» Trade Show Toolbox

“Order Takers” Vs. Impression Makers

tradeshowtoolsHere’s a secret trade show exhibit companies don’t want you to know:  A lot of them are order takers.

What does that mean? Their goal is to get the trade show booth design process over as quickly as possible, without thinking too hard. So they “work out of the book.” They recommend a suite of products made by a single manufacturer, so they can order all the pieces of your trade show exhibit at once. Backwall, counter, lightboxes, done.

There’s one problem with the order-taking approach. Your trade show booth design can end up looking exactly like everyone else’s. It says as much about your company as your lunch sandwich says about you. » Read More

Bringing a Trade Show Approach to Retail Design

tradeshowtoolsMany companies think of their trade show booth and their retail or showroom space as completely separate. Makes sense, right? One is temporary, one is permanent. One is made of fabric and frames; the other is drywall and concrete.

The truth is, they’re more alike than different. Both are branded environments, where the visual elements reflect your brand’s mission and personality. And the design principles that we use for trade show booth design also apply to your permanent space. The goal is the same, after all: To seize customers’ attention and inspire them to buy.

Building branded environments is a big part of what FrontLine Exhibits does. We provide the concepting, layout design, project management, custom flooring and fixtures utilizing a wide range of materials, and retail graphics. » Read More

Your Trade Show Marketing Timeline

tradeshowtoolsWhen should your trade show marketing begin?

Not a week before. Not three weeks before.

Two months before the show. That’s when savvy marketers begin reaching out to prospects to lay the groundwork. The goal, explains Chase Howells, FrontLine Exhibits’ Senior Account Manager, is to “try to win people before they ever hit the floor.” Attendees have a list of must-see companies and people, and here’s how you can get onto that list. » Read More

Debriefing a Bad Trade Show Experience


tradeshowtoolsA bad trade show experience feels uncomfortably like an awkward middle-school mixer. You’re all dressed up and ready to make a connection, but no one’s even looking at you — let alone asking you to dance.

When an event goes poorly, treat it as an opportunity to analyze and hone your trade show strategy so you can succeed next time. The key is always, always collecting quantitative data about each trade show experience: not only the number of leads but the number of brand impressions, the close rate, the sales value of each lead and the cost of attending, including all travel, personnel and exhibit expenses. Then, analyze your numbers and your own observations to figure out where things went wrong. » Read More

Should You Choose a Lounge-Style Trade Show Booth?

tradeshowtoolsGet ‘em in. Get ‘em out.

That’s the approach that many trade show booths take. They try to attract as many show attendees as possible with a drink or free swag, then move them along. But is that strategy working for you?

Recently, we’ve had multiple clients redesign their trade show booths to get rid of the wet bar and add a lounge area. They figured out that they could have more meaningful encounters with prospects by inviting them to linger, instead of plying them with drinks.

It’s easy to add a lounge to your trade show booth, for minimal cost. Rent comfortable furniture, such as a few sofas or upholstered chairs arranged around coffee tables. Don’t forget the lighting, which can create a warm and inviting feel. Set up easily accessible charging stations, and you’re ready to go. The goal is to create a space that draws in weary show attendees and provides an opportunity for a low-pressure sales conversation. But this approach isn’t for everyone. First, ask yourself these questions.

 1. Who’s your audience? 

We always say there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for trade show booth design. You have to know your target audience, then adapt the booth for them. For example, if you’re attending a trade show for the travel or foodservice industries, then hospitality is the name of the game. Your space should be welcoming and inviting, and a lounge design can be a good fit.

 2. What are your trade show goals?

If you want people to linger so that you can strike up conversations, a lounge-style trade show booth design works well. But if you need to funnel hundreds a day through your booth, you don’t want people sitting around — attendees or salespeople. You need all hands on deck. Or, if your primary goal is to woo a select handful of prospects, a private meeting room or cocktail hour might be a better option.

3. What type of lounge looks like your brand?

“Lounge” doesn’t have to mean big, cushy couches. In fact, many attendees prefer a counter with bar stools, where they can linger and charge their devices but can also make a quick getaway, if needed. Your lounge can resemble a living room, a lobby, a café or a club — whatever best fits your brand.

Curious to see how a lounge could fit into your trade show booth? Just give us a call, and we’ll talk about the options.

Should You Become a Certified Trade Show Marketer?


If you’re a nurse or a teacher, you need official certification. If you’re a barista or a kickboxing instructor, you don’t. So what about marketing? It’s possible to become officially certified as a trade show marketer, but it’s not an easy process. Here’s our take. » Read More

Three Ways to Freshen Your Trade Show Booth Design


Stylists say you should always accessorize with one statement piece: a bright scarf, an unusual pendant, a chunky ring. The same wisdom applies to trade show booth design — instead of always showing up with the exact same display, why not freshen your look a little.

We’ve talked about how you know it’s time to invest in a new trade show display. But sometimes you don’t need an entirely new display; you just want to tailor your messaging for a particular event. Here are a few ways to do it: » Read More

Creating Outdoor Event Displays That Get Noticed


Here in Richmond, Va., where FrontLine Exhibits is headquartered, everyone loves big, splashy outdoor events. There’s the hugely popular Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. There’s Dominion Riverrock, the nation’s largest outdoor sports and music festival. There’s the Richmond Folk Festival, a free three-day celebration of food and music from around the world that draws around 125,000 people. We could go on and on. But just because an event is popular, does that mean you need to show up? The short answer: Yes. Here’s why these events are great for your brand. » Read More

Trade Show ROI: Do You Really Need to Go to Every Show?


In the middle of the busy trade show season, some marketers have a life-changing epiphany. “Why am I here?” they ask themselves, staring at the crowded (or not-so-crowded) convention hall around them. “Do I need to be here? What’s the point?”

These are excellent questions to ask. Often, trade shows simply become traditions, and years go by without any scrutiny of the reasons for going and the real trade show ROI. So is it worth it? Here are five more questions to ask that will help you determine the answer. » Read More

The Benefits of 3D Trade Show Exhibit Design


Time equals quality, we tell our clients.

With a short two-week lead time before your show, we can deliver a basic pop-up display. Give us four weeks, and we can produce a show-stopping booth design that brilliantly reflects your brand.

However, we know that it’s not always easy to get internal approvals for a new booth, especially if it’s custom-made. That’s why FrontLine Exhibits uses CAD to produce detailed 3D renderings of our more complex booth designs, so you can see everything before you buy. » Read More