How to Cut Your Tradeshow Costs — Part 3

How to Cut Your Tradeshow Costs — Part 3

In this article, we share seven tips to save money during and after the tradeshow. To see money-saving tips on your tradeshow design and pre-show planning see Part 1 and Part 2 in the series.

1. Ship Smaller Packages to Your Hotel

You’re going to forget something. It happens. However, shipping small packages to the show facility can increase your drayage bill dramatically. Instead, ship those packages to your hotel and carry the items onto the trade show floor.

While there may be a small hotel service fee, it will ultimately be less expensive than shipping it directly to the show. Plus, it’s less likely to get lost. If you’ve ever tried to track down a small package at a convention center, you know the frustration of wandering through a dock with hundreds of crates, cases, and packages.

2. Communicate with Your EAC

You may be familiar with tradeshow labor––labor provided by the show contractor to help set up your booth––but you may not be familiar with Exhibit Appointed Contractors, or EAC’s. These are independent companies that have the right to provide labor services within a convention center.

Working with an EAC offers multiple benefits. While you may not save a lot of money in a one-off situation, you will save money over time by contracting with an EAC. They are invested in keeping your business and make accommodations that you won’t get from the regular labor pool, because they’re goal is to keep you as a client for multiple shows.

An EAC encourages you to communicate with them before the show by sending them your setup instructions, photos, and other details. This allows them to plan, and planning always saves money. If you have a lasting relationship with an EAC, they will understand and remember how your booth is assembled each year, and correct problems quickly and effectively, ultimately speeding up the process and saving you hours of labor. For more information about EAC’s, contact

3. Hire a Supervisor from Your Exhibit House

If your exhibit house offers to send a supervisor to the show for a fee, you may want to consider it. They are familiar with the assembly of the booth, saving you time and labor costs during setup and dismantle. If there is a problem, that person is the direct path to a solution, whether locally or from the exhibit house.

It may not make sense for a smaller inline, but it’s usually a good idea for larger, more complex booths, especially the first time the exhibit is assembled on the show site. Given a choice, would you rather supervise the assembly of your booth or devote your time to all the other responsibilities necessary to ensuring your show is a success?

4. Watch Setup and Dismantle Times

In most cases, there is a four-hour minimum for tradeshow labor. Pay attention to that minimum. Exhibitors get skittish about overtime (and should). However, there are times when you can complete I&D with just an hour of overtime. That overtime will be less expensive than scheduling labor for four hours the next day.

Minimums also matter when scheduling how many laborers you need in the a booth. Three workers working on straight time is less expensive than two workers working straight-time and overtime. While it’s not always an exact science, it should be a planned decision, not one that happens by chance.

5. Dismantle Supervision

It’s the end of the show, and you’re exhausted. The last thing you want to do is dismantle your booth. But having someone stay with the booth to oversee the dismantling can be critical.

That person can supervise the disassembly and monitor that the booth gets packed and labeled correctly. Even if it means one more night at a hotel or a couple more meals, that person is invaluable to ensuring your booth isn’t damaged and is ready for the next tradeshow.

The number one cause of damage isn’t assembly. It’s careless disassembly and packaging. In the chaos after the show, it’s not unusual for parts and pieces to get lost or stolen. Being there minimizes those surprises.

6. Pre-arrange Return Shipping

Exhibitors focus so much attention on getting their exhibit to the tradeshow they often forget to arrange return shipping. The last thing you need is the added stress of arranging freight after three exhausting days on the show floor.

In a desperate situation like this, that exhibitor might turn to the show contractor and ask them to ship it, which is always significantly more expensive. If they forget to make those arrangements, the show contractor will have to force-ship their freight back to them. This can equal a down payment to a house––a massive hit to your bottom line. Always pre-arrange return shipping.

7. Store the Booth Locally

This applies to people with active tradeshow schedules in the same city. Rather than having the booth shipped back to the main office every time, look at having the booth stored locally in that city. It can be stored at a local or regional exhibit house, or with a transportation carrier, that can store the booth for a nominal fee.

