Trade Shows – A list of “Dont’s” for your Trade Show Display!

When it comes to making a company’s presence known, a series of great trade show displays can be an excellent way to create buzz, raise visibility, and generate leads. Properly utilized, they can be a huge boost for any firm. However, there are also a lot of common mistakes that can lead to wasting a lot of money or creating under-performing booths.SAMSUNG

Since the goal of all good trade show displays is to make the best possible impression on as many visitors as possible, here are some important things to avoid when planning one:

1) Don’t… forget to do some homework. Not all trade shows are created equal. There’s a definite pecking order to them in any industry, and information such as attendance rates and past highlights should be easy to obtain. A good display starts with good planning, so attendees should research the show beforehand to get an idea of what to expect.

2) Don’t… neglect the interior design. There’s more to the design of a trade show booth than just banner displays and a TV in the corner. The best booth layouts focus on being open and inviting. They create a space that people want to visit. It’s often worth spending a little extra for comfortable chairs, nice display stands. Plan the design so that it doesn’t feel cluttered, but simply well-planned.

3) Don’t… go too big. It’s really not necessary to have the biggest and most ornate trade show displays on the floor. If one is too far over-the-top, it can be disconcerting for visitors, or make it seem like the display is “bullying” its neighbors. Plus, over-designing for a small show can turn the venture into a net loss. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to shoot for being a bit better than your neighbors, but not so big it seems ostentatious by comparison.

4) Don’t… have generic freebies. Everyone knows the value of having good swag at a booth, and it’s not something to be neglected if it’s within the budget. However, what’s the point of a bottle of water or a keyring? Those will be forgotten before the visitor leaves the show. The trick is to make the items unique, distinctive, and relevant to the business. A doctor’s office giving away pens that work like hypodermic needles, for example, or a consulting firm giving away branded toy puzzles would be good examples. (“Nothing is unsolvable at ABC Consulting!”)


5) Don’t… send the staff in unprepared. This is more important than many people realize. Staff doing the meet-and-greet at a trade show are going to have to learn how to get their company’s message across in an extremely short amount of time, while still feeling natural and unscripted. Employees might think it seems silly, but doing some practice runs beforehand can be a great way to prepare them for the actual experience.

6) Don’t… ignore those contacts. People setting up trade show displays should keep in mind that their visitors are getting bombarded by a huge amount of information in a short amount of time. Unless a staff member truly impresses them, they likely won’t remember any particular display by the next day. Any promising leads should be followed up ASAP while the lead still has enough memory of the expo to remember which business was which.

In short, most of what makes for good trade show displays involves clear-headed planning and foresight. The best trade show displays are always those where time and care have been spent on giving them a purpose and making sure they live up to it.

Another  common and easily fixable mistake is hiding behind your trade show furniture. For more things to keep an eye on, check out our article on crippling trade show mistakes.

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