» Trade Show Toolbox

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

How Do You Know It’s Time for a New Trade Show Display?


  • You’re waiting in line at Busch Gardens when staff announce that they’re shutting down the roller coaster temporarily. You refuse to leave the line, because you’ve already spent an hour waiting.
  • You spent way too much on a designer cocktail dress for your cousin’s wedding back in 2008. Even though you know you’ll never wear it again, you can’t bear to give it away.
  • Your trade show display is looking a little tired, but you want to use it for a few more seasons. After all, it cost a lot to have it custom-built for the company — seven years ago.

These are all examples of sunk cost fallacy: the habit of considering past, irrecoverable costs when you’re trying to make decisions for the future. It’s an emotional habit, not a logical one, but it’s tough to fight. We see it all the time when clients are weighing the pros and cons of replacing their trade show booth. Here are three signs it’s definitely time for a new trade show display. » Read More

Trade Show Shipping: Advance Warehouse Vs. Show Site


When trade show deadlines are looming and there’s no room for error, you face a tough decision: Should you ship your trade show display directly to the show site, or to the advance warehouse?

On the face of it, show-site shipping sounds like the smart choice. Why not get your display to where it needs to be as quickly as possible? It may also be cheaper — at least on paper. But it’s rarely the best choice, and here’s why.

Most marketers picture show-site shipping like this: the truck carrying your display pulls up to the loading dock at the convention center and unloads the case. A brawny installation team whisks it onto the show floor, where you find it perfectly assembled upon your arrival the next day. Voilá.

That’s kind of how it works — but multiply it by a hundred, and you start to see the problem. Your shipper may have to wait for hours in a snaking line of trucks before he can offload your display onto the dock. While you thought you were saving $5 per hundred pounds by choosing show-site shipping, the driver is charging you $50 per hour as he waits. We’ve even seen shippers leave when convention centers get really jammed, because they have other deadlines and they can’t afford to wait. And if your trade show display arrives late, it can take hours to get it assembled on the floor. A lengthy delay, whether due to weather or other hiccups in trade show logistics, means you’ll be standing in a blank space when the show begins.

Advance warehouse shipping, on the other hand, helps the general service contractors keep everything organized. Everything can be stored and staged at the off-site warehouse, then brought over to the convention hall at just the right time.

Why don’t more trade show attendees opt for advance warehouse shipping, then? One word: deadlines. Most large shows have a warehouse deadline that’s one to two weeks before the show. After that, there’s a window when the warehouse still accepts shipments but charges additional fees. In the final accounting, you can save 20 to 30 percent if you get your display created and shipped by the show’s advance deadline — and we can help. Call us today to discuss your trade show display needs, and we’ll talk about how we can expedite the design and approval process so you’re ahead of the game.

How to Choose the Best Trade Show Giveaways


One question we get more than any other is this: What are the best trade show giveaways? Our clients want to know what special items will delight their clients and make theirs the most popular booth at the show.

Here’s the problem: This is the wrong question to ask. There’s no one-size-fits-all, perfect giveaway. People hand out pens and T-shirts all day, “but does that really help your brand equity?” asks Senior Account Manager Chase Howells. “You’re also attracting people who are absolutely not going to buy your product.”

To discover the best trade show giveaway for your company and your clients, you first have to figure out your specific objective. Are there 10 specific people at the trade show whom you need to impress? Is your goal to court 50 new prospects? Or do you simply want to raise brand awareness? Once you know exactly who you’re trying to reach and what your marketing goals are, we can work together on a targeted giveaway campaign. Here are a few examples of effective, unique trade show giveaways: one for a large audience, and one for a small pool.

 1. Introducing a new product to a broad audience

One of our travel-industry clients was launching a new product, and the marketing team wanted to make sure prospects would come to their booth to learn about it. Our client requested a unique promotion that would drive attendees to their booth.

We designed a custom kiosk that had a door with a hotel lock and an iPad on view inside. Knowing that many people plan their booth visits ahead of time, we placed a branded hotel keycard in the registration bag for all attendees, along with an invitation to try their card at the booth. If the card unlocked the door, they won the iPad. Curiosity drove traffic, and the innovative presentation sparked conversations with potential clients.

2. Arranging meetings with a handful of high-value prospects

A client who renovates luxury apartment developments identified a few dozen prospects they really, really wanted to meet during the show. Knowing their target audience well, they selected a giveaway that would be a sure hit: expensive bottles of scotch. But simply handing out pricey gifts isn’t enough. What if the prospects grabbed their bottles and left?

We developed a concept that added value to the already-valuable giveaway and ensured the prospects would linger. Before the trade show, the client delivered keys with silver keychains, each one engraved with the prospect’s name, along with hand-signed, formal invitations to come to the booth. There, the prospects discovered a bank of apartment-style mailboxes with their scotch waiting inside. This giveaway was memorable, effective, and helped build lasting relationships — which is exactly what the best trade show giveaways do.

Trade Show Planning: One Tip for Saving Thousands (And Your Sanity)

tradeshowtoolsWhen it comes to trade shows, the best-laid plans of marketers go oft awry. Just when you’re breathing a relieved sigh that you hit your deadlines, a freak snowstorm delays your booth shipment by two days. The best-case scenario is that your display arrives at the advance warehouse in time for the show, but you pay an additional $30-per-100-pound handling fee. The worst-case scenario is that your booth space is empty. Then, “you would be up a creek, really, without even a boat,” as Crystal Knispel, FrontLine Exhibits’ production manager, puts it. » Read More