In fact, the storage fees may be less than what you would have paid to ship the booth to and from the show each time. Check with your Exhibit Appointed Contractor. They often have suggestions on storage options in convention-centric cities like Orlando, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Do you have questions about any of the cost-cutting suggestions, your trade show budget, or about trade shows in general? Let us know.

Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of the series to find out more cutting your trade show booth costs and Part 2 to learn about trade show planning!

Article Author:

Mel White

How to Cut Your Tradeshow Costs — Part 2

In Part 1, we reviewed seven techniques to save on your tradeshow marketing. In Part 2, we’ll cover twelve techniques to cut your costs through careful pre-show planning.

1. Graphics, Literature, Promotional Products & Shipping

The exhibit is the main attraction. Always will be. But there are other marketing and operational tasks to complete, such as literature, promotional products, and shipping. All of these, when done ahead of time, will save you a significant amount of money and lessen your anxiety.

We tend to work toward a deadline. What if we worked well in advance of a deadline? For example, your supplier may give you a timeline of 7-10 days, whether it’s a giveaway or printing your brochure. But, 7-10 days assumes everything goes according to plan. It won’t. Don’t wait until the last minute. Plan for ground shipping vs. overnight and assume they’ll be a glitch or two along the way. You’ll have the opportunity to see any mistakes and have them corrected early. As a bonus, you’ll sleep better the week before the show.

2. Early Bird Forms

This is the easiest way to save money at your next tradeshow. There is a reason these early bird forms exist––show contractors want you to complete them early, because the more information they have, the better they can prepare for the show.

Many exhibitors, however, still put off this task. While filling out these forms can be a painful exercise, it’s critical to submit them by the early bird deadlines. If you don’t have all the information you need or some information will be subject to change, that’s okay. You can make corrections later. By sending in these forms early, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

3. Pre-assemble and Inspect Your Exhibit

While you may not like the idea of having to assemble the booth twice, in your own shop and then again on the trade show floor, this trade show planning step is a great cost-cutting measure. When you know what to expect at the show in terms of assembly, you will save time and prevent any nasty surprises.

As any tradeshow veteran knows, when there’s an issue on the show floor, it’s a painful and expensive fix, and there are no cheap solutions. Whether it’s overnighting graphics or getting a spare part over the weekend, everything is going to be more costly––and stressful. Make sure everything is right before you ship your booth to the show. Having your booth only partially assembled on the day the show opens is worst than not arriving at all.

4. Advance Warehouse vs. Direct-to-Show

There are two main ways to ship your booth to a show: Advance Warehouse and Direct-to-Show. While Direct-to-Show shipping appears cheaper, shipping to the Advance Warehouse may actually save you money.

When you ship your booth to the Advance Warehouse––sometimes months ahead of time––you have less to worry about as you get closer to the show. When the show dates get closer, everything in the Advance Warehouse will move to the venue. Say you’re attending a show that takes place Monday through Wednesday. The setup for that showis likely to be on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you ship your booth to the Advance Warehouse, you’re exhibit will be ready for your crew to assemble Friday morning.

If you ship it Direct-to-Show, however, you may experience delays, and it’s difficult to predict and arrange your labor when you don’t know when your booth is going to arrive. In most cases, your freight driver is sitting in the marshalling area waiting to unload, which means you’re paying for that wait time. If that happens, your setup may move to Saturday or Sunday, meaning overtime vs. regular hours.

5. Hanging Sign to Advance Warehouse

If you have a hanging sign, ship it to the Advance Warehouse (even if you don’t ship your booth there). It’s always easier for the riggers to hang that sign above your assigned booth space when there’s no one on the show floor. But most importantly, they’re less likely to inflict damage to your sign and to your booth.

6. Avoid Special Handling Charges

The easier it is to get your freight from the trailer to your booth space, the fewer special handling charges you’ll see on your drayage bill. Avoid stacking things on top of one another or strapping items together. Loose components add up. They require more labor and effort, and the show contractor will recoup that time and effort on your bill, which can sometimes double or triple the charges.

