Category Archives: Expo Booth Displays

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.

Personalization

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.

Capacity

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.

Ownership

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.

Storage

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.

Design

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.

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.

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.

Branding and Corporate Identity: Trade Show Marketing 101

Branding and Corporate Identity

  • Present a coherent corporate image
  • Think beyond company colors and logos
  • Consider a theme
  • Hire a speaker to present at your booth
  • Hanging signs are an excellent method of getting your corporate branding noticed

When designing your trade show booth, it is critical to present a coherent corporate image. Every element of your booth, including booth designgraphicssignage, promotional literature, color scheme, and giveaways, must be united by a recognizable signature that is unique to your company.

Think Beyond Company Colors

Company colors and logos can easily be incorporated into your trade show exhibit and carpets, and can be imprinted on your promo items and literature. Thinking beyond company colors, color can be used to reinforce a corporate identity. Suppose your company is technology based. In that case, you may wish to employ a metallic silver or gray color scheme in order to suggest scientific progress and the spirit of the future.

If you decide to go with a themed booth, try to keep it consistent with your company’s image. Think about an anniversary year tie in. For instance, if your company was incorporated in 1926, you might consider a roaring twenties theme to commemorate eighty plus of service. Your designer can easily create an art deco display for your booth. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate, just enough to suggest a theme. Period clothes can easily and inexpensively be rented from any local costume shop. Attendees visiting your booth will associate your business with stability and longevity.

A few years ago at EXHIBITOR, a trade show for the trade show industry, an exhibit manufacturer created a park-like theme with grass, park benches, and statues. The theme emphasized that working with the manufacturer was easy and carefree, “Like a Walk in the Park.” The theme was well received because the depiction was accurate and a clever depiction of a familiar cliché.

Hire an Expert to Speak

If you hire a speaker to present at your booth, again make the choice consistent with your company image. Consider a local author who has written a book about your industry. Most authors will jump at an opportunity to promote their book and are accustomed to public speaking while on book tours. A timely tie in with a thought provoking book will stimulate discussion and interest in your booth.

Hanging Signs

Walk through any trade show and you will see attractive hanging signs throughout the convention center or pavilion. Hanging signs are an excellent method of getting your corporate branding noticed. They come in two-dimensional and three dimensional shapes, such as circles, pinwheels, and tapered triangles. There is no better compliment than when a trade show attendee says, “I saw your company’s sign when I walked into the hall and wanted to hear more about your product.”

Consistency is the key when planning your booth. Make sure all elements of your booth include some clue, visual or otherwise, to your brand or identity. A unified presentation will make an indelible impression on your customers.

For more infomation about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or send us an email. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next event.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

Now That You’ve Decided to Rent Your Display

Now That You’ve Decided to Rent Your Display

  • Think ahead about future shows . . . you’ll save time and money
  • Graphics are just as important whether you rent or own your exhibit
  • Be proactive about wire management. There should be a plan
  • With all the talk about “Green Displays,” nothing is “greener” than a rental exhibit
  • Make sure you have clear, detailed set-up instructions

There are lots of articles about the benefits of renting vs. buying a trade show display, but, I don’t recall ever reading an article that discussed the do’s and don’ts once you’ve decided to rent. After 20 years of managing exhibit rentals for clients, including the past five managing the Rental Program for a large display manufacturer, I’ve learned that deciding to rent is the easy part. The hard part comes after the rental decision has been made. With all humility, please allow me to share these tips from someone who has experienced his fair share of rental bruises over the years.

Think Ahead about Future Shows

You’ve decided to rent your exhibit. Now take it a step further by planning your trade show schedule over the next two to three years. Developing a long-term plan could save you thousands of dollars by committing to a multiple-show rental contract. Most companies offer a substantial discount if you agree to multiple rentals up front, even for various size exhibits and different designs.

Customization

Rental exhibits have come a long way. Work with a company that’s willing to offer customization so you can achieve your specific exhibit marketing goals. Everyone should be wondering, “Is it a rental or not?” There are a number of ways to achieve a custom look. It can be achieved with graphic applications and/or materials such as infill panels for conference rooms and workstations. Sometimes all it takes is a small accent piece with your corporate colors to make a big difference in the overall design. Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you don’t want to jazz it up a bit and give it your own personal touch. It should have a similar look and feel to an exhibit you would purchase but with the added benefit that you can change things out from show to show.

Graphics

Be sure you have all of the specs you need for your graphics. There are many graphic applications. Working with an exhibit professional will ensure that you choose the method that works best for your rental exhibit. And if you choose to sign a multiple show contract, you’ll want to design your graphics with future shows and exhibit designs in mind. There are usually graphic components that can be re-used, so keep that in mind as you work through each design concept.

Monitors

If you’re planning to use monitors, check that the mounts can be incorporated into the design. In other words don’t waste money on monitor stands if you can use the existing structure. A good rental exhibit company will offer a variety of solutions for monitors and wire management.

