Archive for January, 2011

Rounding out the top 10 resolutions for your booth

Here are two more New Years Resolutions for your 2011 exhibit marketing program.  Let me know if you have any others to add. 

9.  All chairs will be removed from my booth from this day forward.

Nothing makes me rush past an exhibit faster than seeing someone sitting behind a table looking restless and bored except two people sitting behind a table talking to each other. Your representatives should be standing up and attentive to all those passing by. If a break is needed, leave the booth.

10.  At no time will I resort to purchasing cheap graphics or display materials to represent my company.

Image is everything on the show floor. You have only one chance at your booth to show attendees you respect your company brand, believe you have value to offer, and will be around a long time to service and support them.  Hand-written signs, graphics printed from your computer, cardboard displays from the office supply store, cheap plastic exhibits from the school supplies catalogs, used products from unknown manufactures on the internet, do not convey an image of success or longevity.  Purchase your display  materials and graphics from a reputable exhibit company that sells commercial-grade display products and provides professional guidance and graphic design services so your company can shine at the show and project an image you can be proud of.

Susan Ratliff is The Exhibit Expert.  Nationally recognized as an authority on tradeshows and event marketing, Susan is an author, professional speaker, event producer and founder of the award-winning portable display company, Exhibit Experts Inc. Contact Susan for exhibiting products and services or to speak to your group:    602-437-3634   Copyright 2011 Susan Ratliff Presents Inc.

8 New Year’s Resolutions for your tradeshow program

This is it. The perfect time to turn over a new leaf, change your ways, improve bad habits.  It’s a fresh start for you and your tradeshow team to make improvements so 2011 will bring you maximum profits and productivity from every tradeshow.  Take note of my suggestions and pass them along to your crew with my blessings for a prosperous year.

1.  I will refrain from staffing my booth with too many people.

 Prospective clients find it very intimidating to approach your exhibit when four men in dark suits are hovering behind the table at the front of your space.  Maintain a maximum of two people for every 10’x10’ booth.  Present a welcoming smile and inviting posture that encourages engagement.

2.  I promise to create graphic messages that describe the benefits our company offers.

While the long list of services and products you provide are important to explain, the message you should be shouting to your target audience from the text on your graphics is that you feel their pain, understand their problems, and most importantly, can deliver the solutions they need.  For every feature you mention, be sure you include the benefit it provides.  Better yet, leave the features off entirely and focus on the benefits that are important to your customer and separates you from the competition.

3I will never place another bowl of candy on my counter/table again.

What do you think this is Halloween? Unless you sell candy it makes no sense to feed it to attendees.  At no time has anyone asked me one qualifying question as I walked by and grabbed a handful of chocolate. Find a more strategic promotion to draw customers to your booth and speak to them when they are there in front of you.

4.  I will stop purchasing miscellaneous pens, mouse pads, key chains and other irrelevant give-a-ways.

 A clever freebee can create a buzz throughout the exhibit hall when it compliments a theme, reinforces a marketing message or reminds prospects of your company or industry.  The company name, phone number and website on a fly swatter for a pest control business, a deck of cards for a casino theme or a wireless mouse for a technology company makes a memorable connection. Take some time to coordinate your freebee to better connect to your purpose and message.

5.  Brochures, flyers and handouts will no longer lay flat on my table.

Use a variety of elevations to bring your important marketing pieces closer to eye level and make them easier for the prospect to access.  Acrylic literature holders are readily available, but an interesting container or one of your products would be a more clever way to deliver the information to attendees.

6.  I will always maximize the effectiveness of a corner booth space.

Corner booth spaces are prime real estate, very desirable and often cost more than a regular booth location.  If you land a corner spot, be sure to remove the side rail next to the open aisle.  Just slip it out and lay the pipe and drape in the aisle during set up and the decorator will take it away. You will then have two open sides of entry to your booth.  Avoid blocking that open space with a table, unless of course you are retailing products from those tables. 


7.  I pledge to set up and evaluate my display at least two months before it ships to the show. 

Millions of dollars are wasted by thousands of companies every year because they wait until the last minute to prepare their displays for the show.  When graphics are designed in a rush, parts are ordered too late, products are shipped at the last minute, the extra charges required to meet your show deadlines can be significant.  Take time, months before the show, to set up the display with the sales staff and evaluate it together.  Does your display model need updating or is it ready for the trash bin? Are your graphic messages still relevant?  Is the hardware in need of repair?  Are the lights working? Do your existing properties still accommodate the needs of the booth staff? By setting up your exhibit and looking it over before it ships to the show, you will have plenty of time to add, change, improve or eliminate what you need to without rushing.

8.  I vow to maintain an organized, uncluttered exhibit booth space.

Have you heard the saying: Trying to put 30 pounds of %$*&! In a 5 pound bag?  That describes many exhibits I’ve seen.  Why would a company spend thousands of dollars creating a beautiful back wall exhibit only to block it from the customer’s view with boxes, counters, products or people?  I know it is tempting to bring everything you sell to the show, but if you are not retailing merchandise, don’t.  Showcase only an attractive variety of styles, colors, models for viewing and use collateral or portfolios to explain the rest. 

 Maybe you have a few good ideas rto add.  I’d love to hear them.  If you’d like a personal evaluation for improving your program give me a call.