If you do get a special handling charge, be sure to ask the general show contractor why those charges were added. You can then get a good idea of what to avoid next time. It may not always make sense to you, but it’s not about logic. It’s about saving your money.

7. Invest in Lead Retrieval Software

Whether you rent, purchase, or lease lead retrieval software depends on your show schedule and the sophistication of your lead management. Some exhibitors are only interested in collecting the most basic information: client name, contact information, show, and date. Others have a comprehensive list of questions they want answered and need the ability to email literature or follow-up directly from the show. Others have specific requirements for their CRM software and how it should be uploaded and managed.

If you want to collect detailed information on your leads, lead retrieval software is a good way to save time, money, and headaches when it comes to lead retrieval at the show. However, choose the lead retrieval package that makes the most sense for your situation. Don’t pay for more than you need. And don’t buy less than you need, whether it’s for one show or for your entire show schedule. Cheaper software can actually be more expensive in the long run.

8. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning fees are one of the ridiculous charges at any tradeshow. It can cost hundreds of dollars simply to have someone vacuum your exhibit every morning. On the other hand, you can buy a $99 vacuum that can fit in your crate and ship with your booth, along with other necessary cleaning supplies. Make it a game with your exhibit staff. If everyone pitches in with the cleaning each day, the money you saved by not paying for vacuuming services can go toward a post-show celebration.

9. Purchase Your Monitor at the Show City

This is a great cost-saving idea. You may need a monitor in your booth, and with the prices of flat screen TVs plummeting, you can get a nice one from $300 to $600 dollars depending on the size.

Instead of paying to ship that monitor to the show, simply buy it at the show city––whether you’re in Las Vegas, Chicago, or Orlando. Then, to save the money on shipping the monitor back to your location, use it as a giveaway to encourage more booth traffic and collect more leads. Who doesn’t want to win a flatscreen TV?

10. Internet

Think hard about whether you really need to be connected to the Internet in your booth. Does it advance your trade show marketing program in any way? Or is it a distraction?

Internet charges on the show floor can be extremely high, and connectivity is often unreliable, making it a wasted investment anyway. If you’re using lead retrieval or mobile order writing software, consider solutions that have offline access.

11. Share Advertising

This may not apply to everyone, but it can be a huge cost savings. If you have strategic industry partners who are exhibiting at the same show and have similar customers but aren’t direct competitors, explore opportunities to cooperate with them on show advertising and co-hosted events.

Splitting these costs will allow you to expand your marketing and networking while saving money. Splitting bar tabs and meals with common customers goes a long way without having any impact on your sales process.

12. Rent a House

If you’re bringing a group of about six or more people to a show, renting a house near the convention center can be much more economical accommodation option than paying for individual hotel rooms. It also offers much more flexibility. Many exhibitors use the house they rented as a venue for networking events and parties during the show. It’s also a great excuse for combining a company retreat with the tradeshow.

Questions about any of the cost cutting suggestions Let us know. See Part 1 and Part 3 for more tips.

Article Author:

Mel White

How to Cut Your Trade Show Costs — Part 1

Tradeshows are one of the most important marketing investments companies make to promote their products. To maximize their tradeshow marketing ROI, it’s critical they do everything possible to manage costs. Fortunately, most companies can reduce their costs with a little planning, knowledge, and discipline.

In Part 1, we’ll focus on saving money by optimizing your trade show exhibit design. See Part 2 and Part 3 for more tips.

1. Modular Design

Modular design is a great way to save money for companies that exhibit frequently and in multiple configurations, such as islands and inlines. Modular design lets you transition from a larger to a smaller exhibit––and vice versa––using the same basic structure.

The term “modular” is often misunderstood, but a modular exhibit can be a portable, hybrid, or custom display. It simply means it’s reconfigurable. If your exhibit marketing goals are flexible, owning a modular design will save you the expense of owning several unique static designs for each size––10 ft., 20 ft., or island.

