The Trade Show Shuffle

So you’re going to be exhibiting at a trade show.

Here are five pre-show pointers to help you maintain your sanity – and get the most bang for your buck:

1. Decide what your objectives are and what are you trying to communicate.
You may only have one opportunity to catch key prospects’ attention, so you need to take the time to figure out how to stand out from the crowd as they walk past dozens of booths? That means having the right message, the right signage and the right collateral in place.

2. Plan ahead – follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be Prepared.”
Visualize everything that will happen and that will need to be done. Order extras of everything: lights, power strips, pens, etc. A new power strip can cost about $3; however, renting one at the event will likely be around $30!

3. Don’t assume anything.
Even if the event is in a major industrialized country, don’t expect that the organizers will provide your booth with electricity! Read the 200-page Exhibitor Manual at least a month in advance to see what the “early bird deadlines” are – and place your orders early. Canceling orders is often free; however ordering late always costs a fortune. If it is your first time exhibiting at a particular show, call the “sponsor coordinator” or “sales liaison” and ask them point-blank, “What do I need to know?” Sure, they’ll probably try to upsell you on the $20,000 dinner sponsorship, but they’ll also provide you with useful information.

4. Before you hit the road, search Google Maps and Yelp for a good local printer.
Invariably, you or one of your colleagues will forget to print their brochures or their sign, and you’ll need a place that can help you in a pinch. Many larger shows have on-site printers, but they tend to be overwhelmed and slow.

5. Bring plenty of clear packaging tape.
Tape comes in handy mounting that last-minute sign the CEO decides is critical, and to package everything up at the end of the show. And at the critical moment when you need tape, you aren’t going to want to spend 15 minutes trying to track it down.

Of course, a good strategic communications partner can do all of this for you, and take a huge load off of your mind so that you can focus on important things, like growing your business.

Do you have any tips to add to our list?
Let us know in the comments below

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