trade show displays

Get Inspired at Your Next Tradeshow

Get tradeshow inspiration by walking the floor at your next trade show

At every trade show we attend, we take time out for a little competitive review. We walk the floor with our clients, checking out their rivals so we can counter claims if necessary and best them experience-wise the next time around. (Though often we find that we’re the ones doing the besting – not to brag, but we know how to trade show.)

Of course it’s important to keep up with the competition, but that’s not the main reason we spend so much time looking at the work of others. We make sure to see everything on the show floor, even—and especially—booths for companies that have nothing to do with our clients’ products or services. Because the best ideas are sometimes found in the most unlikely places.

Inspiration is everywhere if you look with the right eyes. Here’s how to find ideas as you wander the aisles at your next trade show.

Notice what catches your eye.

A good booth captures your attention from a distance. Good branding at a good height is essential, but what else makes you want to approach and enter? Observe the use of color and lighting, the way various architectural pieces are configured. Are there any concepts you could incorporate into your next booth?

Look for great storytelling.

Perhaps it’s a fun theme, or an appeal to the visitor’s emotions. Or maybe it’s a great flow that takes people on a journey through the benefits of a product. Exhibitors vary in their sensitivity to letting other exhibitors tour their booths, so you might not be able to view presentations and other storytelling pieces in-depth, but you can often see a lot from the aisle. You’re not looking to steal an idea outright, you’re learning techniques for telling your own stories in more compelling ways.

Study how other exhibitors engage crowds and individuals.

Is there a pre-set flow? Do they have brand ambassadors actively welcoming people into the space? Are there live presentations and demos? What elements of the experience are people interacting with, and which pieces are sitting untouched? Find the booths that are packed and see if you can discover their special sauce. Then build on those ideas to whip up your own winning recipe.

Watch what they’re wearing.

If you suspect your team needs a more cohesive, snappy look, then check out what other exhibitors are doing to put their best folks forward. From matching polos and blazers to themed costumes, you’re sure to find lots of options to repurpose.

Take names.

If there’s a virtual reality game you love, or a presentation that’s especially well done, don’t be shy about asking after the agency/vendor that created it. Assuming the exhibitor isn’t a direct competitor, they will probably be happy to share, and you can explore bringing a bit of that magic to your next exhibiting opportunity.

Want more inspiration for your next trade show exhibit? Then give our team at MPG a call.

Exhibitors: Avoid These 5 Common Trade Show Mistakes

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A new trade show exhibit can be a huge investment. The last thing you want is an oversight that could create a less-than-WOW experience for your guests, or stand in the way of ROI.

We’ve seen a lot of successes when it comes to trade show experience design. We’ve also navigated our share of challenges. If you’re considering a new trade show exhibit, then plan to avoid these 5 common mistakes.

1. Not reserving enough space — Sometimes you need to lock in booth space before you have a firm exhibit design and strategy. And space can be a tempting area for cost-cutting. But we have worked too many shows where the booth felt cramped and our clients weren’t able to execute new activities as well as they’d like, simply due to lack of space. And trade shows often have strict rules about experiences spilling into the aisles. When in doubt, go bigger. That extra 10 feet will pay you back in flexibility and a better guest experience.

2. Unclear agency brief — The brief is our Bible, so give it extra attention. Provide clear objectives and criteria for success. Lay out messaging musts. Clearly delineate the roles of any partner agencies. Let us know what assets exist and who’s responsible for providing them. Don’t be afraid to ask your agency for help with the brief. A good brief is vital to creating an outstanding, on-equity experience with maximum efficiency.

3. Not staffing with your A-team — A beautiful trade show booth is just a hollow shell if the people inside it stand like lumps, waiting for attendees to come to them. Even if you’ve hired a company like Moening Presentation Group to craft an amazing experience using professional talent, it all falls flat if your company reps aren’t ready to step up, engage, and close the deal. Trade shows require a special kind of personality and stamina, so be choosy with your internal staff. Or follow the lead of some of our biggest clients and hire professional sales hosts.