When considering modular design for your next booth, consider incorporating an attached overhead sign to replace a hanging sign. You’ll get the same visibility as a hanging sign, but without the expense of rigging charges. They can be expensive, but incorporating them in your design from the beginning can save you money in the long run.

2. Rental Exhibits

Exhibit rentals have come a long way with expanded design options. Renting an exhibit is a great option if you have a limited budget or simply want to test the waters at a show. Your options are nearly as varied as if you were purchasing an exhibit, but without the fixed upfront cost. Walk any major industry show … probably 15-20% of the exhibits are rentals, but it’s unlikely you be able to tell the difference.

The other advantage of a rental is design flexibility from show to show. Rentals make it easy to change your message, the structure, or the size. It allows you to experiment. Plus, there is a lower upfront cost, and you’re not responsible for maintenance or storage. This allows you to focus only on your trade show marketing program. You can also look at components in your booth as rental options––like monitor stands or reception counters. A combination of rentals and ownership can save you money.

3. Tension Fabric vs. Direct Print Graphics

Fabric graphics dominate the trade show scene. And they should. They are vibrant, lightweight, and durable. Recent fabric print innovations make them nearly identical to direct prints, without the hassle of complicated crating or special packaging. The key to fabric graphics is to insist on HD quality. Printing technology is evolving very fast. What was acceptable three years ago appears muddy by comparison to newer printing techniques. Do your homework, ask for details about their equipment, and get quotes from several sources.

Does that mean that direct print graphics have gone the way of the dinosaur? No. They are appropriate for small graphics, dimensional applications, and where the chance of damage is minimal. However, in the long run, fabric graphics will likely last longer. And they are easier to clean if you get them dirty.

4. Pre-Wired Electrical & A/V

Everybody makes this mistake. It happens. We’re so focused on the exhibit design that we don’t  consider all the electrical components and wiring going into the booth space. If you’re going to have monitors or laptops in your booth, or need to have a particular lighting configuration, all of these things need to be considered in the beginning while the exhibit is being built.

Once the exhibit moves from the shop floor to the show floor, the costs to make changes to your booth not only increase exponentially (sometimes by a factor of 10) but the final solution is also rarely as elegant as one that would have made sense during construction. Plan for where the lead retrieval device will go. Think about all the computers, laptops, and monitors. Make every effort to prewire the lighting. You’ll save time, money, and headaches, and avoid damaging your exhibit at the show.

5. Crate or Case Design

Yes, the actual design of your new exhibit is important, but so is the design of the crates or cases. Make sure that you’re using space in the most optimal way possible. You know you’re going to bring literature and promotional products to the show––is there room where you can potentially pack them in the crates or cases rather than sending them in separate shipments?

Having these conversations in the beginning can reduce your drayage bill significantly. Talk about the size of the crate and what goes in it. It’s much cheaper to have monitors, promotional products, etc. packed in the crate rather than sent separately.

6. Complete Setup Instructions

No one expects you to read the owner’s manual for your new toaster. You get a pass on that. However, the setup instructions for your booth is a different story. You need to review them and determine if they make sense before the show––both how the booth is assembled and how it’s disassembled and repacked.

If you don’t understand the instructions while on the show floor, you’re going to waste both time and money. If you find mistakes in the instructions, go back to your exhibit house and ask them to make corrections. We’ve all experienced the moment during installation where three to four people are standing around trying to make sense of the next step. Sometimes that’s a minute or two. Other times it’s much longer, and the clock is ticking on your labor bill the whole time.

7. Reusable Packaging Materials

In many cases, the packaging materials you receive with your booth components are designed to be used once, like foam padding and bubble wrap. And at the end of the show, you’re left wondering how you’re going to re-pack your booth for shipping and storage. Don’t let that happen to you. You deserve better. Your expensive exhibit deserves better.

