Trade show display events can be a major contribution to the success of your company’s annual marketing plan (and bottom line), but only when carefully planned and executed. Trade show exhibits that enjoy the most accomplishment are tailor-made. Tailor-made means that every aspect of the display – and all plans – are tailored to the expected audience at the show. Of course, then, this hinges upon selecting the right show, or shows, to take part in.
A huge mistake is to enter a show “because we have always done this show”, or because your competitors will be there. Which show you should enter depends upon your target audience. Everything else is secondary. If your target demographic (audience) will be attending a certain show, that is the one to choose. Most often the theme of the show determines the attending market. For example, if you sell boating accessories or personal water craft, a boat show is the best choice. Or, if you sell electronics, you should select an electronics show, and so on. Although this sounds elementary, it is surprising how many companies exhibit in shows that they simply should not enter.
Analyze the expected trade show audience. Get plenty of information from the show sponsorship and decide if the potential event is a good fit for your company. This should be done months in advance of the actual trade show planning stage. When the proper show is determined, it is time to begin building a comprehensive master plan.
When “tailoring” a display, here are some key points to consider shrewdly:
- Message – The marketing ‘message’ that you want to convey to your audience should be directly in line with the trade show theme. Whether the intent is to showcase a new product, expand brand recognition, or whatever, the message of your booth must be grab attention within 2 to 3 seconds by appealing to one or more emotion(s) of the target audience.
- Graphics – The marketing message directly determines the design of your display graphics. All images, color scheme, text, and even your company logo, must be in line with both the marketing message, and the theme of the trade show.
- Booth Design – The design of the display within the booth stems from the message, intent, and objectives or goals within the master plan. For example, a more open booth design might be used if the plan is to involve the attendees in a product, or perhaps a presentation, whereas a less-open concept might be used for more intimate goals, such as filling out applications, a lead card, or one-to-one interactions.
- Staffing – It is a great idea to make the look and appeal of your booth staffing in alignment with the show theme and the message of your display, whenever possible. If the theme is like summer, dress the staff in summer clothing, etc.
- Giveaways – Once again, all giveaways should be geared towards the show audience, and the message of your trade show display. Always remember to present giveaways that are useful – that have some function – and will not be thrown away immediately.
To sum up, when you have researched a potential show, and understand the theme and the expected audience, it is then possible to “tailor-make” an trade show exhibit that is an excellent fit for your company within the event theme. Every element of a tailor-made custom display is determined by a marketing message (and master plan) that is sensibly created from knowing the target market attending the show. This is the formula for a highly successful trade show campaign.