Posts Tagged ‘booth mistakes’

Top Twelve Clues Your Tradeshow Team Needs Training

Written by Susan Ratliff on March 20th, 2013. Posted in exhibitor training

I got inspiration for this post after walking through several exhibit halls at the conferences I have been speaking at recently and of course, from David Letterman’s top ten list. These issues have a way of really messing up a perfectly great display and making your booth staff and your company look unprofessional. I’m here to offer advice if you need some work in these areas.


The plans for assembling the display were not in the crate so the I&D crew set up the booth backwards


It takes the average attendee 22.6 seconds to figure out what your company does


The booth decor includes an assortment of half empty cardboard boxes


Cleavage appears to be part of the dress code 


An entire 20’ exhibit is stuffed into a 10×10 booth space 


Three chairs are blocking the view of that brand new $5000 graphic mural 


Three guys in suits are sitting in those chairs talking to each other 


A bowl filled with kit-kats and snickers is the preferred method of customer engagement 


The front counter doubles as a dinner table 


A magnifying glass is required to read the long list of features under the mission statement on the banner stand 


A badge-swipe has replaced the need to ask qualifying questions 


The decorator’s ugly cardboard I.D. sign is still hanging from the rear drape 



Simple tweeks for making a good display better

Written by Susan Ratliff on April 2nd, 2012. Posted in Booth Blunders, Uncategorized

I had a terrific time at the Shredder Convention over the weekend.  That’s the conference for the National Association of Information Destruction.  A friendly group and a fascinating industry consisting of companies that shred confidential documents and crush and pulverize hard drives, CD’s and computer parts, just to name a few of their services.   I had the pleasure to present two seminars.   How to get and use free publicity and another the NAID staff titled The Wealthy Exhibitionist. I covered the five key strategies for turning your booth into a powerful profit center at tradeshows.  The exhibit hall was busy and it was obvious that many of the exhibitors spent a substantial amount of money on their displays.  Some were terrific, but others made me cringe. There is a fine line between what makes one exhibit good and another exhibit great.  Either something is missing or something is added that takes away from an exhibit’s effectiveness or professionalism.   A lack of attention to detail can really mess up a good image. Here are five of my pet peeves.  I would love to hear what you think.  

  1. Take down that horrible ID Sign!  That ugly black and white cardboard sign with your company name on it that is pinned to the curtain on your back wall drape is there to show you which booth space is yours.  After up set if up upir display get rid of it.  8 out of 10 exhibitors left that two dollar sign up, peaking out over the top of their $6000 display.  Yuk!!  It completely distracts from your beautiful presentation and is a tell-tell sign of inexperience.  I was compelled to suggest it’s removal to at least 10 exhibitors at the show, but only a few bothered to remove it. 
  2. Get rid of the candy bowl.  What is the purpose of having candy at your booth if you are not selling candy or if you are not tying the candy into your theme or marketing message. You might think that it draws prospects to your booth.  Yes it does. They come by, grab a handful of chocolate and rush off. No exhibitor I have ever encountered that has a bowl of candy at their booth has ever engaged me when I come by for a piece. Save the candy for Halloween. 
  3. Is that table necessary?  I know that your booth space includes a 6’ table, but do you really need it?  If you do need it do you have to place it like a barrier across the front of your booth space? If you are spreading out your five stacks of brochures and one stack of business cards across the tabletop trying to fill that space you don’t need the table. Purchase a free-standing literature rack and a small podium counter instead. Keep your booth space open and inviting. Draw attendee into your space.  If you have lots of samples to show or need the table for a demonstration or other important items, then think twice whether you want it positioned across the opening to your display as a barrier between you and your customers.  Sometimes that configuration works perfectly, but it’s more likely not necessary and more importantly it usually blocks the attendee’s view of your marketing message and beautiful graphics on your display that you spent a ton of money on.  Consider placing the table perpendicular to your back wall or you can just put the table in the aisle during set up and they will take it away?
  4. Can you spring for a custom table cover? If you plan to keep the table in your space, please purchase an imprinted table cover that coordinates with your other display elements.  When you have a gorgeously designed display in your booth, nothing stands out like a sore thumb more than a table covered in the drape that the show provided.  It’s
    a simple fix that will provide a more cohesive look to your company image.
  5. Do you need all those chairs? Are you really going to let your employees sit down in the booth?  Do you want your exhibit to be a rest stop for attendees or encourage them to sit for twenty minutes and chat with your team?  I didn’t think so. If you are not hosting a demonstration or consultations at your booth please remove those chairs.  Not only are they taking up valuable space in your booth, but most of the time they are blocking your graphics from the customer’s view. 
  6. Why is your literature so messy?  Stacks of flyers and brochures spread across your counter look sloppy and detract from your professionalism. Spend a few bucks on a couple acrylic tiered literature holders or a collapsible literature rack.  Elevate your important information, keep your display counter tidy and minimize the time it takes to straighten stacks of paper.  

 Thanks for letting me vent.  I hope you will implement these six suggestions when your next tradeshow rolls around.  Give me a call if you’d like an evaluation of your existing layout or want ideas for turning an average exhibit into a powerful profit center. Susan Ratliff, The Exhibit Expert,  602-828-1177

Harris,out of Baxley Georgia has been in business selling shears, balers and shredders for 100 years. The booth staff were professional and attentive and their banners look great. Just few inexpensive changes like removing the id sign, taking out the chairs, elevating the literature, adding a red table cover with their logo on the front and moving the table perpendicular to the back wall would improve their image 100%