Trade Show Displays To Grow Your Business

Trade shows are something that a lot of people never get to enjoy, and this is really a shame, because as an attendee, they can be a lot of fun (and a great way to kill some time while still getting paid for working).  The people who put on trade shows are well aware that trade shows are fun to attend, too; that’s why they have them at the kind of places they do.  Places that would, otherwise, be a reasonable place for a vacation or something similar.  A lot of trade shows are held in locations like New York City, Boston, Chicago, various parts of Texas, California, and pretty much anywhere in Hawaii (also, for some reason, Cancun, Mexico seems to remain a popular destination for trade shows, though I have no idea why).  This serves a two-fold purpose.  For the people who are going to the trade show, it makes it a more appealing trip, which means that they’re more likely to go and enjoy the experience and thus to come again the next year.  For those putting on the show, they’re more likely to attract more people,because  who doesn’t enjoy a tax-deductible work vacation where you get paid to socialize and look at things, and then to spend the night having a good time?  That’s pretty much everyone’s goal for a dream job, really.

trade show exhibitsTrade shows are either open or closed to the public, depending on the industry and the individual show.  The way that you need to set up your trade show displays, also, will be different based on what kind of show you’re attending.

For example, every year, guitar companies put on a guitar show called ‘NAMM’, and this is basically the year’s big trade show for guitars.  It’s open to everyone in the United States, so anyone can come, as long as they can afford the ticket and are willing to follow various rules and whatnot.  Imagine it. Tradeshow booths upon tradeshow booths filled with the newest things in guitars, the newest models of the greatest guitars in the world.  Gibson Les Pauls, Gretsch White and Black Falcons, Fender Telecasters (not Stratocasters.  Those things are terrible.  I had a cheap one as a kid, and it completely ruined Strats for me for life), all as far as the eye can see.

But it’s not just something that they’ve put up for you to see, but not touch; NAMM isn’t the kind of thing that you would run into at guitar center, where you can look, but not enjoy.  They have guitars placed up on racks so that you can play them, or amps everywhere that you can enjoy, or even things like new models of guitar tuners or new cables for getting the most sound out of your electric pickups (yeah, there’s not a lot of science proving that the cable makes a huge amount of difference, but whatever, people are going to sell what they’re going to sell), and literally every single thing that you see there, you can pick up and play on, at least until someone tells you to knock it off because they’ve heard stairway to heaven way too much today and just aren’t putting up with it anymore.  This is the kind of thing that burns into your mind, when you pick up a guitar and play it and it just sounds perfect and feels like butter in your hands.

On the other hand, if, say, you’re at a guitar show that is geared toward only the professionals, you’re not going to be seeing people allowing you to just pick things up and play them.  Used guitar shops have a lot of trade shows each year, where people are unloading things they can’t seem to sell where they are, and their trade show booths are very protective of the gear that they have to sell or trade.  You have to ask to touch something, and then the dealing begins.  There’s no flashy booths, no lovely amps, no booth babes, just a bunch of guitars in a well-lit room and a bunch of guys arguing over how much a belt scratch devalues a guitar that is twice as old as I am.  It’s all professionals, no one outside of the professional setting, and because of this, they’re going to be run in just such a way that professionals are able to effectively do what they need to, and the booths reflect that.

So, be prepared to fit into whatever crowd you’re going to for your trade show, and make sure you know what is being traded and sold.  Also, don’t buy a Stratocaster, because they’re awful.  No offense Fender, the Telecaster is infinitely better.

Event Design And Your Business

If you’re in a business, you are, eventually, going to have to go and see some sort of trade show, and this means looking at a lot of trade show displays.  Now, whether you’re going to be going to the trade show as a presenter, or you’re going to the trade show as a group that is just going to look, you will notice something about the show, and that is that the booths, they’re going to be different based not only on company, but on who the show is geared to.

expo displaysMaking sure that you utilize intelligent event design isn’t just good business, it’s just plain smart.  Not all events, not all trade shows, not all expos are created equally, and you need to be ready to attract business the way that is appropriate.  For example, in 2009, not only did I attend a scientific expo (they called it a symposium, but I remember an entire floor of a hotel in Boston that was just wall to wall trade show booths, with everything from books written on the scientific basis of use of force in certain scenarios, to places that were handing out teacher’s copies of their new criminology textbooks in the hopes that someone there was a teacher who would read the book and adopt it as their new course text, thus resulting in a few thousand dollars’ worth of sales.  These booths at this particular show weren’t flashy, but they did have a lot of space that was showing the content of the booth, not just showing the things they had for sale, but excerpts from such. This wasn’t just a good idea, it was a smart one; you had, in a room, a bunch of scientists, many of whom were shopping for scientific texts for their own research or just to expand their knowledge base.  This doesn’t require a lot of flashing lights, it simply requires a booth that looks a bit better than what you’ll find at a bake sale and nothing more.  This is appropriate if you’re doing a subdued event where you’re basically catering to scientists.