4. Not following up on leads — We see this too often: An outstanding experience brings tons of qualified leads to the booth, then those leads languish on a spreadsheet, in someone’s email, or—worse—in a booth crate. Building and creating new relationships is a trade show exhibit’s raison d’etre, so keep up the momentum and reach out to visitors who’ve shown they’re open to hearing from you. Good lead-management programs can help. Or simply assign someone to filter and distribute leads after each show. Then, make sure your team is committed to the all-important follow-through!

5. Not documenting the experience — A video recap is a must-have in your measurement arsenal. It’s all about capturing the excitement for leadership and other stakeholders who couldn’t attend the trade show. Showcase all major aspects of the booth experience, and be sure to interview attendees for raves. Weave in the results you’ve measured to demonstrate ROI, and you’ve got a powerful sales tool that can help ensure your trade show marketing program continues.

MPG followers, what are some common trade show mistakes you’ve encountered?

Trade Show Booth Tips: Exhibits That Go Beyond Expectations

Your trade show booth is your company’s home and identity when you’re on the road. It’s how prospective customers experience your brand and, depending on the show and the size of your booth, it’s no small investment. So you want to make sure your trade show booth does all it can do for you. Here are some tips for creating displays that leave a lasting impression.

Good trade show booth design brings a company’s brand promise to life, while cutting through the clutter of a busy show floor.

Invest in good design. “A brand experience is the promise of the brand on the show floor; it has to look like you,” says Gino Pellegrini, President of InterGlobal Exhibits. “Having a good designer on board really makes a difference. Anybody can cram in your programming needs and slap on your brand colors. But a great trade show booth needs a soul.”

A good designer also will make sure your trade show exhibit communicates quality in the details. Lighting, fabrication, and reproduction of graphics—it’s easy to assume attendees won’t notice, but they do. “Sometimes companies want to have lots of structure, instead of going more simple and focusing the budget to make less with more quality,” Pellegrini says. “Level of detail is important.”

Make it easy to find. Trade show real estate is like all real estate—location is key. Study the floor plan and think about traffic flow. Which spots give your booth the best visibility? It’s worth spending a little more to make sure your booth is seen. Take a look at your signage as well. Too often, we see booths with graphics that are too low or don’t prominently feature a company’s name and/or logo. You want attendees to be able to pick you out immediately when they scan the busy show floor. If it fits your branding and overall booth design, then raise those banners high!

Fill it with engaging activities. We’ve seen too many trade show booths, big and small, that feature little more than signage and a counter behind which stand bored-looking sales staff. There’s really no excuse for that considering all of the options available these days. Hire an engaging professional to conduct can’t-miss product demos. Give an interactive live presentation—these work well in big or small spaces. Video backup will help provide visual interest while a professional presenter engages and educates the crowd. Check out our 6 presentation ideas for your next trade show.

If it fits your branding and message, then create opportunities for attendees to have fun and make a little noise.

Make it an event. An empty booth evoking the sound of crickets or one filled with people who are laughing, cheering and actively engaged: which would you visit? Crowds are drawn to crowds, and attendees naturally follow the sounds of others having a great time. Hire professional hosts to invite people into your booth. Then incorporate ways to make a little noise: Have people shout out a key buzzword. Have a competition that gets people fired up and cheering. Weave a camera crew into the experience to create the appearance that you’re making news.

Get the word out. Wouldn’t it be great if people came to the trade show ready to seek you out? You can let prime prospects know about your booth though pre-marketing efforts that put you on their must-visit list and help continue your relationship after the show ends. If the trade show you’re attending allows it, get the attendee list and send a pre-mailer inviting them to a personalized URL. There, you can tease show specials, offer VIP perks for visiting the booth and allow them to opt-in to receive future communications. Click the link to learn more about Moening Presentation Group’s digital pre-marketing solution for trade shows and events.

For advice on how to make your exhibiting efforts a success overall, check out our most recent post on this topic.

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