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Do’s and Don’ts for Your Trade Show

Revisited due to popular demand – FOX news on Tradeshows, with some input from me . . .

By Cindy Vanegas Published April 23, 2012 FOXBusiness

Many business owners who eagerly pay big bucks to exhibit at industry trade shows often end up disappointed when it comes down to calculating the return on investment. Small business owners can minimize their investment or maximize their exposure through some simple marketing and partnership techniques that will help them get the most bang for their buck.

Position Position Position: On the trade show floor, booth placement is king. “Know where the prime spots for booths are when you make selections,” advised Eddie Lange, vice president of Exhibit Experts. Lange advised business owners to look for the direction of the traffic flow, the location of the main doors and the area where there will be food and drinks. He also warned entrepreneurs: avoid “dead-end aisles and large columns where people will have to go out of their way to find you.”

Partner-Up: If a business owner can’t afford a whole booth, try sharing. Some trade show organizers allow businesses to split space, allowing entrepreneurs to derive the benefits without incurring all of the costs. A careful read through of the contract will alert entrepreneurs to ‘subletting’ restrictions. Dave Poulos, founder of marketing company Granite Partners and former marketing director at a trade show production company, recommended business owners look for exhibitors whose product is complementary to theirs. “For example, a printer manufacturer could partner with a paper manufacturer. For every printer sold, the paper manufacturer could throw in some paper, and both business owners could share booth space and leads,” said Poulos.

Establish an Expertise: Often times, trade shows not only offer entrepreneurs booth space to promote their wares, but they also provide on-site educational opportunities. Business owners who develop a good relationship with show and seminar organizers should consider suggesting topics where they can serve as speakers and promote their expertise. This year Green Festival, showing in NYC, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles, invited people to apply to speak at the events by submitting a topic proposal.

SPONSOR SOMETHING: From a cocktail hour to chair massages or a popcorn station, giving attendees a treat for free is a sure fire way for business owners to ensure they will be remembered. Some trade shows restrict sponsorships, offering them only to exhibitors. Others are more flexible, especially if it is coming down to show time and they are strapped for cash. Poulos of Granite Partners recommended entrepreneurs work with vendors and trade show organizer to see where sponsorship opportunities lie, since often these deals can be worked out individually.

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About David Poulos

Speaker, Consultant and Author David Poulos is known as the Marketing Doctor because of his proven ability to accurately diagnose and prescribe the most effective solutions for successful business growth with absolute surgical precision.

Comments (4)

  1. Debbie Ferguson
    January 14, 2015 at 7:55 pm · Reply

    What do you see as the hot trends now for trade shows? What are firms doing to increase the traffic at their booth – what’s hot in swag items – especially for B-to-B marketing?

    • Benny
      January 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm · Reply

      Hey Debbie – We pride ourselves on not only getting you the Hottest “get the conversation started” items for trade shows, but we work to make sure you have items that keep you ahead of the curve, under budget and having your perspective and steady clients remembering you all year long! Drop me a line and let me know what shows you are working on – and I will select/create and innovate while making this part of your job – easy!

    • David Poulos
      January 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm · Reply

      Debbie – tech seems to be a running theme at booths I’m seeing recently, regardless of industry or size of show – tablets available in the booth instead of printed brochures, videos running on huge screens, more evolved lead tracking mechanics with RFID chips in the badges and such are much more popular now. The best thing we’ve seen used to increase QUALIFIED traffic is relevance, solving a known problem for the audience in a simple, elegant, effective way – not sexy, but effective. Swag has expanded in recent years, both in volume and variety, with the introduction of 3D printing, and a plethora of shops offering to produce and deliver the items in ever-shortening time frames. I’m a big fan of the highest-quality, most relevant functional items available. If it’s B2B, you’ve got to offer something that relevant to work, industry or profession – water bottles and squeeze balls should work for fitness shows or hand-therapy conventions, but you’d better be thinking outside the box to get folks attention these days!

  2. Imagecraft Exhibits
    November 16, 2016 at 10:07 am · Reply

    thanks for this wonderful post. I didn’t know some of the things which you have mentioned. i will definitely take care of these factors in my upcoming Trade Shows.

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