Whether your brand is an old hand at exhibiting or new to the trade show circuit, there are a number of tried and true adages that exhibitors adhere to. Why? Because they want people to know their trade show exhibit exists and they want people to drop by their trade show exhibit, whether they intended to or not. In the following list, see if you’re committing any of the following trade show exhibit do’s and don’ts:
Do: Market Your Trade Show Exhibit In Advance
You’d be surprised how many companies wait until the last minute to let anyone know that they’ll be exhibiting at a trade show. Some companies wait until the month of, some wait until a week before, and some start early with plenty of time to roll out a comprehensive targeted marketing campaign to interest people in a variety of channels. We’re all different with different sized Marketing or Trade Show Management departments but if your company is last minute, you could be missing out on appointments with industry influencers, meeting with key clients at your trade show exhibit, and attracting new leads to your trade show exhibit.
We all know marketing is incredibly important to a business and should not be left out of the trade show strategy. It is one of the most important elements of a comprehensive trade show strategy in order to attract the right people to a business’ trade show exhibit and fill the trade show booth with people eager to learn more about a company’s goods and services. Consider a kick off meeting at least 6-8 months in advance, designing your trade show exhibit with your exhibit house partner, and then strategically targeting multiple channels to expose your company to the most number of attendees, clients, and competition.
Don’t: Forget to Train Your Trade Show Exhibit Staff
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is failing to train their staff. Often, what happens is the closer it gets to a show, the CEO, or Sales Director says we need a huge presence and pulls a variety of people from across the company to staff the trade show exhibit. These people live and breathe your product, so what could go wrong? Plenty.
Many people aren’t suited towards being outgoing and gregarious at a trade show in order to pull people into the trade show exhibit. Many more people shouldn’t be there because they’re hourly employees and run the company the risk of labor claims if their hours and overtime aren’t properly calculated while out of town at a trade show. And many more people seem to serve no function other than standing there like a deer in the headlights. To curb this expense and failure of reaching key people at a trade show, it’s important to choose your trade show booth staff carefully and train them how to approach people, how to provide deeper information, and how to avoid being anything more than a useless expense or labor claim in the making.
Do: Work on a Trade Show Exhibit Design that Stands Out from the Crowd
One of the chief complaints we hear while at trade shows is the regret of companies who worked with the show services contractor. They often voice concerns that their trade show exhibit looks so-so, they are subject to extraordinary post-show billing, and their exhibit looks like they’re amateurs in the space. This isn’t the impression a company wants to make on the trade show floor. Instead, companies want to stand out from their competitors with unique designs, bold graphics, and a quality brand experience. There are so many options available to companies who like to work ahead of time that they can take advantage of early bird pricing, wow factors, and guaranteed billing without a post-show bill.
Don’t: Attend a Trade Show Without Clear KPI’s
Trade shows can be expensive. It’s no secret that a trade show booth space itself can run thousands of dollars before even obtaining a trade show exhibit. With so much invested in this part alone, consider the additional costs of staff travel and accommodations, marketing costs, and any events that your company will be hosting for clients, prospects, or leads. This can all add up to be something that is over the top expensive and can shut small to mid-size businesses down if they’re not careful. Instead, in your company’s initial trade show kick off meeting, develop clear KPI’s and measurements of success that can inform your company of how to proceed in future trade shows. Knowing these in advance can curtail runaway expenses and focus the team on gleaning real value from the trade show itself.
There are a variety of do’s and don’ts associated with trade shows. Whether your company has had a trade show exhibit before or is new to the idea of exhibiting, it’s helpful to put these into perspective and think more about the results of your efforts. With a little thoughtfulness and strategy, your company can be among the top exhibitors at the next trade show.