The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success

The 5 L's of Exhibit Success
The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

As I was cleaning my office the other day, I came across an article in Trade Show Week that was written almost 20 years ago by Michael Falkowitz, who, at that time, was Sales Development Manager at Nabisco.

Although it was printed some time ago, I would like to share a few lines of timeless advice from that article.

Following are five principles that will ensure both exhibit and job success:

* Learn:

Never stop learning.  The huge technical development that can be [attained] at trade shows is one example of the reasons why exhibit managers must continue to learn. Being a successful exhibit manager will involve knowing and applying this ever-evolving technology.

* Love:

Maintain a positive attitude even in stressful times. Respond to all inquiries. Ours is a communication business. It is rude [to] not respond to phone calls. Know everything there is to know about your company, and go the extra mile, no matter what task you face.

* Laugh:

Keeping a sense of humor can see you through stressful periods and make your- and your team members’- jobs much easier.

* Labor:

Like going the extra mile, doing the best possible job will help make your exhibit the center of attention. Hard work and sacrifice are part of the job.

* Leave:

When the show is done, it’s time to take back what you have learned and start applying those principles to the next trade show.

In closing, it is important to remember that a tradeshow display is not a museum. It’s a billboard, a time-compressed live marketing event and a communication process. Creating an exhibit that’s the center of attention is a matter of taking advantage of those features creatively.

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Why Halloween’s #1 Rule Applies to Trade Shows
Courtesy of Flickr

When you think of Halloween, you might picture hordes of youngsters at your door, on their crusade for free candy.  One thing all those kids will have in common is that they have to earn it, by shouting “trick or treat!”

When you’re exhibiting at a trade show, sometimes working at a booth can feel like that as well.  You’ll see tire-kickers coming from across the hall, “trade show trick-or-treaters”, with large branded totes full of free pens, stress-relief-balls and, of course, candy.  They’re probably not planning on doing business with very many vendors; they are scouring the show floor, looking to fill their bags with free stuff.  What’s an exhibitor to do?

Obviously, you’re not going to ask trade show attendees to say “trick-or-treat!”  However, you should try to get them to earn the free item by having a conversation with you.

Consider these ideas to make the most of your promos:

  • Keep free candy & giveaways towards the back of your booth, to avoid “hit & run” behavior.  Put these items on display, but compel the attendee to enter your space and interact with your salespeople.
  • If you tend to give out candy, consider serving mints, as these are inexpensive treats that can help to ensure your booth staffers have fresh breath, too.  (This is Face-to-Face Marketing, after all!)
  • Use promotional products as a conversation–starter.  Something as simple as “Have you seen one of these before?” can break the ice and quickly pivot into a chat with the attendee.  This is a perfect chance to build rapport for a future business relationship
  • Ideally, promotional gifts should be branded with your logo, be an item with some usefulness & be relevant to your organization.  (Hint: use something more creative than a pen or sticky-note pad!)
  • Use this opportunity to qualify leads before inviting them to take a gift.  Collect business cards & ask to scan badges; take notes about their company’s needs, schedule a follow-up if appropriate.
  • Focus on distributing your giveaways to the most valuable prospects you meet.  Let’s face it, the freebies really aren’t free… your company had to pay for them, hoping that future business would come your way.

The most important lesson here is this: don’t let the “trick or treaters” distract you from your goals of meeting prospects, writing orders & obtaining leads.  A disciplined approach to handing out free items should help you to engage with more clients at your next event.  Remember, giveaways can have an important role in your trade show strategy, as long as they are targeted to the right people.

Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 


Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <;.

Managing Marketing Budgets In Tough Economic Times

There’s no doubt that all businesses are facing tough economic conditions these days. Fortunately, it’s not those conditions that determine the future, but how our companies respond to those conditions.

When the economy tightens – as it always does at times – the first action of many companies is to cut costs. Too often, marketing and sales is one of the first cuts. On the surface, this seems like a wise decision. However, cutting sales and marketing may prove detrimental to your company as a whole.

This is our sixth recession since 1970.

Our country made it through recessions in 1970, 1974-75, 1981-82, 1990-91, and as recent as 2001. Think about this for a moment. Was your company in business during any of these recessions? Did you stay in business? Did you keep your job and avoid ending up broke and on the streets? You probably answered yes to all three questions. Are you still in business today? If so, let’s take a collective deep breath and realize we’ve been here before and we’ve made it through.

In tough economic times, what does your company need most?

If you’re like most, you need sales revenue and customers. Ask yourself and your team how reducing or cutting the marketing budget (that brings revenue and customers) is a prudent and smart thing to do for your company. Keep your marketing budget the same or increase it, and make sure your marketing investments are delivering what you need most – sales revenue and customers.

Various studies on the impact of marketing spending during various recessions all point to the same conclusion: “Companies who maintain or increase their marketing budgets during recessions experience sales growth two to three times higher than those who reduce or cut their budget. And not just during the recessionary period but for up to two years after.”

Don’t be afraid to go forward with your marketing and maintain a quiet and calm confidence that in times like these, many of your less informed competitors will reduce their marketing budgets. In doing so, they’ll create more space for your company to capture and increase mindshare and build market share. Do everything you can to make sure your marketing and tradeshow investments are positioned for maximum success. It’s important to get involved, use the ideas that make sense for you and keep your company and our economy strong and growing.

SOURCE: Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge

Start Your Trade Show Season Right

As the New Year dawns upon us, so too rises another Trade Show season. Hopefully you are refreshed and relaxed from the holidays, and can approach the upcoming year with a fresh outlook and a positive attitude. Whether you attended one show or a dozen, now is the time to recap and review what worked and what you need to improve upon the next time around.

As a reminder, here are several essential points to consider in planning your yearly Trade Show strategy:

What do you hope to get out of the trade show experience?