Insist that your exhibit house provide reusable packaging materials from the beginning. They make all the difference––less damage and faster setup and packing. “Numbered” components go where they belong in the case or crate. There’s a logical progression. You see, and your team sees, if something is missing immediately. You paid a lot for the display. You should demand that it looks pristine for as long as possible. That’s much more likely to happen with logical, well-made, reusable packaging materials.

If you start thinking ahead about these ways to reduce costs during this early design phase, you will save yourself a lot of money and headache down the line. Questions about any of these ideas or tradeshow exhibit design in general? Let us know. See Part 2 and Part 3 for more tips.

Article Author:

Mel White

Making the BIG Rental Exhibit Decision

Rentals are All About Sharing

Sharing used to be a cultural necessity in America. Not every farmer could afford a harvester, nor every homeowner the latest tools. So the farmers and neighbors would share. It made sense. Then we saw less of that… until the recession. Suddenly, sharing became a necessity again. And the need to “own it” became less important.

Renting is a form of sharing, whether it’s a backhoe, banquet tables, or a trade show display. For example, I’m a suburbanite with a modest yard on a property with older trees. I use a chainsaw about twice a year. I could buy a new chainsaw for about $200 or a used one from Craigslist for about $90. But I rent it instead for about $35.

If you do the math, it doesn’t make sense. But it does for me. I don’t want to maintain it, store the oil, do the sharpening or the annual tune-up. Nor do I want another tool in my garage. I have enough. I could borrow one from a neighbor, which I do with some tools (and they in return), but certain items should be rented and not borrowed.

We’ve seen this rental trend since 2008. At first, it was driven by necessity. Exhibitors were committed to a show and/or committed to trade show marketing and their budgets were slashed. Now, however, that trend has less to do with slashed budgets and more to do with personalization, capacity, ownership, storage, and design.


Here’s what we’ve learned. Rentals can’t simply be a single function tool in the toolbox — practical but generic. Exhibitors have the same expectations for rentals as they do for purchase displays. They want it personalized. Rental exhibits should reflect their branding and their exhibit marketing requirements… and it needs to look new.


It’s difficult for a small exhibit house to make the necessary investment  and to maintain a large unblemished rental inventory. But when you are the manufacturer supporting 180 distributors the scale becomes easier to swallow. It’s very common for distributors to offer a modest selection of in-house rental designs and count on manufacturers to fulfill client requests beyond what they own. Exhibitors understand these partner relationships, and typically have no problem with it. In fact, they’re usually thrilled that they’re being offered a solid engineered solution.


A lot of exhibitors don’t want to own their exhibit. They prefer to have the flexibility that’s offered by renting. With rental exhibits, they can change the design from show to show to better match their target audience and market,  rather than feeling obligated to stick with the same design for multiple shows and/or multiple years. Less pressure. More flexibility.

From a cost standpoint, custom rental components are very affordable. Exhibit houses and manufacturers will often include custom elements below their cost, knowing they can re-rent them.


We can all relate to the challenges of not having enough storage space, whether it’s at home or at our business. Exhibitors have to consider whether it makes sense to storing their exhibit. Do they have the available space? Do they have someone with the time and experience to maintain the exhibit and arrange for potential repairs and updates? Or does it make more sense to pay their exhibit house a monthly storage fee, plus pull and prep fees to take care of everything for them? With rental exhibits none of that matters, because all of that’s taken care of, and they start fresh for every show.


It’s amazing how far we’ve come with rental exhibit designs. They used to be like a McDonald’s. You could spot one a 1/4 of a mile away. Today, it’s very difficult to differentiate a rental from a purchase. Custom rental designs  used to be the exception but now represent a significant percentage of what exhibit houses offer. Savvy customers know they can choose to rent over purchasing without the fear of design limitations.

Today it’s all about design solutions, whether a purchase or rental exhibit. And it usually goes back to the question of flexibility and ownership to determine the best option. A combination of purchase and rental components is quite common as well. For example, it often makes sense to own a central tower with storage, knowing that it will always be needed, but rent the workstations and charging stations, because those needs change from show to show.

