Exhibit Design Search | Smarter Trade Shows / Trade Show and Event Tips / Getting Started /
4 Basic Trade Show Marketing Tips
Baby Steps are Fine
Someone in your company agreed to participate in an industry trade show. Now it's your responsibility to ensure it's successful. Where do you start? Below are some basic tips about trade show marketing. Are you going to stumble? Perhaps... but planning and careful execution will keep that to a bare minimum.
1. What are some basic tips you would suggest for a business going to their first trade show?
Even if you majored in marketing, you probably learned diddly squat about trade show marketing. Which is sad since trial and error is very, very expensive at a trade show or event. My advice is to work with a professional, or at the very least, consult with colleagues who have gone through the process several times. Trade show success isn't hard -- if you know what you are doing and have done it repeatedly. In the end, it comes down to experience, planning, and flawless execution.
2. What advice would you have for a business that spends a lot of time at trade shows?
Plan. Too often, companies treat trade shows like a last minute vacation. Successful trade show marketing requires pre-show planning and promotion, staff training, and post-show follow-up -- at a minimum. Attendees no longer just arrive. They decide who to visit based on research and company needs before they arrive at the show hall. Gone are the days when attendees would meander through the show hall. They identify who they want to see and spend time at those companies. It's rare that attendees “discover” a new vendor at a show (which is why pre-show marketing is critical).
First, decide on your goals for the show, which can change from show to show. What is your key message? What problem are you solving? What do you need? A large monitor? An iPad? Literature trays? Product shelves? There’s nothing wrong with starting small if your graphic is appealing and the message clear. Finally, ensure the graphic is designed by someone who understands trade show graphics. Trade show graphics are very different from a magazine ad or a website, and most graphic designs are unfamiliar with trade shows. Most importantly, work with an exhibit design professional, i.e., someone with a history of successful clients not just a history of exhibit sales. Over the long run, the real cost of a trade show is not the display, which is fixed, but everything else -- travel, meals, pre-show marketing, booth space, drayage, and salaries. Those costs can be managed with careful planning.
4. How is a trade show different from doing business in a brick-and-mortar location in terms of the way employees interact with potential customers?
You may find this surprising. Except for the venue, it’s not really different. It’s as simple as having knowledgeable people who have solid sales and customer service skills in your booth, including senior management when possible. Greet visitors, listen, ask open-ended questions, and document the answers. Don’t drink coffee in the booth, eat, or text, or read email. All the things you would tell someone working at a typical retail store. In the end, it’s about getting to the booth on time, approaching people, and being friendly and honest. Dress appropriately, keep the workspace organized and tidy, and act professional. A trade show is not a vacation. It’s your job so arrive sober, polish your shoes, and iron your clothes. One last suggestion -- Never ever check your smartphone in the booth. You might as well be picking your nose. It sends the same message -- Go Away! Have questions? Send me an email or call. I promise to give you more than my "bare minimum."
For more information about trade shows or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next show.
Classic Exhibits Inc.
Add designs and photos to your personal gallery simply by clicking on the +My Gallery links
Then email your "My Gallery" to colleagues, friends, or your favorite exhibit designer. There's no better way to begin designing a display that reflects your exhibit marketing goals.
Note: My Gallery uses a temporary browser cookie to store your gallery. We recommend that you send your gallery to your email address if you need to retain it for longer than 30 days.
- Production lead times are based on business days and DO NOT include any shipping days.
- Production-ready artwork (when applicable) must accompany the order confirmation. Delays in uploading artwork may lead to expedited charges or shipping changes.
- No order will be released to Production without a signed order confirmation.
- Shipping is based on the availability of materials and graphics. Additional charges may apply if materials or graphics must be expedited.
- Shorter lead times may be available based on schedule openings in Customer Service and Production. Rush charges may apply.
- Standard lead times do not apply to orders of multiple quantities.
- Please check for product availability on ALL RENTAL exhibits.
- Dimensional Weight vs. Actual Weight: Dimensional weight is defined as crate or case size. On most air shipments, the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight
- Portable Cases vs. Wood Crates or Molded Tubs (where applicable): Exhibit designs that require one wood crate would require multiple portable cases. Selecting one vs. the other affects the total weight (dimensional or actual).
- Freight Carrier: LTL carriers (Less than Truckload) quote freight based on space used. UPS, FedEx, and air freight carriers quote freight based on either the dimensional or the actual weight of the shipment.
- Freight Service Level (number of days): Service levels range from Same Day Delivery to Two Week Delivery.
- Inline vs. Island Displays
- Lead Retrieval Devices
- Computer and Monitor Cables
- Demo Equipment
- Overhead Lighting
- Grommets and Grommet Placement in Counters
- Overhead vs. Floor Power Supply
- Flooring and Electrical Wiring
- Options for Hiding Cords and Cables
- Flat vs. Round Electrical Cords
- Multi-Plug Outlets and Extension Cords