Cord/Wire Management

Review your wire management plans for any electrical cords for lighting, monitors, or any products in your booth. All too often, this is overlooked until you’re standing in your fully assembled booth. There’s nothing like that awful feeling of seeing a tangled bunch of cords and having no idea of how to hide them. There should be a plan for the cords and how to manage them long before you arrive in the show hall. Remember What You Own Keep a file (with photos and dimensions) of all of the graphics you own. More than likely they can be re-used for future shows. Exhibit companies often offer free storage services for graphics used for multiple rentals. In addition, note of any other items you included with your shipments to ensure everything gets returned.

The GreenFactor

Your decision to rent may not have come from a concern about the environment, but guess what, you couldn’t be using a greener exhibit! Many rental exhibits use sustainable components, such as recyclable aluminum, fabrics, and reusable packaging. Regardless, there’s no greener way to exhibit than by renting your exhibit. It’s worth promoting to your internal team and sharing with your customers in a pre- or post-show marketing campaign. And don’t forget the flooring. There are lots of green flooring alternatives.

Shipping

One of the reasons you decided to rent was because you wanted to lessen the headaches that come with managing your own exhibit property. Talk to your exhibit company about coordinating the shipping for all of your shows. One of the key benefits (other than just having one less thing to think about) is that if something goes wrong and a claim needs to be filed, the exhibit company will take care of it. Plus, they typically use the same carrier for most of their shipments so their rates are very competitive. Be sure to request a tracking number and notification that your shipment has arrived.

Set-up Instructions

This is very important! Be sure that set-up instructions/diagrams are part of the deal. Whether you’re supervising the set-up or contracting that service out to someone else, demand that you have instructions and photos showing how it goes together. This will save you a lot of time and money! Also make sure that the company you’re working with provides pre-show staging services and photographs before shipping the exhibit to your show. Photos serve two purposes: they’re very helpful during the set-up, and they’re proof that your finished exhibit looks the way it’s supposed to look.

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
Classic Exhibits Inc.

The Beauty of Smaller Trade Show Displays

The Power of a Smaller Display

On average, I see between 2,000 to 3,000 trade show displays every year. About 60% of those displays are in the 10 x 10 to 10 x 30 range. Multiply that by 15 years and that makes me either an expert on smaller exhibits … or just plain old.

It’s easy to be dismissive about smaller exhibits, in the same way some people are dismissive about small cars. I get that. A Corolla isn’t a Lexus and a Cruze isn’t a Cadillac. However, what I’ve learned over the years is that imagination, planning, and enthusiasm trumps booth size every time.

Let’s explore this from a non-trade show angle. Most of us have lived in apartments. Decorating an apartment takes imagination since you can’t make substantial changes — no removing walls, adding shelves, or painting it lime green. You want the apartment to reflect your tastes and interests, and still be warm and welcoming to guests. We’ve all walked into apartment in a soulless apartment complex and been ‘WOW’d’ by the tenant’s clever decorating, use of space, and personal touches. The tenant transformed nothing into something, often on a meager budget. I’ve found that it’s rarely about nice furniture or paintings. It’s about the details. They have a plan, they know themselves, and they are willing to put some effort into creating an attractive and livable space.

Details Matter

Smaller trade show displays are no different. The successful displays, or more importantly the successful exhibitors, approach it by having a plan and focusing on the details. They know there’s more to a trade show than buying a pop-up or a small hybrid and then designing graphics. It’s about achieving their trade show marketing goals.

Now don’t get me wrong. I see lots of beautiful smaller trade show displays with stunning graphics. We have eight years of exhibits photos on our website. What I rarely see are “stunning” trade show “programs” where the company does more than identify who they are and what they do. Outstanding exhibitors recognize that trade shows are theater. It’s about attracting, entertaining, engaging, and informing. It’s about leaving a lasting impression.

Let’s say your company manufacturers plumbing supplies. You exhibit at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, typically in a 20 ft. inline. This is an important show for your company. You have a portable hybrid exhibit with tension fabric graphics, which show your products, logo, website address, and company tagline. In addition, your flooring has distinctive graphics, like water. You have a nice meeting area for attendees and a small but accessible showcase with your products.

Now, let’s assume that what makes your company’s products different is how quickly they connect. You could show it on a graphic (which you should). But, if the connection is truly “faster” then make it a game and offer prizes. Challenge attendees to connect it and time them with a stop watch. Or have them assemble a competitors while you assemble your connector. If they can beat you, they win some larger than life prize (which will never happen). You become a destination stop for exhibitors during the show.

Pre-show Marketing Matters More Than Size

Too often, we don’t see smaller exhibits as having the visibility and star power of islands. But they can. Effective pre-show marketing will drive attendees to your booth, but once they are on the show floor, it’s all about the presentation, messaging, and engagement of your display and your team. Your display doesn’t have to look like a prefab, soulless exhibit any more than a big apartment complex does. By infusing it with your company’s personality, creativity, and planning and adding a dose of clever attendee interaction, it can be welcoming and personal.

It takes work . . . . but as a very smart boss of mine once said, “That’s a good thing!” Agree or disagree,  I’d enjoy hearing your comments.

Article Author:

Mel White