5 Tips For Successful Toy Fair Events Management
With toy fair season just around the corner (sort of!), toy companies traditionally begin to move their focus from this year on to the next year around this time. Shipments (on all bar the hottest items) have mostly been delivered, any last minute product issues tend to have been resolved, and the marketing budget is committed/media bought.
Toy fair season 2016 comes with no small number of challenges this time around, as the BTHA UK toy fair finishes on Tuesday 26th January, with the Nuremberg show starting the following day on the 27th. This unusual clash of dates will leave many exhibitors with a somewhat nightmarish events management schedule.
Here’s 5 top tips to help you manage this year’s even more challenging toy fair events cycle:
1. Draw Up A Proper Event Plan – writing out a formal event plan will allow all stakeholders to know what’s going on, to pre-empt any issues and stop vital things falling through the gaps. An events plan should include timings and clear responsibilities so that somebody is both responsible and accountable for delivering all elements, whether it’s stand build, refreshments, ‘owning’ the meeting calendar or ensuring the right products arrive in the right place at the right time!
2. The Devil Is In The Detail – events are a massive collection of details. Therefore, to deliver successful events which allow your sales people to present the product range in the best light and give the best chance of maximising listings and sales, your toy fair events should be managed by detail conscious people. Pie in the sky dreamers or senior management bigwigs need not apply! From ensuring the right cables are present to ensuring graphics actually fit the space, taking the ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ approach will not deliver the right impression!
3. Presumption Is The Mother Of All Screw Ups – you can’t afford to take anything for granted with events. Don’t presume that supplier will do as they say/that they fully understand the brief, make them talk you through it. Don’t presume the sales guys will correctly update the meeting schedule straight after booking in an important meeting without a nagging kick up the behind.
4. Take A Visitors Eye View – for most companies, by the time toy fair comes around, the team are usually so immersed in the product and the process of delivering toy fair that they often lose sight of what it’s like to look at the products and the stand for the first time as an outsider. That stack of coats may be necessary, but it isn’t necessary for it to look like a jumble sale at the village hall! You may not want to sit down for meetings, but your visitors most probably will – we’ve never received as many compliments at toy fairs for products as we have for having comfortable seats – walking round toy fair stands viewing thousands of products if gruelling, so the more you can do to make your buyers visit comfortable and pleasant the better!
5. Outsource Events Management – the primary purpose of toy trade shows (for most companies) is to facilitate selling more than would have been the case without exhibiting, while managing ongoing business. One of the most effective ways to focus on selling is to out source much of the events management work. Companies don’t need to get hung up on all the small minor details themselves where they can be effectively outsourced. Why should your MD or Sales Director be spending his time before the show arguing about the height of plinths or the type of drinks available on the stand? If your team enters toy fair season exhausted due to the onerous nature of preparation, do you need to be asking whether that’s really the right way to go? Will that really help set you up to get more listings/to best manage often tricky negotiations with customers?
An effective outsourced events management solution can really pay dividends in terms of freeing up time/reducing stress and focus on the wrong things. More’s the point, specialist events management professionals can use their technical knowledge to suggest cheaper, better and more impactful ways of doing things – in fact often an outsourced events management resource pays for itself within the existing budget while delivering a better more effective show with considerably less headaches and wasted management time.
Our in house events management team have managed dozens of toy trade exhibitions, as well as working on other events with major global companies including Cocoa-Cola, JCB, The Imperial War Museum, The National Trust, Jaguar/Land Rover etc.
We’re currently looking to help toy companies who need events management help managing the next round of back to back toy fairs. To find out more about how we can help, please drop us a line via the ‘Contact Us’ page or find out more via our Toy Industry Consultancy business Kids Brand Insight: www.KidsBrandInsight.com