Aston martin DB10 James Bond on a roadshow

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Event Roadshow

Introduction to Roadshow Events 

An event roadshow series is a powerful marketing strategy, taking your brand on the road to engage directly with target audiences across multiple locations. Typically filled with day-long activities, these events offer an intimate setting for product demonstrations, insightful discussions, and valuable networking opportunities. By reaching out to different cities, a roadshow event allows for personalized interactions with your customer base and prospects, paving the way for meaningful connections and direct feedback.

Tesla Y, the electric vehicle displayed in a transparent mobile exhibition trailer towed by the iconic Cybertruck, promoting 'The Best-Selling Car in the World is Made in America
The Iconic Cybertruck Towing The Best Selling Tesla Y in America

Why Roadshow? 

The appeal of roadshow events lies in their ability to foster in-person connections. Whether it’s spreading brand awareness, launching new products, or educating the market, roadshows bring your offering directly to the doorstep of potential clients. This direct engagement model is crucial for businesses looking to make a tangible impact in highly competitive markets. 

Strategic Planning: Laying the Groundwork 

B2C 

In the  world of marketing, finding the perfect venue for your brand’s experiential journey is crucial. With the advent of digital platforms that simplify these searches, locating an experiential marketing space has become less of a hassle. A noteworthy mention in this regard is Location.Live. This innovative website tool is revolutionizing how brands find and book experiential marketing spaces. With an easy-to-navigate online booking system, Location.Live offers a comprehensive list of spaces, alongside vital information such as health and safety requirements, loading times, costs, and availability. This makes it an indispensable resource for marketers aiming to create memorable consumer interactions in high-footfall areas.c 

A McLaren 570GT is featured within a transparent mobile exhibition unit truck, the message 'TAKEN FURTHER' prominent as onlookers engage with the display, set against a lively outdoor backdrop.
A shot from McLaren’s iconic Mediterranean roadshow

However, Location.Live might not be the one-size-fits-all solution for every brand out there. While it’s a goldmine for business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions, its suitability for exclusive or high-net-worth individual locations might require a bit more digging. The platform might allow for filtering based on exclusivity, but the onus is on the marketers to explore and ascertain the website’s current offerings thoroughly. 

 

B2B 

 The conversation shifts slightly when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) roadshows. In these scenarios, the significance of the location often takes a backseat. Typically, in B2B interactions, one of the businesses involved becomes the host venue for the event. For example, companies like Dell have conducted events either at their customer’s locations or welcomed customers to their distributors, making one of the “B’s” the event venue itself. This underlines that for B2B roadshows, the choice of location is usually more straightforward and dictated by the nature of the business relationship. 

The new Honda e electric vehicle presented in a transparent exhibition unit,. set against an urban backdrop in Germany, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Europe
A shot from Honda E’s Roadshow in Germany

 This distinction becomes even more pronounced when comparing consumer-focused roadshows to those aimed at a B2B audience. Consumer roadshows, especially for high-end products like luxury electric vehicles, face the unique challenge of pinpointing their exact audience. For such brands, the task is not just about finding a location but ensuring that it resonates with their target demographic. Forming strategic alliances with exclusive hotels or golf clubs might be a more effective way to reach potential customers. Nevertheless, the responsibility of making the roadshow a success ultimately falls on the brand. Selecting the right location is paramount because, at the end of the day, the effectiveness of the roadshow hinges on the brand’s ability to engage its intended audience in a meaningful way. 

A gleaming red BMW X2 a transparent product exhibition truck unit, part of a dynamic roadshow event in Greece, highlighting vehicle durability and design
BMW X2’s Greece roadshow

Identifying the right audience is essential—what kind of consumers are you targeting, and how many do you expect to engage at your roadshow? If you’re planning a large-scale event, with 100,000 visitors over a few days, you’re looking at attracting a high volume of people. Your product is consumer-friendly, not a high-end exclusive item like luxurious jewelry, which often limits the number of visitors due to security concerns. Your goal should be to create an open and welcoming event that can handle the numbers you anticipate. 

