Posts Tagged ‘tradeshow displays’

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%



Could your booth win Best of Show?

Written by Susan Ratliff on June 25th, 2011. Posted in booth essentials

Many times the organization or show producer that hires me to give an exhibitor training seminar will also be creating a booth judging contest for their exhibitors designed to motivate them to creatively decorate their exhibits in order to win a prize. The company that takes the time to tie into the show theme, add interesting elements to their display, illustrates professionalism and visual interest will be selected, awarded, photographed and often times will receive some good publicity too. The catagories selected for representation vary from show to show. I have presented awards for best theme, best use of color, best overall, best of show, best use of props, most professional staff, best exhibit etc. If you’d like to plan ahead to win one of those coveted awards at your next tradeshow here are a few of the criteria I use to separate the weak exhibits from the wow exhibits on the show floor.

  1. Upon approaching the booth can you immediately tell who the company is and what they
    do or sell?
       If it takes more than five seconds for a prospect walking past your display to figure out the name of
    your company and have a clear understanding of what you can do for them you are going to lose a lot of business.
  2. Is there a clever, unifying theme used to present the marketing message?  One of the ways to make your exhibit
    memorable is to decorate your space around a theme. Themes can tie into casino games, sports, a holiday, circus or Hollywood for example.  Work that theme into every element of your display to drive home your company’s sales message
  3. Does the Booth have the wow factor? Is the overall company presentation a head-turner? Do the graphics grab your attention?  Is there a coordinating color scheme?   Is the exhibit structure inviting and professional? Does it all come together in a dynamic beautiful way?
  4. Does the display incorporate unique props to enhance the company image?  Instead of the usual elements you find at
    every booth this exhibitor will display unusual props or accessories that help attendees understand what they do or sell. Items that may not normally get seen by the general public or tools of the trade to touch and feel
  5. Is there a lead generating process present? Collecting information from interested prospects should be the number one
    goal of every exhibitor.  Is this company using a game, contest, drawing or survey to capture leads?

Next time we will look at the rest of the criteria that could make your booth best of show