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Why Are You At The Show?

A friend of mine is considering some trade shows and asked:

What would you consider to be a typical setup for a small booth? Signage? Table? etc. Is there anything that is a MUST have for a trade show booth besides marketing materials?

The biggest mistake people make is not having a plan for what they want to accomplish at the show. It should be either to get leads, in which case you want to give something away or hold a contest to get all the names you can, engage leads already in the pipe, where you are really going to party with a short list of people you are trying to close business with, or you are going because you are a big company in your space and it would be noticed if you weren’t there.

Aside from that Trade Shows are basically a big waste of time and money.

Depending on your answer to the above, that will dictate what you need to do. If it’s #1 you’ll want signage pushing your giveaway or contest. #2 just have a banner with your company name and a big comfy couch for when the big wheels come along. For #3 burn thousands of dollars on an custom booth so that your competitors look small and weak.

Pay no attention to the other vendors or show standards – figure out what you want to accomplish and do that, the rest of it is a waste of resources.

Stunts on the show floor is a category all its own…

Sharing booth space is a great way to get into shows without spending much. Partnering can save you tons of money, especially on shows that are new, or you’ve never tried before.

For signage, these guys do a good job at the right price – make sure you get the lamp to attach to the banner. I’m a big fan of avoiding the “show up and throw up” – logo and 5 words beat big paragraphs – it’s just to attract attention, not do the selling.