In the end… Rental or Purchase? Which avenue offers the best opportunity for an exhibitor to achieve their objectives for upcoming shows? Listen closely to what the exhibitor is telling you. You may be surprised at what they are sharing.

Article Author:

Mel White

Trade Show Planning

Trade Show Planning

There’s no shortage of articles about pre- and post-show trade show tips. Follow those tips and you’ll not only have more qualified leads, but you’ll turn them into sales by roughly a bazillion percent. Check the research at CEIR and let me know if I’m wrong about that statistic.

Even if you maximize your pre- and post-show planning, it’s possible to miss potential sales because your planning didn’t include right before the show opens and right after the show closes. Every day. On the morning of the show, especially on Day #1, we are nervous, tense, and uncertain about what the show will bring. So we clean, vacuum, organize literature, drink coffee and eat giveaway candy. That’s not to say those aren’t important. They are. But there are other trade show tasks that need to be accomplished before that first wave of attendees descends on your booth.

As a solid Type-A exhibitor, you’ve already had multiple meetings with your team before the show. That’s what makes you wonderful and a pain in the ass. It’s now one hour before the show opens, not just on Day 1 but also on Day 2 and Day 3. It’s time to:

Before the Show Opens

  • Review the show goals for the team once again.
  • Remind everyone how “we” plan to meet and exceed those goals
  • Discuss roles. Do those roles need to change from Day 1 to Day 2 to Day 3?
  • Equipment. How does it work, who has the login information, who is the “Oh Shit” expert, and what’s the backup plan?
  • Who is expected in the booth today? Are they a customer? A prospect? What’s the plan?
  • Did anything happen during dinners, meetings, conference gatherings that the team needs to know?
  • Does the “message” need to change based on conversations with attendees or announcements from competitors?
  • What’s the break schedule?

Good job! You scheduled a team meeting each day with a specific agenda to review. Your team knows what to expect, has answers, and is prepared for another successful day on the show floor.

Four to five hours later, the show closes for the day. You and your team are exhausted. They are ready to relax, have a drink, and leave the show hall. BUT… you’re not done yet. It’s time to review what happened that day. Resist the urge to do it in a bar, restaurant, or in the hotel lobby. Do it now. In the booth:

North American Trade ShowsAfter the Show Closes

  • Review the leads and determine next steps and priorities
  • Add notes to the leads (while they are still fresh)
  • Discuss any missteps and changes for the next day
  • Share critical news from attendees, clients, competitors, and suppliers
  • Cover plans for dinners, meetings with clients, and conference events
  • Lock-up and store any valuables
  • Is anyone leaving to return home? How does that effect staffing and roles for the next day?
  • (On the next to last day) What’s the plan for disassembling and shipping the exhibit after the show? Does any rented equipment need to be returned to the show contractor?

Now, that wasn’t so hard. It just took a little planning, patience, caffeine, and the promise of food and alcohol.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

Five Reasons NOT to Rent a Trade Show Display

Five Reasons NOT to Rent a Trade Show Display

1. Change

Most companies devote considerable time, energy, and resources to the purchase of a new exhibit. And they should. Trade show marketing can be expensive, and getting it right requires choosing the right display and executing a comprehensive marketing strategy. Exhibitors work hard to get it right… at the first show. Then, many companies go on auto-pilot for several shows, or often for several years.

Renting a trade show display doesn’t change the planning phase. Most companies work just as hard for the first show, but because they know they can change the display (and most often do), they tend to revisit their strategy before every show. It may seem counter-intuitive, but exhibitors who rent are often more engaged in their trade show marketing program. They view the exhibit, the graphics, and their strategy as evolving depending on the show and/or their corporate goals.

2. Design and Ownership

Owning an exhibit has advantages, particularly for exhibitors who have a basic display or a very large customized exhibit. They get exactly what they want in a design or at a specific price point. For a high-end custom exhibit, there are no compromises. It will be built to their exact requirements. No questions. And, once built. It’s their property.

