We’ve heard it a million times- “we always do it this way.” Just because you’ve been doing something the same way for years, or decades, even, doesn’t mean that it’s correct. In fact, it could fall into one of the trade show exhibitor mistakes we see at nearly every trade show. People aspire to obtain the very best ROI and to increase sales, but if they’re committing typical trade show exhibitor mistakes, they could be inadvertently undermining ROI successes. This is why we’ve compiled a list of common trade show exhibitor mistakes and how to avoid them. Whether your brand is new to exhibiting, or has been at hundreds of shows, it’s worth a review to ensure you’re on the right side of growing that ROI.
Trade Show Exhibitor Mistakes and Layout Dilemmas
We recently had someone ask us if they could fit twenty-seven demo stations into their trade show display. Huh? Say again? In a 20×20 trade show exhibit, twenty-seven demo stations is certainly chief among trade show exhibitor mistakes. Instead of packing the booth full of clutter, it’s better to take a more balanced approach and see what kind of design you can achieve with one or two demo stations instead of twenty-seven. Ultimately, common sense on the part of our design team talked them out of committing one of the most egregious of trade show exhibitor mistakes. Don’t clutter your layout with these kinds of requests. Ask yourself if there’s enough space to enter the booth space, if there’s enough open space to accommodate people actually entering and staying for a while to take a demo or talk to your trade show booth staff. Certainly, bounce ideas off of your Designer and Account Executive, but don’t get too married to trade show exhibitor mistakes only to find out later that you were very wrong.
Trade Show Exhibitor Mistakes and Overextending Yourself
We all want to look like the big man on the block and replicate industry giants such as Microsoft, Polaroid, Kodak, and McLanahan. The reality is that we’re not all in that position to afford that. Instead, it’s one of the more common trade show exhibitor mistakes to overextend oneself. Just because you have a budget of one hundred thousand dollars doesn’t mean that’s all you can spend on a trade show exhibit. Instead, you need to factor in the cost of the booth space, travel and accommodations for your team, show services, installation and dismantling and the trade show exhibit itself. When you add that all up, you might only realistically have about forty thousand dollars to spend or you might be committing another one of the common trade show exhibitor mistakes we see by going all in on only one thing and not taking the rest into account. Take a step back and take a measured, realistic view of what your brand can and can’t afford to do.
Trade Show Exhibitor Mistakes and Giveaways
When done right, giveaways can be a strong draw to trade show attendees to approach one trade show booth over another. But when done poorly, they can be among the more annoying trade show exhibitor mistakes. Your giveaway should be able to fit inside your trade show booth space, not spilling across the aisle and blocking other exhibitors. It should also be something that doesn’t require you to pay a penalty because you didn’t read the show guidelines in advance of exhibiting. Want to give out ice cream bars as a reward for some kind of game? Did you read the exhibitor guidelines stating all food must be ordered through show services or you’ll pay a penalty? Suddenly, that ten-dollar case of two hundred ice cream bars from Costco cost you three thousand dollars. These kinds of rookie trade show exhibitor mistakes are frustrating, not only to your own company, but often those around you as you’re forced to deal with the inevitable consequences. Again, plan your giveaways carefully to avoid negative consequences.
Trade Show Exhibitor Mistakes and Poor Messaging
How you present yourself on the trade show floor with the design of your trade show exhibit is as important as the messaging you convey to trade show attendees. One of the easiest trade show exhibitor mistakes to rectify is poor messaging. People should be able to take a brief look at your exhibit and determine what it is that you do or the products you produce. If it’s confusing, cluttered, and your brand isn’t prominent, you’ll likely lose prospects to competitors. Don’t make this mistake when it’s so easy to prevent. Clarify your messaging before you hit the trade show floor. If it takes your trade show booth staff twenty minutes to describe your brand, that’s far too long. You’ve already lost your prospects’ attention. Sayonara.
When it comes to avoidable trade show exhibitor mistakes, these are only a few of the more common ones we see at literally every trade show across the globe. No matter how experienced a brand, they may be inadvertently making these trade show exhibitor mistakes and missing opportunities. Set yourself up for success instead and shine on the trade show floor.