  • Are you focusing on promoting or launching a new product?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Is it time to consider an International show, which is a great forum to reach exhibitors and attendees from all over the globe?
  • Is a National show, which attracts targeted attendees from a 300-mile radius and beyond, a better approach for your company?
  • Don’t discard Regional and Local shows, which attract attendees from the immediate vicinity.

When choosing a trade show, make sure that it is within your budget, in a serviceable location, it occurs at a convenient time, and attracts your target audience.

To help you in your trade show planning process, please click on the image below to help you find the right shows for your company:

Remember to choose the shows that will give you the best return on your investment!

Multi-Facted View of Trade Show Entertainment

With the plethora of companies all vying for visitors’ attention, it’s the ones that stand out from the crowd that get noticed. People are drawn by glitter and excitement, but turned off by dull and boring exhibits. In essence, entertainment makes it all a lot more interesting. So, how can you add pizzazz -– some trade show entertainment — into your exhibit marketing without breaking the bank? The following are seven ways to incorporate a little bit of trade show biz to get you noticed.

Think like Disney.

What does Disney do that every exhibitor should emulate? Disney injects a show business mentality into everything it does by creating an image that makes people smile and lets them know they’re in for a first-class experience. Disney employees undergo rigorous customer service training and are famous for their courtesy, cheerfulness, and problem-solving skills. So when planning your pre-show marketing strategies, remember to think like Disney. Everything you do to promote and implement your trade shows involvement must be first-class, creative, and professional.

Make your exhibit an unforgettable experience.

Saturate your exhibit with sensory appeal. Color, shapes, sounds, textures, smells and entertainment, along with a high degree of interactivity, all help to make your exhibit unforgettable.

Make your exhibit interactive.

When people manipulate objects they often form an attachment to them. They get an idea of how the products work and are more excited about the possibility of buying them. Set up audio-visual displays that visitors can easily operate — they will feel like they are part of the experience as they connect with your products or services. Remember to make it fun.

Put the Web to work.

You can interact with potential attendees through your website, both in your pre-show and at-show exhibit marketing. Make sure that there are a lot of fun things to do. Use games to inform, to educate and to help them find out more about your products and services. Entice them to visit your booth to collect their prize or giveaway for their game participation.

Make your exhibits fun.

Live trade show entertainment, money blowing machines, virtual games, educational seminars, clowns, puppeteers, and magicians are just a few of the tools you can use to make your exhibit fun and informative. Don’t rely on your products alone to sell the show biz experience. Booths filled with inanimate objects are boring and won’t capture the attention of your audience.

Provide lots of comfortable space.

Make sure you have enough space at your booth to comfortably accommodate visitors. Don’t try to cram as many products as possible into the space allotted. A cramped booth environment does not allow attendees free rein to wander comfortably.

Inject show biz excitement into your advertising and public relations.

Without resorting to hyperbole, your pre-show marketing should reflect the excitement, creativity, and flavor of your exhibit. Observe how the producers of movies and Broadway musicals advertise their shows.

Remember you are in show biz, and your job is implement trade shows entertainment. Your exhibit space is your stage. In order to generate interest, you must put on a performance (your form of tradeshow entertainment) that will keep attendees riveted and eager to come back for the sequel.

Excerpts from an article written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, an industry expert who works with companies to enhance meeting and event success.

The Top Five Reasons to Exhibit Now

Today we are featuring a helpful article from
Tips for Exhibitors in a Changing Economy 

Tradeshows are valuable sales and marketing vehicles to generate business through qualified leads and build brand awareness and relationships.

“However, with shrinking budgets and an uncertain economy, executives may be inclined to increase scrutiny of their trade show program,” says Rob Murphy, chief marketing officer, MC2.

To help marketing executives justify continued investment in tradeshow programs, MC2 has five top reasons to exhibit and maximize tradeshow participation in a changing economy.

1. Connect with more customers in less time
Tradeshows are one of the most efficient methods of marketing. It is an opportunity to connect with a lot of customers and specifiers in a short amount of time in one location. This focus translates into efficiency of time and effort, and therefore, dollars.

2. Uncertain times mean serious business
During an uncertain economy, budgets may tighten, but the need for new products and services does not necessarily stop. People attending tradeshows are serious about doing business; by not being present companies risk missed business opportunities. Think in terms of the quality not quantity of the tradeshows in your program.

3. ROI is not a luxury
Tradeshow impressions, contacts, leads and sales have measurable results with an actual value. Overall costs are easily computed. When reporting results to upper management and boards of directors, ROI is not a luxury, it is essential.

4. Showcase your brand without competitors
Consider exhibiting at a vertical tradeshow. This allows your brand to connect with a specific audience without the distraction of your competitors. For example, a high-end auto brand exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show, which put this luxury vehicle in front of a huge, affluent audience.

5. Greater Risk in Being Absent
Consider the long-term effect of not exhibiting at tradeshows. Especially in a bad economy, being absent from key shows instantly makes you a non-player in the field.

What You Can Do Now
• Before you reduce the number of tradeshows from your budget, quantify and qualify your investment. Why are we cutting our tradeshow schedule? Why are we not benefiting from our tradeshow participation? What are we not doing right?

• Establish a process for following up sales leads to get the most out of your tradeshow experience. Are you using all the necessary tools to measure and weigh results properly? Are you gathering and analyzing the right information?

• Engage staff and clearly communicate your company’s strategy to ensure everyone is on the same page. Do you mandate staff training in order to run a well-choreographed, efficient show?

• Consider the architecture of your exhibit to enhance each visitor’s experience with your company and its brand. Are you using or incorporating rental property in your exhibit? Is your booth design consistent with your branding and messaging platforms?