However, most corporate exhibitors don’t fit that model. They want a trade show experience that showcases their products or services and allows them to be successful on the show floor customers. The display has to be distinctive, captivating, and practical, but it doesn’t have to be one-of-a-kind. Modern rental exhibits fulfill all those requirements because they can be customized to meet any look or experience.

3. Financial

Purchasing an exhibit is a considerable capital investment for most companies. They plan for it and put it in their budget. No problem. It’s a one-time expense every year or every couple of years which they depreciate over a fixed schedule.

Renting is generally less expensive. Exhibitors rent the structure and purchase the graphics. They have decided that owning the exhibit doesn’t make sense either because their trade show program is always changing or they’d rather budget it in stages.

4. Storage (and Storage Fees)

Many exhibitors like having their trade show booth in their building or stored by their exhibit provider. They know what they have and where it is. They don’t mind devoting space to the exhibit in their office or paying monthly storage fees. There’s a certain peace-of-mind to knowing the exhibit is ready to ship at a moment’s notice.

Renting is exactly the opposite. The exhibitor doesn’t own it so there are no storage fees or floor space devoted to cases or crates. It’s available. Just now right-now. It requires more planning… but that’s not a bad thing.

5. Commitment

Commitment and change are two sides of the same coin. If the marketing message has been the same for 20 years and it’s been successful, why change? It would be silly to do anything that alters that formula.

That said… it’s possible to be committed to a marketing strategy and still change it depending on the audience, the show, or the season. Renting makes that possible. One show make require a 10 ft. display. The next an island. Both can use variations of the same graphics or change it to appeal to that audience.
Purchase or Rent — When making the decision to rent or to purchase your next trade show exhibit, it’s no longer about making compromises. The exhibitor can select from a wide variation of upscale designs at price points for any budget.


Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

If Puppies Ran Tradeshows and Events

11 Reasons Why Our Lives Would be Better

No one would be a stranger.

Good behavior would be expected.

You would do whatever it takes to draw a crowd.

Good customers could expect loyalty and gratitude.

Competitors would be discouraged.

Children would be welcome at tradeshows and events.

Mistakes would happen but it would be OK.

For excellent service, just say my name. PLEASE SAY MY NAME!!!!

There would be fresh water and treats in every aisle.

Difficult customers would never be a problem.

AND . . . A pat on the head would make EVERYTHING BETTER.

To the ferret, goldfish, and lizard owners, you’re on your own.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

If Kittens Ran Tradeshows and Events

11 Reasons Why Our Lives Would Be Better

Shows would last no longer than one (very intense) hour.

Two hour naps would follow.

We would play nice with others.

Unexpected freakouts would be OK.

Every booth would have toys.

Eating in the booth would be a “no no.”

Being cute and adorable would be a given.

Experience would be respected.

Diversity would be embraced.

We would respect those who feed us (and our families).

AND . . . We would ALWAYS trust our instincts.

Feel free to add more! 😉

Article Author:

Mel White

Setting the Mood with Color at Your Next Trade Show

Using Colors to Set the Mood

  • The color scheme you select for your trade show booth is critical
  • Many colors are associated with temperature or with certain emotions
  • You should consider color selection to be one more item in your “marketing arsenal”

The color scheme you select for your trade show booth is critical. Color affects our perceptions of a space, so when planning your booth, choose your colors carefully. If you’ve hired an exhibit designer, the designer can help determine the most appropriate color scheme for your booth based on your overall corporate colors, your marketing goals, and your color preferences. Don’t forget the flooring. The right flooring color in your exhibit will enhance (or diminish) your trade show booth design. .

How individuals react to colors depends on their cultural, historical, and personal background. A great deal of research has been conducted surrounding the psychology of color. However, in Western societies, the following is generally found to be true.

Recent Studies

A recent study published in Nature analyzed the effect of uniform color on athletes, such as soccer players, boxers, and wrestlers. The study concluded that athletes wearing red won more than sixty percent of the time. The scientists who conducted the study were convinced that the red uniforms gave the winning team a psychological edge. However, unless the client is Coca-Cola, most designers use red as an accent color rather than the primary color since red often evokes such strong emotions.