On the other hand, what about a more public event?  How about the SHOT show, the National Rifle Association’s annual event where they showcase all the new products in firearms and related industries that are going to be coming out for sale in the next fiscal year?  Well, to begin with, you’re going to need to make sure that, when you have a lot of firearms in an area, you have them safely tethered to your booth, and you’re going to absolutely need to ensure that your display weapons are all non-firing (easy to achieve, just remove firing pins and bolt carriers and you’re good to go).  That’s just intelligent event design, really, making sure that everyone is safe.  However, when you’re displaying a product, especially a product as dynamic and expensive as a series of firearms, you probably want your booth to look better than a booth at a gun show, and this means having good mounts for hanging rifles and handguns, maybe a few mock-ups or show pieces, things like that.  For example, Surefire lights have had, over the last few years, a bunch of their flash lights attached to the rail systems of ‘blue gun’ models, which are basically rubber training guns.  This allows the end-user, the customer, to get a feel for the weight added, and the dimensions it’ll add to the firearm, without having to spend money on the actual firearms or having to do anything to make sure that firearms on hand have to be worked on to be non-firing, which can be both time consuming and a hassle.

So, once you know what you need, you’re going to be better able to pander to the crowd that’s going to be showing up.  Why would you spend a lot of time and money developing something flashy for a bunch of people who are really, truly there for the content, not the awesome look of your booth?  Conversely, if you’re selling video games at the E3 conference and your booth is both sad and miniscule, you’re not going to see many people, and this can rob you of the opportunity to spread the word about upcoming products.  Building a booth can be a difficult thing, but if you know what you’re doing, or if you hire someone who knows what they’re doing to help you with design, you’re going to be getting your money’s worth and getting the support you need from the event.

Contact an Experiential Marketing Agency

Exposure is key for any business because once the industry knows who you are and what you can do for them, the business should come to you. There are various advertising and marketing strategies that are used to create this invaluable exposure in order to be successful, but only so many of them make sense for your industry and the kind of customers that you are trying to attract. The people who care about your message or located few and far between within massive swarms of people going about their daily lives trying to accomplish the things that they need to. Getting more of those people who could be concerned about your message into the same place at a trade show is often the best way to create the most efficient exposure for your company and your ideas. Creative event design may be your ticket to success, so don’t underestimate its power.

We live in a three-dimensional world but we deal with a lot of two-dimensional things. A trade show display can be simple and benign with a fold-up table covered by a table spread with your company logo and slogan on it that people can stand in front of like a booth at a carnival. Or, it can be exciting and open itself up to the trade shows attendees by being set up to provide an experience that they can literally walk into so they can use additional senses that will help them remember you better. Whenever possible, whatever attractions you bring in should be relevant to what you do as a company but even something as simple as a raffle for something valuable could increase the chances of people coming over to your booth and participating. Otherwise they may be just bystanders walking by without you ever being able to catch their eye.

trade show displays and an entire industry exists solely for this purpose. Trade shows are important places for companies from a variety of industries to get their message out to a super-focused group of consumers who attend. It is also the best place to see what you competition is up to and what people are thinking and saying about them. Information is important if you pay attention to it and know what to do with it and trade shows are where everyone with an informed opinion show up to show off what they have to offer, schmooze with prospective customers and have fun. Business is mainly about building relationships and trade shows are a great place to do that. Having an attractive and interesting exhibit as opposed to a booth is the best way to get people to come to you so you can begin to develop those valuable relationships.

You may be a creative person and have some great ideas that a professional trade show designer can run with. Your input will always be appreciated and could be the difference between you having a good display or a great one that is truly memorable. It is important to understand what your budget allows for in terms of the possibilities before you put too much time into thinking about the matter. This is one of the things that will be discussed when you contact a experiential marketing agency, amongst other things. You can always visit their webpage and see their portfolio to see what they are capable of and how well they are able to market themselves. Try to find an agency who has performed work in your specific industry for a company that you know, and see if you like the approach that they took and if you can see yourself with something similar.

When the competition is fierce, trade shows can be the only way to gain ground on your competitors and your advertising and marketing dollars may best be spent on making your presence known. It does not make much sense to thrust your message into obscurity with valuable marketing dollars by using ineffective techniques that don’t produce results, like print advertising and expensive radio or television spots. Trade shows can be expensive too with all of the travel expenses and the money that you are going to spend on a great display, but if you are going to do a job then you better do it right. Contacting a creative trade show display company could be the best decision you ever make, but you will never know until you make the decision to take a chance and see what it can do for you.


Design a Trade Show Booth that is Anything but Boring

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Anyone who had a father who grew up after World War II has probably heard that saying more than they care to remember but because of the repetition, they indeed remember. That is basic technique that makes some marketing and advertising campaigns successful in fact. It of course is not the only way that a marketing company can make people remember them, but it in conjunction with other tactics it can aid in creating a memorable advertisement. Traditional forms of advertising are not near as effective as they once were though and there are several reasons for that.

Things in the marketing and advertising field have changed a great deal in the last couple of decades because of the advent of the internet and many companies have reallocated their marketing budgets to completely different kinds of advertising. Unlike the internet though, trade shows are not a new thing but the methods used to create exposure at them has evolved quite a bit in recent history. So, today it is not uncommon for companies to spend good money on creating a powerful presence at trade shows by hiring event design agencies to build them head-turning trade show exhibits.