In order to make the correct selection, it’s logical to consider where your showcase needs to go. 

  • What size venue will you be appearing at? 
  • Where is your audience?  
  • Venue type & accessibility – too big and you may struggle with certain venues (city centre activations, golf courses, ski resorts) 

Budgeting 

Your budget dictates the scope and quality of your roadshow. Prioritize spending based on your main objectives and audience needs, considering costs from venue hire, staffing costs to emergency funds.  

Knowing how long you are going to be on-site should help you decide what the correct solution is for you. Short-term pop-ups, or pop-ups that are constantly on the move ideally will set up quickly. Not only does a quick set-up increase flexibility and allow you to attend more events each month, a quick set-up with a small team also keeps costs low and makes short-term events more economically viable with a greater liklihood of delivering a positive return on investment.

roadshow marketing strategies

Another consideration is knowing if the roadshow is a short-term endeavor with few events planned in which case it may be more cost-effective to rent rather than purchase. Renting can get you up and running faster and make sure your budget is used wisely. But if you’re in it for the long haul and want equipment that fits your brand like a glove for many shows to come, buying might be your best bet. 

Location Selection 

Hosting your roadshow or event at an appropriate location is a crucial ingredient to success. Many companies under-estimate the importance of researching the venues and checking availability which can ultimately derail the entire roadshow. Many public event spaces need booking well in advance to ensure the paperwork can be finalized. 

How long will you be on site?  

Knowing how long you are going to be on-site should help you decide what the correct solution is for you. 

Short-term pop-ups, or pop-ups that are constantly on the move ideally will set up quickly. Not only does a quick set-up increase flexibility and allow you to attend more events each month, a quick set-up with a small team also keeps costs low and makes short-term events more economically viable. 

Another consideration is access time. Some locations, especially locations in the public domain like train stations, require early load-in times and late departure times. 

However, if you plan on being in a location for a prolonged period, the set-up times become less of a consideration. 

 

Navigating Road Regulations for Successful Event Roadshows 

Jeffreys Transport truck hauling a 'Pulse Expandable Container,' a mobile exhibition trailer, prominently featuring Tesla's signature branding under a clear blue sky

Planning and executing a successful event roadshow requires a deep understanding of various factors, including the basic driving rules in different countries, especially for businesses utilizing heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to transport their roadshow from one location to another. Different countries across Europe have specific regulations that can significantly affect your roadshow schedule. For instance: 

  • France imposes driving restrictions on Heavy Goods Vehicles from 10pm Saturday until 10pm Sunday. This means that if your roadshow relies on HGVs for transportation, scheduling events or moves during these times could result in delays or the need for alternative planning. Learn more about driving regulations in France here. 
  • Germany has regulations that limit HGV driving on public holidays and weekends. Specifically, truck drivers are not permitted to drive on main roads on Saturdays, from 7am to 10pm, and on Sundays, from midnight to 10pm. During July and August, these restrictions are even more stringent to accommodate holiday traffic. 
  • Italy also enforces traffic restrictions for heavy goods vehicles on its roads during the summer’s busiest months. HGV access is limited on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. Additionally, on specific dates in July and August, driving a truck can lead to fines if conducted between 2pm and midnight. 

Content and Interactivity 

Tailor your roadshow content to engage each location’s audience while maintaining a cohesive brand message. Interactive experiences and local speakers can add a unique touch, making your roadshow memorable and engaging. Consider using local heroes or celebrities to give your event an authentic feel, appealing to regional pride and interest. 

A Hyundai Kona Electric First Edition displayed in a custom mobile exhibition unit, offering a sleek peek at eco-friendly automotive innovation under a cloudy sky
Hyundai’s Electric Vehicle, Hyundai Kona
  • Engaging Content: Develop content that resonates with local audiences while maintaining a unified brand message. 