Many colors are associated with temperature or with certain emotions.These are culturally derived meanings can have a very real affect on people. Colors such as red, orange, and yellow are considered “warm” colors and can have a stimulating effect. The New York Times recently published an article concerning color schemes for schools and found that reds, yellows, and oranges were often used in hallways to “speed up children in halls and gyms.” Yellow, in particular, is often used in postcard marketing campaigns because studies have determined that recipients read yellow postcards more than any other color.

Other Colors

Blues and greens are considered “cool” colors and can have a calming effect, especially when combined with fluorescent lighting. Blues and grays are also associated with ice, snow, or winter. If your company sells snow skis for example, you might want to consider using these colors. Gray and beige, are more neutral colors, and have associations as well. Gray or silver can take on a futuristic, “gee-whiz” connotation. Beiges and browns can be used to suggest a nostalgic, retro feel in a booth. White can be used to create a more expansive feel in a space, while black creates a more confined feel.

Factor in your company’s home base or the location of the show when considering color schemes. If your company is based in the Southwest, browns and tans might work for you. Or, if the trade show is located near the coast, consider blues or greens. You should consider color selection to be one more item in your “marketing arsenal” as you compete for the customer’s attention at a busy trade show or corporate event.

For more information about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next show.

Article Author:

Mel White

Trade Shows, Banner Stands, and Potato Chips

The Guy in Aisle 400

Call me a foodie. Call me a trade show snob. I love good food and admire smart trade show marketing. Both take careful, thoughtful preparation. Both give back as much as you put into them. And both, when done well, are experiences you want to share.

Last week, I was walking a local trade show… Mostly 10 ft. and 20 ft. inlines with a mishmash of budget, mid-price, and a smattering of custom exhibits. Then I came to “the guy”in Aisle 400.” I’m embarrassed to say I stopped and stared.

In the 10 ft. booth space there were two VERY cheap banner stands with fuzzy, curled graphics and a logo. No discernible message. No features and benefits. No “why we’re better than the other company.” It was for a bank, a well-known bank in our region. The guy was sitting behind a banquet table with a table throw (which wasn’t too bad) and on the table was the obligatory literature and giveaways — pens, rulers, key chains, and notepads.

To Be Fair

The guy probably didn’t know any better. He was told to “man the booth” during the show. And he did exactly that, while checking email, Facebook, and sports scores.

I have nothing against banner stands or table thows or promotional products. They have a place and a purpose in events, trade shows, lobbies, county fairs, and concerts. But, and here’s the “but,” at some point they’re the equivalent of snack food — quick, salty, and unhealthy. We eat them because they’re convenient, tasty, and cheap. As a teenager, we willingly gorge ourselves. As an adult, we regret those last six handfuls of potato chips.

So why does this happen? To be blunt, it’s because someone in charge was lazy or ignorant or cheap or the magical trifecta of all three. They didn’t value trade show marketing. Their experience proved time and time again that it was a colossal waste of time and resources. Why bother cooking a meal when a Slim Jim and a Slurpee are only $2.50. It’s not like it’s going to kill you… today.

Sadly, the only way to change this perception is to change the trade show marketing program. How do you convince someone to put down the equivalent of a Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie and eat a balanced meal? I’m not sure. What you hope for is turnover in the Marketing Department or that a knowledgeable trade show professional offers some tactful advice.

Find a Mentor

When it comes to trade shows, nothing replaces experience, either learned through “hard knocks” or from someone who has already made all the mistakes. The second option is well worth it’s weight in gold. You can glean some knowledge by reading trade show tips and tricks articles on the web. At least on a big picture.

Eventually, if you want to succeed at trade show marketing, find a mentor. Work with a colleague who understands the “ins and outs” of trade shows or hire a knowledgeable professional. Eventually you’ll become the mentor and can pass your wisdom along to the poor soul working the trade show equivalent of a 7/11 taquito.

Eat well. Show well.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.