It’s a calling card. It’s a business tool. The opportunity to display both New products and highlight additional products in your Directory listing should not be overlooked. Here we see two excellent examples from Munna and Heirlooms Linen.

Directory images

Tone of Voice and Relevance

Tone of voice is particularly important when conveying your brand's personality through the Directory listing. A very good example of descriptive listing are the team's efforts from Harlequin London. What is particularly good to see is their reference to Decorex, and the anticipation behind their big reveal. It builds intrigue, and would put them on a must-see list when we arrive at the venue.

"For us, Decorex is the highlight of the design calendar – an essential, and joyous, event. Every year, Harlequin uses Decorex as the platform to showcase the very best in luxury tableware, decorative accessories and lighting.              

And every year, creating a stand that surpasses previous creations is a challenge. That’s why this year, to make the most of our wonderful position next to the champagne bar, we’ve decided to go that extra mile, to create our most memorable and exciting concept yet."


Consistency in your message is important but not at the expense of relevancy with these Directory listings. This is an opportunity to stand apart, certainly to captivate an elite crowd, many of whom are regulars to these shows. So why does a message remain the same from 2012?


Contact forms

The reason for spending the money on a stand is not for the square footage, but to be able to have face-to-face contact with a targetted audience, many of whom, would or could be convinced to specify your product. Over 3/4 of many exhibition visitors will arrive with an agenda of exhibitors they plan to visit. Make it easy for them to get in contact with you before the event.

Online presence


Social Media

Exhibition industry facts suggest that the average tradeshow attendee will visit about 30 stands, however they do their research before the event. Capitalise on this fact by listing all your social media platforms that you actively participate on. Prospective visitors require at least three touchpoints, to have you front-of-mind, before they arrive, its important to be active across the range of platforms and to list them on the Directory too.

Social media listingFor larger events like Decorex, consider writing a series of blog posts as a guide to the event, like:

• Speakers not to miss
• Sessions to attend
• Breakout sessions that your staff are leading
• What you’re featuring at the show
• Other important event info

Brochure and Catalogues

Online marketing has become such a common ‘cost-effective’ way of communicating with affluent customers and design specifiers but printed brochures and catalogues still have their place. Its worth taking advantage of the Directory to attach recent catalogues and brochures, or upload them to other sites that handle brochures online such as Slideshare and Issuu. We have written another blog post on this subject: 5 Reasons for Luxury Print


Printed Invitations

Personal invitations that deploy clever printing techniques and beautiful paper stock, can showcase your creativity and really make a statement, if there is adequate budget and time. When specifying an exhibition invitation to your design agency, think of it as a quick-reading, condensed version of your company’s larger, standard product sales brochure. In fact, when you are writing your copy outline, you can lift and condense key benefits from your main brochure and use it on the postcard/invitation.

Timing and execution are important. Give a generous allowance for scheduling, allow one week for printing, one week in fulfillment with the mailing house, and one week for arrival to attendees, your invite artwork should be completed by the design agency and ready for print 4-1/2 weeks before the date of the show. This will insure that it arrives approximately 1-1/2 weeks before the show date–far enough out to be put in the diary and close enough to be kept in mind.

Email marketing

Less than 20% of exhibitors utilise targeted pre-show marketing campaigns. Use your list of clients and top prospects and consider creating a targeted email invite, giving reason to visit your stand at the show, making clear your stand number, with a call to action and tying together any visual theme that has been developed on your stand for a joined-up campaign. The pre-show email (possibly segmented to those that are close to the location) could have an increased response rate by offering a reward for responding, like entry into a contest or better yet invite them to your stand to pick-up a free gift, or glass of champagne!


Cover image courtesy of © Copper & Silk

Closing Image © Mylands Mylands Floor Paint Simply Flaw-less

All other images courtesy of Decorex International 2014

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