Any business that can take part in a trade show would be wise to do so, or, failing to actually craft and present their own trade show booths, should send a representative or two to look at what is being presented. It’s the best way to do a lot of learning about your industry, and it’s at an event where most of the bigger names will be gathered under one roof, showing off what they’re doing and what they will be doing in the near future, all with the hope of generating buzz and future sales. The whole thing is a great opportunity to learn and to network, and if you miss it, you are likely to regret it down the road.
Not only can you learn about the market as it currently exists at a trade show, but you can even discern patterns in the market and see where the market is likely to lead. Are you looking at electronics? Look at the movement toward mobility (as well as the continuing movement toward more and more powerful hardware, but let’s face it, that is almost a given these days. I have a cell phone that is miles ahead of the power that my first personal computer ever had, and when I made said personal computer, it was one of the most powerful computers in a fairly tech savvy neighborhood), look at the movement toward new materials, most of all, find the patterns and find the curve, then get ahead of it! These things you can do at a trade show.
Now, this isn’t to suggest that a trade show booth is a waste, but if you’re going to design and show a booth, you need to keep a few things in mind. A few things like those listed below, for your reading pleasure.
The first thing you need to do when you design a trade show booth is to think about the people who are going to be coming to see it. Are you going to be showing your booth to a bunch of people who are part of the industry that you’re involved in, or are at least members of some industry that regularly interacts with said industry? You can get away with some tech speak relevant to the industry, then. Are you likely to encounter a lot of outsiders and people in the general public? Probably want to keep it simple, stupid (an old acronym for making sure things work. I highly recommend it).
Now that you understand who you will be pitching your product or products too, you can design your exhibit displays accordingly, making sure that they’re appropriate for the situation. You also need to look at whatever it is that you have to offer and to figure out the best way to present it to the people who are going to be coming to the show. This may mean that you need to light it properly, or to show it in use, but you need to think of something that will capture the attention of the audience.
Now that you’ve got your display figured out, you need to figure out the best way to allow the people to enjoy it and to make sure that as many people as possible can see it. This is the reason that so many trade show ‘booths’ of the day seem to be very open and designed to allow people to walk through, less a ‘booth’ and more of an ‘area’. The more people who get to see whatever it is you have to offer, the more sales you can generate. You can’t sell to someone who doesn’t know that you exist.
Now, a lot of people don’t take this into account, but when you have a trade show booth and displays that are showcasing the newest thing in industry tech, some people are going to steal. it is the way of the world, as heartbreaking as that may be. You need to find a way to make sure that you don’t have your displays stolen. In some cases, this is as simple as tethering displays to a table or a heavy weight with a piece of heavy gauge metal wire, in others something else may be called for.
The one thing you must always remember, though, is that the whole reason you’ve come to this event is to inform the people. Be outgoing, be approachable, and let the customer know what you have and see what you have to show, and you will be all the better off for it.