Effective promotion across multiple channels, including social media, email, and local partnerships, is vital. Utilize content series to build anticipation and employ social media to broaden your reach. Localizing content for each city enhances relevance and engagement. Partnerships with local businesses or influencers can amplify your message and add value to your roadshow. 

  • Interactive Elements: Incorporate local speakers and interactive experiences to create a memorable and engaging roadshow. 

Execution, Feedback, and Measurement 

On the day of the event, ensure smooth execution through detailed planning and adaptability. Collect feedback through surveys and social media to gauge attendee satisfaction and areas for improvement. Measuring the success of your roadshow against your initial objectives is crucial. Look at attendance rates, engagement levels, lead generation, and post-event sales to evaluate your roadshow’s impact. 

  • Surveys and social media: Use these tools to gather attendee insights, preferences, and suggestions for improvement. 

Logistical Planning for Roadshow Crews

When conducting a roadshow that spans several months, logistics concerning the accommodation and meals of the driver and crew are crucial for the smooth operation of the event. Typically, arrangements vary based on budget, location, and the scale of the roadshow, but here are common practices: 

Accommodation: 

  • Hotels or Motels: For most roadshows, booking hotels or motels in advance is the standard practice. Organizers often look for accommodations that offer group rates to save on costs. It’s also important to choose hotels that are conveniently located near the roadshow venues to minimize commute times. 
  • Short-term Rentals: Platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo can be an alternative, especially for longer stays in a single location. This option can provide more comfortable and homelike accommodations, which might be preferable for extended periods. 
  • Specialized Crew Lodging: Some companies specialize in providing accommodation solutions for touring crews, offering services that cater specifically to the needs of people working on the road. 

Meals: 

event roadshow

  • Per Diems: It’s common to provide per diems to the crew, which is a daily allowance to cover meals and incidental expenses. This approach offers flexibility, allowing individuals to choose what they eat. 
  • Catering and Meal Plans: In some cases, especially when the schedule is tight, organizers might arrange for catering or meal plans at the venues. This can include working with local restaurants or catering companies to provide meals at the event site or lodging. 
  • Kitchen Facilities: If staying in accommodations with kitchen facilities, the crew may have the option to cook their own meals, which can be a cost-effective and healthier alternative to eating out. 

Travel Logistics: 

  • Transportation: Besides the main roadshow vehicle(s), additional transportation might be arranged for the crew, especially if the lodging is not within walking distance of the venue. 
  • Scheduling: It’s important to schedule adequate breaks and rest days to ensure the well-being of the crew, which can also influence lodging and meal planning. 

The success of a roadshow often depends on the well-being of its crew, so thoughtful planning in these areas is essential. 

Balancing the Pros and Cons of Roadshow Marketing 

A Hyundai Kona Electric First Edition displayed in a transparent exhibition truck unit, offering a sleek peek at eco-friendly automotive innovation under a cloudy sky

Roadshow marketing presents a unique advantage by making your products accessible to audiences in secluded or less urbanized areas, thereby reducing the need for potential customers to travel long distances to a store or showroom. This direct approach not only expands your brand’s geographical reach but also fosters a personal connection with the audience, offering a hands-on experience with your products. Below are additional pros of roadshow marketing, along with a comparison to potential cons: 

  1. Enhanced Accessibility: By bringing products directly to consumers, even in remote areas, roadshows eliminate barriers to access, potentially opening up untapped market segments. 
  2. Personal Engagement: Roadshows allow for face-to-face interactions, creating a more impactful and memorable brand experience compared to digital advertising. This personal touch can lead to stronger customer relationships and loyalty. 
  3. Live Demonstrations: Products can be showcased in action, allowing customers to see the benefits firsthand and ask questions on the spot, which can significantly influence purchasing decisions. 
  4. Immediate Feedback: Interacting directly with consumers provides valuable insights into their perceptions, questions, and objections, offering immediate data that can be used to adjust marketing strategies or product features. 
  5. Brand Differentiation: The effort and investment in roadshows can set a brand apart from competitors, especially in areas with limited exposure to such events, enhancing brand recognition and preference. 

