What’s bugging you about your booth?

Here’s your chance to tell me exactly what’s driving you crazy about exhibitng and ask me your most pressing questions about booth design, selling or marketing at the show.  I know that there is very little exhibitor training going on in most companies. Many associations that exhibit have no clue what to do with their booth to maximize their investment or their time.  Are you unsure about where to put your table?  Confused about why your service bill is so high.  Maybe you can’t figure out just how many brochures or freebees you should bring to the show.  Do you know how many people should be in a 20′ inline booth?   I want to help.  Ask me anything. If I don’t have an answer I know I can connect you with someone who does.  The ball is in your court. Talk to me.



4 Responses to “What’s bugging you about your booth?”

  1. 1 Ben July 3, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve not yet displayed at a consumer/trade show. However, I have a question regarding promo/marketing items.

    Do you think the branded plastic “tote bags” are a good marketing tool for tradeshows? For example, at the recent Home and Garden show in Phoenix, Kinetico provided these plastic “tote bags” to just about everyone at the show. I would imagine these items are not that costly (except that they gave away thousands of them), and they provide a mini-walking billboard.

    Thanks for your comments,


  2. 2 susanratliff July 3, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for writing. I think giving away bags is a great way to get your name out there. Plastic totes are pretty cheap and are usually tossed away or stashed in a drawer after the show so they benefit you during the event, but not that much after. One company recently put a different twist on the bag thing. They had four digit numbers printed on every bag. Every two bags got the same number. (their’s were the nice canvas type) They created a match game theme at their booth. They handed out the bags to everyone they could and told them the objective was to find the other person at the show with a bag with your same number on it. Then both people would come back to the booth for a prize. Although I cannot remember all the details, I thought that was so clever. It forced everyone to search the show for their mate on that company’s bags. It caused a buzz throughout the show floor and brought people back to the company’s booth.

    The thing to remember when selecting a premium give-a-way is to pick something that enhances your marketing message or ties into the theme of your exhibit. For example: I know a plumbing company that gave away plungers with their company name and phone number on the handle. A pest control company gave away fly swatters. I give away book marks with my top ten tips for tradeshow success.
    Some people miss the fact that the premium gift or give-away should be used as a tool to reward a prospect for doing something. Dropping off a business card, taking a survey or watching a demo. Don’t place those pens or mouse pads on a table for anyone to snatch. Make them work for them. Hope that helps. Find out more about exhibiting at http://www.exhibitexpertsaz.com or about me at http://www.susanratliffpresents.com

  3. 3 K July 22, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Susan,

    We have a small gourmet food company with packaged, shelf stable products. The look is very upscale, with each product line having a distinct color. Each item is the same small size.

    We’ve done a few shows in the past, and it’s always a bit awkward having customers sample everything and choosing the flavors they like. Sometimes they’ll buy multiple varieties, but it seems like each sale takes quite a while and requires a lot of selling. We’ve also just done a pretty flat lay ’em out on the table display and that doesn’t seem to be working very well at all so we’re exploring using different heights. Also, sometimes we have trouble even getting customers to notice our booths – sometimes they literally walk right by and we don’t seem to have even fallen under their radar at all. It’s hard to tell what we’re selling at a distance (I can’t give you more details about the products as I want to remain completely anonymous).

    Any ideas on nice displays for this type of product? Any promotion ideas? One idea we had was to give away a free raffle ticket with any purchase and raffle off a nice gift basket related to our products (we can do this at a pretty low cost). We’d also like to do food samples that use our products, but this can get expensive.

    Our budget is pretty tiny, so we can’t do any large printed graphics or anything, but are capable of nice, small in-house printing.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  4. 4 susanratliff July 26, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Sorry, I missed answering you sooner. Here goes.
    Sampling: Yes, it is very expensive to sample food products with the intention of selling them there at the show. Much of the time you are just feeding a whole lot of uninterested attendees. In addition, it sounds like you offer so many selections that it takes up too much time of the sales staff trying to get them to make a decision.
    Suggestion. Don’t try to bring everything you sell. Select your best selling products or even your least favorites (to get rid of ) and put together some “show specials” That is, select an assortment, package them together in a pretty way, price them to sell and only sell those three or four packages. This does a few things. It cuts down their choices to speed up decision making time, provides them with a variety of products to try(maybe some they might not have picked,but could end up liking), less items fyou need to sample moves more product then they might have bought otherwise, That’ one idea. Very important point: Be sure you are consistently asking for prospects contact information so those that aren’t closed can receive a solicitation,info about your full like, after the show.
    Getting them to the booth.
    Consider comparison taste test to get them over and also make them fill out a short questionaire to get contacts for your database.
    YOu say they just walk by. That’s not unusual. Everyone will walk by if your staff does not have a strategy to engage them. YOu cannot wait for them to come over, you must be pro-active. The display is there to attract their attention for a few seconds. It is up to the staff to engage them and start a sales dialog.

    You are not falling under the radar. You do need to spend more time on your exhibit and booth decoration. Elevation is very important. Vary the heights of the products, bring them closer to eye level. Use props to enhance them. ( I’ve got some ideas, but it would take a longer conversation with you) YOu say you are on a tight budget, so instead of giving things away, you really need to spend a little time and money on your image at the booth. Professional signs, maybe coordinated table covers. You don’t have to spend alot.
    There is lots to learn. My book might help you. Exhibit Like an Expert. Find more info and some resources on my website http://www.susanratliffpresents.com. If you want to talk in more detail, call me. 602-437-3634 Hope this helps

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