“Out With the Old Trade Show Display”

We’ve seen the story time and time again.

A company purchases a large exhibit, takes it on the road to trade shows and events, and generates a fantastic ROI in part from using the exhibit to illustrate their message and brand. Fast-forward twenty years…

These same large, heavy and now outdated trade show displays are suffering the fate of having to sit in warehouses collecting dust and costing their owners money in storage fees. At this point, the thought of disposing the exhibit may seem like a good idea.

Before considering any disposal options, it’s important to know that the tradeshow display probably appears as an asset on a company’s books so if it’s disposed of, it will result in a loss on financial statements. Add to this the fact that the display may consist of some hazardous materials, creating significant disposal costs.

It’s wise to be realistic about the value of a used tradeshow display. Companies generally want to design a new booth to their own specifications. If the original display closely matches their needs, the option of refurbishment can be more cost-effective than purchasing a brand new system. In some instances unfortunately, a revamp of an older display might end up costing more than the system is worth. It is not unusual for tradeshow booths that originally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to be nearly worthless in the used market.

So… what are your other options?

Bite the bullet. Get a quote from your display company, pay the handling and disposal fees, write off the loss, and move on. (This is a major reason many companies choose to only rent their displays).

Try to sell your old tradeshow booth. Gather as much information about the display as possible. Photos, drawings and inventory lists are critical to success. Post the display on a used exhibit web site (ie. http://www.exhibitrader.com). Ebay and Craigslist might work to sell portable exhibits but larger displays probably won’t get much attention. Be realistic about an asking price.

Make a deal with your exhibit company. See if you can roll the old booth into the purchase or rental of a new display. Showing a “trade in allowance” on the contract will be much easier on the financial statements and also eliminate your disposal liability.

Donate your booth. Try to find a charity or company that might have some use for all or part of the display. Sometimes giving the display a second chance is more worthwhile than simply disposing of it.

Deciding what to do with an outdated display can seem like a daunting process, but with a little time and research, you should have no trouble making the right decision.

SOURCE:  Alexis Exhibits Blog, www.alexisexhibits.com

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Trade Shows

With more and more companies looking to stretch their marketing dollars, virtual trade shows are becoming commonplace for a multitude of industries. Virtual trade shows look and function like real trade shows, but take place in cyberspace. The online venue may even be designed to look like a convention center, complete with a lobby, lounge and exhibit hall featuring a variety of booths from exhibitors in various industries.

Many of the benefits of virtual trade shows work to the advantage of companies with smaller budgets who cannot always afford the expensive (but necessary) task of attending actual events. Larger companies tend to have a clear advantage in that they can afford the extra costs for premium booth space, podium presentation time, and top advertising on event programs and banners. The cost of this level of participation can sometimes be upwards of  $100,000. Virtual shows offer much smaller entry fees for exhibitors, and little to no entry fee for attendees.

While many of the benefits of these shows are monetary, there are several other reasons to consider exhibiting in or attending a virtual trade show. Exhibitors may track materials that have been downloaded by visitors, giving them a better idea of what marketing messages are more effective than others. Virtual trade shows also cut down on travel time and costs. Since you can run your booth and attend others with the click of a mouse, you are free to do this from anywhere in the world. Virtual trade shows are becoming an attractive “green” alternative to real trade shows.

Despite all of the benefits of holding and attending virtual trade shows, there are a few down sides. First of all, networking opportunities are much more limited when you are not actually walking the aisles of a show, bumping into possible new clients and business contacts. While there are opportunities to “socialize” in the virtual realm, a conversation through an instant message format doesn’t compare to a professional face-to-face conversation. The lack of physical presence also prevents any opportunities to touch and experiment with new products.

If you tend to get easily distracted, virtual trade shows may not be for you. Staying immersed in the show and not in other activities or work can be difficult, as Facebook and email are only a click away.

With more and more businesses increasing the level of technology and “greenness” in their offices, virtual trade shows continue to become more popular. However, depending on the personality of your company and the nature of your products or services, the informal and hands-off environment may or may not be ideal.

When it comes to participating in real trade shows, take this into consideration: a survey was conducted that determined the average cost to contact a prospect in the field was $308 where the average cost to contact a prospect who visited your trade show booth was $212 – about 45% less than field sales. We hope this overview was beneficial in helping you determine if virtual or real trade shows are the way to go for your company.

SOURCE:  Rachael Hill, Map-Dynamics.com