However, every advantage comes with its challenges, and despite the substantial benefits of roadshow marketing, it’s important to consider the associated downsides. If you don’t really get to know your audience, understand what they like or need, and figure out the best way to reach them, there’s a chance your hard work won’t hit the mark. 

Digital Marketing vs Roadshow Marketing

Digital marketing stands out with its ability to reach people all over the world all over the world with its cost-effectiveness, unlike roadshow marketing, which is often held back by geographical limits. One of the key advantages of digital marketing is its cost-effectiveness because digital marketing takes place online, allowing it to have an incredibly wide reach. Even a small local business can find itself attracting customers from other countries through an online presence, something that would be extremely expensive or impossible with traditional marketing methods. This access to a global audience provides numerous opportunities for business growth. 

Side view of a blue mobile exhibition truck with the side panel displaying a transparent showcase of Dell Technologies products including monitors and computers for Dell Tech Rally
A shot from Dell Tech Rally Roadshow in Europe

However, no matter how great digital marketing is, it cannot replicate the tangible experience of interacting with a product in person. This aspect is particularly crucial for high-value items like cars, houses, and even extends to daily essentials such as makeup or shaving cream. For example, even with small items like shaving cream, people often want to smell it before they buy it and with makeup, they like to try it on their skin first to make sure the color matches well. By experiencing products firsthand, consumers can significantly reduce the risks associated with making a purchase. It’s the tactile experience that often finalizes a decision, especially when investing in expensive items. 

Blending Digital and Roadshow Marketing Strategy

Recognizing the irreplaceable value of real-world interactions, even Amazon, arguably the world’s largest online retailer, has acknowledged the importance of physical customer experiences. Despite hosting brands like Samsung, which invests millions in online promotions, Amazon understands the augmentative power of real-life product engagements. In essence, while digital marketing opens vast horizons for reaching and engaging with a broad audience, incorporating physical experiences into a marketing strategy can provide the crucial jet fuel needed to propel campaigns to new heights. This blend of digital and physical touchpoints not only broadens the reach but also deepens the connection with consumers, creating a more holistic and impactful marketing approach. 

Short Checklist To Find The Right Solution For Your Roadshow

Planning a roadshow can be complex, but finding the right solution for your event doesn’t have to be. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure you make the best choice for a successful and impactful showcase. 

1) On-site duration 

Inside the Dell Tech Rally ,a Dell mobile exhibition trailer, visitors engage with the latest Dell Technologies products, exploring a modern, well-equipped mobile computing showcase
The Interior of Dell Tech Rally Roadshow in Europe

Knowing how long you are going to be on-site should help you decide what the correct solution is for you. Short-term pop-ups, or pop-ups that are constantly on the move ideally will set up quickly to keeps costs low and makes short-term events more economically viable. 

2) Space & People 

An event with many attendees you need to host requires a larger solution than a more intimate event with fewer guests. However, the event venue also needs to be factored in to your thinking. 

3) Housing A Vehicle?  

Does your pop-up need to feature a car? This important distinction drives your solution choice. Not needing to house a vehicle opens the door to many more options. The consequence of needing to feature a car inside the pop up will probably lead to a solution which is driven by professional HGV drivers. 

4) Moving Between Continents 

Will your showcase need to be shipped to other continents? If the answer is yes, then ideally, your solution choice is legal in each of the markets in which you want to operate. Most continents have different rules and regulations about chassis requirements. What is legal in the US is not legal in Canada. Chassis from China are not legal in the EU. 

