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Planning for a trade show doesn’t mean that you have to become a nervous wreck for months. Even if you’re new to the industry, you can have a successful, scare-free show experience. As a consultant for hundreds of newbie and veteran trade show exhibitors, I hear myself giving certain suggestions quite often. Here’s a short list of simple, yet very important tips that you may want to consider during your trade show planning.

1.       Be aware of show form deadlines. Double check deadlines just to be safe that you do not miss anything.  Missing a deadline can sometimes double certain costs!


2.       Pay attention to show rules and regulations. Make sure that you not only read the rules and regulations carefully, but that you also understand them. Is your exhibit breaking height or self setup regulations?  Remember, these can change with the city, venue, show contractor, as well as booth size.


3.       Properly train your booth staff. Just because they are seasoned sales representatives, doesn’t mean they are going to be efficient and effective selling at a trade show. Keep in mind that speaking with prospects and clients during a trade show is going to require a different process than day to day sales encounters due to the drastic change of environment (number of people, time available, space, additional pressures). Since 85% of what people remember is their interaction with the booth staffer, ensure that everyone has an appropriate technique to promote your business!


4.       Make sure your crates stand out. Decorating your crates makes them easier to find if misplaced. (Yes this can happen even when you do everything correctly!) You can paint your crates, add colored tape, or sometimes a simple piece of ribbon might save you hours of searching for a big dark crate among thousands of other big dark crates.


5.       Remember to consolidate your shipments. With each shipment, most trade show contractors will charge minimums on drayage. With an average rate of $78/100lbs, and minimum weight per shipment at 200 pounds, that’s over $150 just to bring in one shipment! By consolidating your shipments you will minimize unnecessary drayage costs.


6.       Ship to the advanced warehouse. Shipping to the advanced warehouse will give you piece of mind that your exhibit will be in your booth space the first day for set-up. Shipping direct to the show site can have you waiting during valuable set up hours and nervous about your shipment’s location. It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on your shipments with tracking numbers and piece counts.


7.       Prepare backup and duplicates for all Audio Visual presentations. When you have already spent the time and money on your electronic equipment, cases, shipping, drayage, and set up, the last thing you want to do is end up with a blank screen. That space that was strategically integrated into the exhibit layout now is empty and the well planned reformatted sales process now must be altered last minute! There may be a person back at the office to send the presentation. But, if it’s not a small file, uploading or overnight mailing is only going to add stress to an already hectic day. Be smart, load up your flash drive and relax.


8.       Bring confirmation of all show form orders should a mistake occur.  It’s also smart to send your I&D team copies of show forms. Most good I&D companies will check them to make sure that all requests have been met. If something is incomplete, they will know where to go and how to get it done quickly.


9.       Do not tear down your booth early. Not only will some shows penalize you for doing this, but you could also lose out on the opportunity to talk with prospects or other exhibitors at the show.




So, what’s all this buzz about social media? What started as innovative online networks that helped tweens remember birthdays, share party pictures and keep track of who’s dating who has developed into the latest marketing channel.  Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and others have proven themselves to be very successful advertising tools and have just about everyone scrambling to figure out the best way to integrate social networking into their marketing mix.  

These sites are fantastic because of their organic nature — they are very low cost compared to other advertising mediums, yet have an international outreach that spreads like news of swine flu! The audience is extremely broad.  On one hand, you’ve got users who live and breathe through these sites (and we love to watch videos that poke fun at them). Conversely, some people think they are an absolute waste of time and only log in for a specific reason, like when they receive a message or photo notification.  

In the marketing world, social networking absolutely can be a waste of time if you’re not working it correctly. The trick to successfully cracking social networking is figuring out how to use it to help you achieve your goals.  

Learn what you can about how each type of social media works — ways you can search to make contacts, what interactive component options are available, how much time you should spend to keep up your profile effectively, and so on. Once you’ve created accounts, make sure you have an effective program to keep promotions current, respond to posts, and manage updates and tracking programs.

Your strategy can be as unique as your brand; however, it’s always a great idea to take a look at some of the successful campaigns out there. Check out this vast list from guru Peter Kim to get you started.

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July 2018
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