As they say, “Go Big or go home”. This philosophy certainly applies on the trade show floor. The trade show floor is the most cluttered marketing environment that a company will find themselves in, and cutting through that clutter to capture the attention and imagination of that target audience is critical. If you don’t stand out…you will blend in. If you blend in, your results will be marginal, at best.
Let me be clear. I am not advising that you blow your marketing budget in a wild and reckless fashion by securing the largest exhibit space in the hall or by throwing in on the largest sponsorship available. What I am saying is… regardless of your booth size and budget, do everything in your power to be different…stand out…be memorable.
To be successful on the trade show floor, you must understand what success looks like for your company. You must clearly define your goals and objectives and then develop an overall strategy to achieve the results that you desire.
One exhibitor who was a relatively young start-up in their industry did exactly that when they debuted at their industry’s largest show of the year. This exhibitor secured a 20′x20′ island booth space, which was actually larger than their corporate headquarters at the time, and worked with their exhibit house to design a visually stunning exhibit that rivaled that of their much larger and well-established competition. They used a rental exhibit so that they had more resources available to help cover the extra cost of the large booth space along with some other strategies to capture attention. By taking this approach, they positioned themselves on equal ground with their competition and within a year, they had become one of the top four players in their industry!
Conversely, I’m sure you have been on the show floor and seen companies exhibiting that would have served themselves better by just not coming at all. The graphics on their exhibit were dented and damaged, important pieces of their exhibit seemed to be missing, one of the lights didn’t work, and they apparently forgot to order carpet. THIS LACK OF ATTENTION TO HOW YOU LOOK TELLS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE THAT YOU JUST DON’T CARE…which in the mind of your target audience could translate to, “maybe you don’t really care about your customers.”
Effective exhibitors go big or go home. They outline their goals and objectives and then allocate the appropriate resources to meet and exceed those goals. They stand out. On the trade show floor, you create the perception that will indefinitely stick with your brand, whether it is good or bad. If you are going to spend the money necessary to exhibit at trade shows, make sure you allocate the budget needed to really do it correctly.