5) Environment & Power 

if you’re operating in a very hot or cold environment with a larger unit you will need multiple AC units. Having multiple AC units has a large power draw which is best served by shorepower (mains electricity). If shorepower is not available then you will need a large generator which may need to be towed separately or hired in from a local hire company near the event venue – the result is increasing cost and greater complexity. If you are promoting a ‘green’ product, like an electric vehicle, do you want the event being powered by a diesel generator? If you want to use a battery pack solution, how will you recharge the batteries? 

6) Urgency & Campaign Length 

 Aston Martin DB10, designed for James Bond, is showcased in a transparent exhibition truck in front of Milan's Duomo
A shot from Aston Martin’s the iconic James Bond’s car

Investing in your own product may make economical sense if you have enough events to deliver. However, if the events are so varied in nature that each event needs a different type of solution perhaps it is worth considering hiring the right solution for that particular event. This also takes away the maintenance and storage considerations as this would be the responsibility of the company you are hiring from. 

7) Retail Transactions & Internet Connectivity 

Will you be using your showcase to financially transact with your guests, for example, selling merchandise or taking deposits? If this is the case then you will probably need a reliable internet solution with a backup. Alternatively, you can use a satellite-based solution like Starlink. Please also remember, some mobile internet providers do not cover certain countries, especially if they are outside of the EU. Overlooking this may mean your showcase lacks internet and the worst-case scenario is that you are unable to transact. 

8) Back-Of-House & Storage 

If you are carrying physical inventory, perhaps merchandise, you need to consider how you are going to replenish your pop-up or where you are going to store your inventory. Are your staff going to be permanently based in the pop-up? Perhaps you need a small back-of-house where your staff can keep their valuables, charge their phone, take a break or make a coffee. 

Case Studies And Examples 

Explore diverse case studies showcasing how dynamic roadshows and mobile showcases are redefining brand engagement and product

1) RS Component  

RS Components is having a technological and educational roadshow in the UK and the roadshow was extremely successful, taking a fully interactive, STEM focused educational  experience to many children and young people across the UK. 

RS Components educational roadshow in the UK exhibition truck showcases technology and aspirations, with vivid astronaut imagery inviting onlookers to dream big

Click here to read RS Component case study 

2) Reebok on Tour 

Reebok has gone to the streets, touring the country with the FUTURIA show-truck and the FUTURIA Boxx manufactured by MOST. Reebok is visiting various events and city centres, presenting their new collection of fitness clothing. 

An interior view of a Reebok FUTURIA mobile exhibition trailer with stylish athletic wear on display

Click here to read Reebok case study 

3) Hyundai Ioniq 5 Roadshow

Hyundai to take their spectacle on the road. By using this versatile space for the ‘IONIQ 5’ launch, Hyundai crafted a “hybrid” experience blending digital and live marketing, allowing customers to engage with their latest innovation both virtually and face-to-face. 

A Hyundai IONIQ 5 is showcased in a Pulse Expandable Exhibition Trailer, framed by delicate cherry blossoms, offering a harmonious blend of innovation and natural beauty

Click here to read Hyundai Ioniq 5 case study 

4) BMW tour in Greece 

Amuse, the official agency for BMW in Greece approached us because they wanted to create an unforgettable launch experience for the all-new BMW X2, taking it on a tour across Greece to introduce this exceptional vehicle to potential customers and BMW car dealers 

the all-new BMW X2, taking it on a tour across Greece displayed in a transparent exhibition truck to introduce this remarkable vehicle to potential customers and BMW car dealers

Click here to read BMW case study 

5) VirtaMed mobile OR 

Showtruck has crafted a mobile operating room for VirtaMed using the InfoWheel, enabling direct product demonstrations to customers. VirtaMed’s range of products, suitable for nearly all medical simulations, is the highlight. Plus, the InfoWheel is so user-friendly that anyone with a Class B driver’s license can drive it. 

A mobile exhibition unit by VirtaMed on display, providing an interactive medical training simulation to an engaged user, combining education with cutting-edge technology on the go

Click here to read VirtaMed case study