Trade Show Exhibit Marketing Tips and Advice

Give attendees what they want

Posted on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

When planning your upcoming exhibits, how much do you think about what attendees at that show want … or are you simply including all the things you (and others who have a say within your company) want to show off?

Perhaps you’re not even sure what attendees want in the first place. That’s where studies done by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) come in handy. Earlier this month, they released a report titled “Quick Guide on Attendee Preferences by Industry Sector”which includes answers from 421 respondents in 14 industries. And while the ranking of answers may vary somewhat by industry, the top two shopping-related reasons attendees go to trade shows are consistent across the board:

  1. See new technology
  2. Ability to talk to experts
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Topics: trade show leads, generating leads at trade shows, trade show booth planning, effective trade show business, marketing at trade show events

Brainstorming ideas for trade show booth designs

Posted on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Trade shows are an excellent way to highlight your company’s goods or services. It allows you to market your brand to hundreds or thousands of potential customers in a relatively short time frame. The one thing to remember about trade shows is that you have one chance to shine and one opportunity to turn each visitor to your booth into a customer. The first thing that trade show attendees are going to notice is your booth design. You literally have about five seconds to grab their attention or watch them walk away. Here is a look at the top ten things to remember when brainstorming trade show booth designs.

1. Objective
Before you even sit down to discuss your booth design, you and your team must first develop a professional objective for the trade show. Is your goal to gather customer contact information, increase the recognition of your brand, or get people talking about your company, or is making sales your main goal? This is important information to know and is essential to aid in the development of your booth design.

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Topics: booth designs, trade show display design, marketing messages, booth design, effective trade show business

5 trade show marketing mistakes

Posted on Tue, Jan 20, 2015

The U.S. trade show industry is BIG. In 2012, there were 10,900 trade shows that drew 27 million attendees. While the overall industry has grown 2-3% in 2014, not all shows have seen this increase. Many are not growing and/or seeing a decrease in their margin/profit.  Part of the challenge today for trade show marketers is to cost effectively attract attendees.

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Topics: chicago trade show services, generating leads at trade shows, exhibit investment, trades show results, tradeshow success

Tradeshow Network Marketing Group Expands Its Exhibit Services in 2015

Posted on Thu, Jan 15, 2015

The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group is expanding its services for trade show exhibitors and has produced their first commercial for 2015, “Talk to the Exhibit House that Listens!”  This video was designed to help exhibitors understand the benefits of working with an exhibit company that takes the time to get to know their business and marketing objectives. 

trade show exhibit house video“We believe that listening to our customers is the cornerstone of our success,” said Chris Roberts, president of The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group. “We recommend that any company looking to create a new exhibit begin by sharing their overall business strategy and marketing goals with us so we can create an exhibit design that supports their goals and brand image and meets their budget requirements.” The firm offers a Business Review Questionnaire for free download at  to help clients articulate their goals for trade show marketing.

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Topics: chicago trade show services, modular trade show display, custom display designs, booth designs, custom booth designs, exhibit designs, rental exhibits in chicago

What does the trade show marketing business hold in 2015?

Posted on Thu, Jan 08, 2015

The outlook for 2015 could not be better. At The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group, our multi-year investment in custom rental components and creatively designed solutions has helped to satisfy our clients’ needs for high-end exhibit designs at a fraction of the cost of a comparable new exhibit.  In addition, with reliable, experienced partners who assist in our trade show marketing efforts all around the country, our integrated customer service continues to help clients prepare for future events – from the initial design concept through show services.

With optimism about the future business environment, The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group will continue to build on the principles of putting customer needs first while controlling expenses to minimize costs and risks for our clients.  Our plan for 2015 is to continue this proven long-term strategy by offering clients a fully customized rental exhibit solution that will meet their brand design and budgeting requirements. 

We believe that listening to our customers is the cornerstone of our success. A number of our clients have asked for an easier way to understand the budget requirements for smaller exhibit designs by utilizing our online tools.  As a result, we will enhance our proprietary exhibit design search tools to include pricing estimates for each design to assist both new and existing clients.  Clients who search our design gallery will be able to easily determine which design best fits their corporate image and budget objectives. Of course, we are always happy to answer questions about display options, including fully custom designs, but our online gallery of standard exhibits and accessories will help clients quickly determine all the important parameters prior to requesting additional information.

