Producing a Mini-Expo
Halloween and Party Show, Chicago 2001
By Patty Sachs
What are the benefits?
Producing a Party and Event Mini-Expo is not so much a profitable thing, rather it is designed for promotion and marketing of individual businesses. The concept of inviting party planners to review new products and services allows a business owner to make a total presentation to dozens of customers in one day. This is an ideal way to meet new customers and re-contact current ones.
When is the best time?
Some possible times to present a mini-expo are two months before celebration of holidays--in March for graduation and wedding business and September for the holidays. One successful plan is to focus the morning to late afternoon for corporate planners and concentrate after-school to evening for the general public. Trying to blend these groups is confusing and makes it more difficult for exhibitors.
Find five or six co-sponsors: A combinations of Decorator, Planner, Rental Goods, Entertainment, Caterer
Hold a Meeting of all principles to establish date and details
Find a venue that will also co-sponsor
Meet with the venue to establish requirements and costs
Make up a list of other exhibitors from each of the sponsors, make a nice blend and balance no duplications. (Shows may be just co-sponsors)
Plan a budget for all of the expenses (if a charge to admit, etc.) and how much money needed to break even.
Create a theme always the best. Parties on Parade, Special Occasion Show-Offs, Catch the Magic…Before It Disappears, Holiday Idea Expo Summer Celebrations Show.
Create a contact letter and reservation form to be sent to all vendors clients.
Begin to recruit exhibitors, each will be a marketing agent for the event. (Each is responsible to invite and confirm 20 attendees.)
Seek Media sponsorship for smaller events (not large events so as to get publicity from all media)
Create invitations for corporate, (each exhibitor distributes a minimum amount) ads or flyers for public (enlist the help of a desktop design trade for promotion)
Find an intern or two for assistants (pay for actual work)
List of potential vendors (See website)
Sample schedule for event (See website)
Line up demonstrations and seminars (try to recruit celebrities and prominent local persons)
Create a website for your expo. Post schedule, vendors ads, etc. Allow guests to sign in to track attendance print out their own tickets. .
Send Press Release and invite the press. (Sample on website)
Creating and printing a small directory of exhibitors (sell ads to cover costs)
Draw for prizes and giveaways to gather names for contact lists (each exhibitor gets this list of attendees)
Give a short exhibitors workshop (invite a seasoned exhibitor to conduct)
Award Prizes for best of show…booths, attention-getter, decoration, novelty
Send a press release of Prize Winners
Have a Recap Meeting, (costs, results, mistakes) and file all reports away.