This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we’ll be looking at the trade show process through the client’s eyes, as we get ready for ExhibitorLive 2017.

Trade shows are, of course, a huge undertaking for any company. Some people estimate that trade shows affect as much as 75 percent of a company’s annual marketing budget.

Those numbers vary, of course, but when you add up the cost of the booth, fees, events, promotions, literature, travel, and everything else that’s involved with a trade show, it’s not hard to believe.

That makes planning crucial. You have to understand your goals, your customers, and what specifically you want to accomplish at a show. You can then move on to the design process to determine how the physical space of your booth will help you reach your goals.

Learning from past experience

ExhibitorLive is an important show for us, of course. It’s the trade show for the trade show business, and it’s where trade show managers and marketing executives from around the country go to see how they can improve their trade show marketing.

People are there for a reason. If they weren’t at least a little interested in finding a new exhibit house, they wouldn’t be walking the show floor. So our goal at the show was to give people walking by a reason to stop in and talk to us.

The age-old discussion in situations like this is quality versus quantity. In other words, do we want as many people as possible, or do we want fewer people who might be more interested in talking with us?

In the past, our focus was on volume. We executed a promotion that got lots of people in the booth, and it created a lot of activity and excitement. But it proved hard to manage, and we didn’t have many quality meetings.

There’s nothing wrong with volume, if that’s what you want. If your goals are simply to create brand awareness and expose as many people as possible to who you are, then an approach like what we did last year is perfect.

But for us, this year we want to focus on quality. Our goal is to have good meetings with attendees, get to know them, build a rapport, and show them what we can do. That just wouldn’t be possible with a frantic, high-volume promotion.

We also want to immerse anyone who enters our booth in our brand. Through the physical space, show them who we are and what we’re about.

The Design

With that in mind, we designed our booth. It’s the largest we’ve ever done for this show, and it has three main areas:

  • A relaxing lounge area that will invite people to come in, relax, and enjoy a lemonade. This will also give our sales people a chance to engage them in conversation.

  • A functional space with flat screens where we can show people our work and talk with them about their projects.

  • A fun, engaging area that grabs people’s attention and represents our brand.

We also wanted the booth to show off our design and building capabilities. This is the first time we’ve done a custom booth for ourselves, and custom booths are what we do best. So we pulled out the stops. The booth features reclaimed wood and a modern acrylic countertop, giving it an unusual texture and visual interest.

But the most important thing the booth will do is facilitate good traffic flow. Spacial awareness is usually the number one challenge of a trade show booth, even above branding. By creating dedicated areas to accommodate different kinds of attendee interactions, we will permit more meaningful discussions to occur.

Key Take-Aways

  • Be sure you understand your specific goals before you start your design - high-volume attendance, brand exposure, low-volume/high-quality meetings, or something in between.

  • Be aware of the spatial design of your booth to promote good traffic flow.

  • Remember: your booth is a physical representation of your brand.

See Us at ExhibitorLive

If you’re coming to the show, we’d love to see you! Just drop by or contact us to make an appointment.