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Topics: chicago trade show services, modular trade show display, custom display designs, booth designs, exhibit designs, custom exhibit designs, island rental booths, 20x20 rental exhibits

What do you say when you don’t know the answer

Posted on Tue, Jan 06, 2015

One of my personal pet peeves happens I ask a sales person a question and they don’t know the answer but give one of two responses: 

  1. They shrug their shoulders and go on and talk about something else, or
  2. Invent an answer and then present it with absolute conviction.

When you are shopping at a store you can either overlook the naivety of what you are hearing or walk out and visit a competitor. This situation is exaggerated one hundred fold when the competition is located ten feet away in the next booth at a trade show. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your future trade show exhibit show plans:

Don’t assume

No one knows everything about everything so the expectation, is that even your seasoned sales people will occasionally be stumped. Not knowing an answer is okay. It’s a mistake to assume that years on the job arms staff with answers to obscure questions is a mistake. Use your experienced senior staff. They may be able to help particularly with newer recruits. It is also important to remind your seasoned staff that newer recruits often have valuable ideas that should be listened to. 

Develop an open culture

What is important in any business is a culture where people have the opportunity of sharing difficult questions with peers and managers in order to avoid being embarrassed in the future. Every manager should have a repository of questions that staff have faced in the past along with tips on how to answer them in the future. Then as part of the pre-show preparation ensure that each of your booth people review the questions and answers and if they have any concerns, encourage them to ask for clarification.

Balance the staff schedule

When you are planning your booth schedule ensure that you include both seasoned and less experienced staff members in the same shift. This might take a bit of persuasion because often staff members are more comfortable with colleagues they work with regularly. But when you intentionally mix your groups you give each staff member an amazing treasure trove of information.

Be diplomatic

When one staff member spots another saying the wrong thing to a customer they should be diplomatic about corrections, Barging into the conversation with a customer saying, “That’s not how we do it,” makes everyone look foolish and the customer will likely feel uncomfortable. It would be better to say nothing and wait until the customer leaves to correct the colleague out of earshot of other visitors.

Daily debriefing

At the end of each day debrief your booth staff. You can do it formally in a scheduled meeting or in a more relaxed setting where the day’s war stories can be told. Take notes at these briefings and keep track of ideas that will be of help not only for the next day but in future customer relations.

The value of the time taken to ensure that your customers get information that is relevant, timely and accurate is immeasurable.

Guest Blogger:  Barry Siskind.  Barry is a trade show consultanttrainer, speaker and internationally recognized expert in trade and consumer shows.

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Topics: trade show business, face-to-face marketing, generating leads at trade shows, marketing at trade shows, pre-show briefing

Are You Nurturing Your Leads?

Posted on Tue, Dec 16, 2014

Only one out of 50 sales deals happen following the first meeting with a prospect, and 80 percent of deals come on the fifth contact or later,according to various sales studies. Yet it seems many trade show exhibitors give up after making only one contact following a show … if that.  I doubt any exhibitor sets out to ignore the leads they’ve worked so hard to gather. Using a strategic follow-up campaign is crucial, yet few exhibitors have any type of campaign in place prior to going to a show so that it’s a plug-and-play process afterwards. The hottest leads should get immediate follow-up, but what about that 80 percent that take time to convert into sales? Nurture them!

im_main_9-9Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases, according to research from the Annuitas Group.  Yet 65 percent of B2B marketers have no established lead nurturing plan, according to MarketingSherpa. One of my business mentors puts it like this: Your business is like a shopping mall, with multiple points of entry and escalators moving up and down. Don’t assume all leads want the same kind of contact from you. It’s important to provide content that addresses each stage of the buying process to connect with them where they are: research, consideration, evaluation, point of purchase, or post-purchase loyalty.

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Topics: exhibit investment, effective trade show business, marketing at trade show events

Interactive Rental Components In Your Exhibit Get More Attention

Posted on Thu, Dec 04, 2014

Having a booth on the trade show or convention floor always involves some kind of risk - will they stop by, will it be inviting enough, will it pack them in?  But using the right elements can give you the best return on your investment in trade show display rentals. One of the best ways to generate interest and create buzz is to include audio visual elements and special lighting. By including the latest audio and visual equipment, you’ll send the message that your company is successful, cutting-edge and innovative. You’ll also enhance your booth’s overall message and engage visitors on a deeper level while attracting more attention.