Trade shows make a lot of sense for just about anyone in any industry from a marketing and advertising perspective, because it is a common gathering place for specific industries. Trade shows bring together many people and businesses with common interests and they pay for valuable floor space so they can attract the attention of the trade shows visitors in order to begin to earn their business. Like a peacock and other male birds strut their stuff and show off  their colorful feathers in order to get the attention of all the females, companies have intriguing trade show displays built so they can do the same thing with trade show visitors.

Some entire industries are considered boring from an advertising standpoint because what they do just isn’t all that interesting, but that doesn’t mean that the advertising strategy has to be just as boring. Think about how lame a heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems trade show could be and then you will realize how creative a trade show booth designer needs to be in order to get people to take interest in one company over another who does the same thing. Their job is to create a welcoming environment with the space they have available to them by using materials and a design that the budget allows for. This can be relatively inexpensive or it can cost a pretty penny, it’s all about what the client wants.

There are simple things that a company should not forget about at a trade show no matter how much money they are spending on their display. They should have their most friendly and engaging company representatives attend the trade show so that they can have productive interactions with people who come over to the booth. They should consider providing bottled water, fresh coffee and perhaps some other beverages to their visitors in order to make them feel at home, and of course they should have business cards available. Creative input is always appreciated but most of the design details can be left up to the event designer.

It is especially important in standard industries to try to stand out and help people have fun. Connecting tangible objects to company slogans or related industry ideas that people can literally take away with them can produce a memorable experience. For example, having inexpensive paper weights that look like an ice-cube with a company logo on them for a business who’s slogan is something like “air conditioning that is as cold as ice” may be an effective take-away device. Maybe actually setting up a product demonstration where people can literally stand in front of an AC unit and see how cold the air is could make a difference.

There are of course things that make sense and things that do not, but being creative with common things in common industries can be a real difference-maker. A professional trade show exhibit is designed and constructed with structural integrity. One of the worst things that can happen to a trade show display is for it to crumble or sag and make a company look foolish. That, among many other reasons, is why any company who is looking to hire an event design company to represent their business at a trade show should go with one who has a reasonable amount of experience.



Event Marketing Is The Key

Even companies who have been around for years need a shot in the arm every now and then in order to reach a larger audience. In a world that is moving so fast it may seem difficult to stay on top of all of the changes, especially when it comes to the quickly evolving advertising and marketing strategies, but that stuff should be left to the experts. One has to be in the direct informational flow of that business to understand the subtleties and nuances, and any company who requires their services needs to keep an eye on their own interests. Understanding how a company is properly represented on the internet may seem like it is easy to understand but understanding it and actually doing it are two different things. Plus, internet advertising is much more effective when an event marketing expert combines it with a steady stream of live events and presence at important industry trade shows.

Trade shows are not new, in fact they have been around for years but the displays and exhibits that professional designers are coming up with are getting more and more creative. Many established companies think that it is important to keep their foot on the advertising accelerator so their competition is not able to gain any ground on them. There are also those who are trying to create some momentum for themselves so they for different reasons want to create a powerful presence at a trade show and at specific live events. Having an exhibit designed and constructed by an experienced experiential marketing consultant or agency is a popular way to make sure that any company is represented at these events in style. Very elaborate exhibits are quite common at some of the most popular industry trade shows, but there are also very modest displays that can be quite effective as well.

A company’s industry and advertising budget has a lot to do with determining what their trade show display is going to look like and the amount of creative energy that is put into its design. The budget also factors into the trade show real estate they are able to purchase in order to get the most attention of the people who are in attendance. Often, the amount of money spent on the floor space at a trade show is relative to the amount of money that is spent on the trade show exhibit. The biggest companies sometimes find it necessary to spend the most money on trade show real estate and the design and construction of their exhibit because they believe that it only makes sense with the budget they have at their disposal. Very often though, smaller companies go all-in with their annual advertising budgets on a big industry trade show to get the exposure they need to grow.

Exhibit displays are often designed in some way that incorporates social media whether the visitors are somehow encouraged to ‘like’ a specific brand on a popular website or the event is filmed so videos and pictures can be posted online. Either way, live events and internet presence creates valuable exposure for just about any company who at any point in today’s day-in-age feel it necessary to spread the word. There are some very creative ways to advertise online that are extremely inexpensive or even completely free,. But, trade shows and live events are a different story because of the many costs associated with the travel expenses and fees that are required for a company to attend and have the space they need to represent themselves. Creative displays do not have to be designed to be used only once either. Some industries have multiple trade shows that a company wants to use their display at so it is designed for them to be able to build it and break it down easily.

Advertising and marketing is not the same as it once was and it never will be again. Creative ideas for trade show displays are going to continue to get more exciting and elaborate as technology gets better and the competition continually grows more fierce. The internet is going to keep on moving along as marketing companies of all kinds keep on finding new and effective ways to help their clients be successful. Any business who wants to grow or even sustain in today’s business climate would be smart to find a reliable, innovative and creative advertising partner who understands the ins and outs of the ever-changing advertising world so they have one less thing to worry themselves with as time goes on.