5 Things NOT To Overlook This Trade Show Season

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The spring trade show season is right around the corner. Some of you are gearing up for the grind of non-stop shows until the summer. Others of you are getting ready to make your big annual impact at an important spring event. I have compiled a list of five important things not to overlook that can help those of you from either of these categories, or anywhere in between.

1. Your Exhibit

Remember when Bob fixed the exhibit with duct tape at the last show of the year? Probably not. Be sure to pull your display out, and, at a minimum, make sure you have all of the pieces, but even better, set it all the way up. Get this done before the season gets started; otherwise, your team ends up having to glue and tape its way to an image you did not intend for your company.

2. Your Schedule

Budgets are tight for trade shows. No matter how much you spend, you probably think you should have twice as much. It is also very easy to have some unintended expenses pop up. One great way to save hundreds, and even thousands of dollars annually, is to get all of your show services booked in advance. Almost all shows offer substantial discounts for ordering early. Plan ahead and capitalize.

3. Your Pre-Show Marketing

Your company is one of many at any given show. Knowing that there are a large amount of exhibitors and a short amount of time to see them, most attendees will map out their itinerary before they hit the show floor. Unless you are the 10,000 square foot booth at the entrance of the show, with the cirque du soliel act and foie gras station; without pre-show marketing, it will be tough to divert these attendees from their plotted course.

There are limitless ways to creatively capture attendees attention pre-show (I would be more than happy to help you come up with one). The simplest place to start is running an email blast or direct mail campaign to at least get on the attendees’ radar.

4. Your Message

Everyone from CEOs to marketing assistants are staffing booths these days. Each person’s knowledge of the company and products differs. Make sure your booth staff is meeting ahead of the show to go over the message that needs to be delivered. Also, determine who will be delivering the different aspects of that message. If Sarah helped develop the new product, let her be the expert on it. Have Jim handle the old product, that he has sold for twenty years. This exercise goes a long way in helping determine the right booth staff, making booth flow efficient and increasing the overall effectiveness of the show.

5. Your Leads

98% of companies collect leads at trade shows. What happens next varies. Take a look at this infographic from the 2010 Sales Lead Survey conducted by Exhibitor Magazine:


Make sure you have a plan to handle the leads that come in, to ultimately validate participation at a particular show.

In my position, I am dealing with all of the above on a daily basis with clients, but recognize that not everyone else is, so I wanted to pass along what insight I could to help aide all of you with a great spring trade show season. Best of luck!

Author: Chase Howells

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