Studies have shown that if a message is presented in multiple formats it is retained longer in the memory. So if you want attendees to remember your company’s message, presenting it visually on an LCD screen as well as on banners is a step in the right direction. Adding sound from a laptop video, a company jingle or an engaging but brief demonstration will reinforce the message even more.

Tablet computers frequently make appearances at marketing and industry events these days because they’re easy to carry, fun to use and relatively inexpensive to lease or rent for a long weekend or a few weeks at a time. Visitors to your exhibit area will immediately respond to requests for contact information if they can quickly and easily fill out the information on an iPad or other tablet. You can also use tablets or rented laptops to provide a virtual tour of your manufacturing facility, home office or other relevant site. Visitors love to give input, so consider creating an online survey that attendees can answer using the electronic devices you’ve included with your trade show display rentals. Do you have an online catalogue of your products or services? Set up an interactive kiosk where visitors can browse your catalogue and place their orders at the event.

Create An Active, Real Time Social Media Environment

Display your company blog on large television screens and encourage visitors to post their own comments. They’ll enjoy seeing their posts on the big screen and you’ll be increasing your links at the same time. Better yet, set up a Twitter account and create a custom hash tag that others can use to post their own tweet. You can invite guests to connect via LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media. The traffic you’ll generate when using rented screens, tablets and projectors can keep things going long after you’ve sent your trade show display rentals back to the rental company.

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Topics: interative booth, trade show technology, Trade Show Experience, marketing at trade show events, 20x20 rental exhibits

Network like a Pro

Posted on Tue, Dec 02, 2014

One of the highest ranking reasons that attendees identify for visiting an exhibition or event is their ability to connect with high value people. This rationale is at the heart of any trade event which has buyers and sellers from a broad geographic reach under one roof for a finite amount of time. Networking always has been and will continue to be what trade shows are all about.  With the advances in technology, which seems to have moved people away from face to face contact, the need to network in person has never been greater. Yet, meeting strangers is, for many people, on the top of the list of social fears. These people ignore the potential benefits of networking and use excuses like:

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Topics: marketing at trade shows, trade show advice, effective trade show business, marketing at events

GPS Your Exhibit Marketing Workshop - it's free!

Posted on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

You’ve been plugging away at your exhibit marketing … you’ve been pushed and prodded to improve on current results and you’re exhausted. Or you’re not getting the results you desire because you’re on autopilot — relying on doing things the way you’ve always done in the past. I get it! You’re spread far too thin — with budget, time & resources — and you feel like you’re constantly falling behind, trying so hard to keep up with the logistics of exhibiting that you miss the strategies which can increase your results dramatically. But before you throw up your hands in frustration, what if you could get a strategic roadmap together for future shows … and the only cost is an hour of your time? That’s exactly what you’ll learn to create in the “GPS Your Exhibit Marketing” workshop! 

When you set out on a long-distance road trip to a place you’ve never been before, odds are you don’t just jump behind the wheel and start driving. Instead, you probably study a map or program your destination into your GPS System. So why not let me help you create a GPS to guide you in your exhibit marketing for the coming year?

Why can’t everyone see the path to success? There are two primary reasons:
  • Too busy focused on logistics vs. strategy – By the time you get all the details handled (booking space, purchasing your display, making necessary travel arrangements, etc.), there’s no time or energy left to think about your promotions or staffing strategies.
  • Outside the current range of view – The solution might be something so innovative and new that it can’t be recognized without an outside perspective.
You’ll come away from the workshop with systems and tools to help you:
  • Set goals and select shows that align with them
  • Project a budget that maximizes ROI
  • Evaluate your booth display and select the appropriate vendor
  • Select, educate, reward and inspire your staff
  • Team up with show management to increase visibility
  • Plus … a Strategic Planning Guide that provides a roadmap for your exhibit marketing
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Topics: planning for a trade show, Trade Show Planning, trade show investment, marketing at trade show events, Trade Show Budget

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