Great Research Makes For Great Trade Show Displays

When planning your trade show displays, you can get far more mileage out of them if you do some research beforehand. We touched on this in a previous blog, when we discussed the use of customer profiles in determining how your trade show booths are set up. The more you know about the show and who’s going to be there, the more accurately you can design your tradeshow booth.

After all, in some ways, the business world is like being back in college. If you do your homework well, it’ll pay off. Here are some areas you should look into, to get the most out of your trade show exhibits:


Know The Trade Show

Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to gather intelligence about the trade shows you’ll be attending. There are numerous sources online, such as at, that compile reports and reviews of past trade shows. By learning more about the history of the trade show you’re attending, you’ll have a better idea of who’s going to attend (businesses, consumers, adults, kids and families, etc.) and what their expectations are going to be.

A few questions to ask:

  • What was the attendance for the last few years? (Look for trends.)

  • How many trade show displays are generally set up?

  • How large were the booths?

  • What sort of budget did those display stands have?

  • What response (if any) did visitors have to prior shows?

Know Your Competition

Obviously, at a trade show you’re competing with a lot of different booths for peoples’ attention. However, some of those trade show booths are going to be more direct competitors than others. When you’re researching the past records of your trade show, look to see which companies seem to attend the show on a regular basis. Which of these are the ones you feel are most directly competing with you?

Once you’ve got that, you can start digging into their own histories a bit more closely. Some of this information might not be readily available, but in general, if you get an idea of what to expect from your competition, you can design your display to be more appealing, or to target visitors that they are not.

  • How large of a display do they tend to have?

  • Did reviewers seem satisfied with what they have on offer?

  • What sort of promotional items did they give out?

  • Were they focused on displaying real products, or giving out information?

  • Did they go “high tech” – like LiveTweets and thumbdrives – or was it strictly product displays and brochures?


Know Yourself

Finally, think about your own trade show history. Try to be as brutally honest as possible. How successful have your previous trade show displays been, in terms of satisfied visitors and profitable leads generated? Take any feedback you received on your display, and truly take it into account. If you did things that your visitors responded well to, keep it up! There’s no reason to fix what ain’t broken, as they say. But don’t hold onto anything that didn’t play well to the crowd.

You might consider doing some research at your booth. Obviously, you don’t want to pester visitors with an extensive survey, but if you gather some basic information about why they’re there and what they think of your display, that can give you invaluable insights on how to make next year’s booth even better.

In short, building great trade show displays is tricky, but if you do your research beforehand, you can make your life much easier.   Don’t just take a shot in the dark – try to make your decision as well-informed as possible, to make a trade show display that truly appeals to your prospective clientele.

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