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3 Major Trade Show Exhibit Design Pitfalls to Avoid

November 18, 2014

Are you wondering why your trade show exhibit is not bringing in the attendees and leads you had hoped for? You have your booth staff, you have your demo, and you have an in-booth promotion. So what is the deal? Maybe you should look a little closer at the exhibit you brought. Your exhibit design and structure has so much more to do with your image and success than you realize.

It is crucial that you use thoughtful design and materials, and don’t use a hand-me-down display from old, recycled and outdated exhibits. Your company has what show attendees are looking for, right? So why not show them that you are a professional company that can be trusted? Do this by conveying a clear message and offering, and by representing yourself appropriately.

Here are 3 major exhibit pitfalls you need to avoid in order to convey the right message:

1. Poorly Printed Graphics

  • They create a poor image of your company and scream “I don’t care.”
  • People will pass you by, including your current customers and prospects because they don’t want to be seen visiting your exhibit and because you don’t look professional.

 2. Poor Messaging

  • People will pass you by because they don’t know who you are, what you do, or don’t have 10-15 minutes to read everything you have printed on your graphics or figure out who you are.  Rows and rows of text don’t sell your products or services, you do.  State your main message in no more than 5-7 words and engage people as they move past.
  • To determine if you have a poor message, watch for the look in attendees’ eyes as they view your exhibit.  Are they shaking their heads from side to side, and are their eyes glazing over? Do they have to ask who you are or ask, “So what exactly do you do?”
  • This creates a lost opportunity to engage. Why did you go to the show if not to engage with prospects and clients?  Was it to stock up on a year’s supply of pens and coffee mugs? Create a message that is clear and concise and take the guessing game out of the equation. Portray your company in a clean and professional way.

 3. Shoddy Materials

  • They create a poor company image.  It makes attendees or potential customers ask the question, “If this is how a company puts their best foot forward, what kind of quality am I going to get if I buy their service or product?”
  • Make sure your exhibit shows a high quality fit, finish and attention to detail.
  • Duct Tape should not be a prerequisite to take to a show and should not even be considered if “you’ll probably need it.”

Dated, worn and poorly executed exhibits and graphics convey the worst possible message to show attendees.  This poor representation tells them your products are out of date, you don’t care, or you’re attending the show to build up frequent flyer miles and eat at a few good restaurants.  Think about how much it costs to prepare for the show, travel and hotels, lost productivity in the office and ultimately, how much it costs to lose current customers or prospective clients because you tried to save a few bucks on your exhibit. It defies logic to invest so heavily in all the other facets of going to a show, and to then cut corners on your exhibit that that is the sole face of your company at a show, and potentially your biggest advantage to the competition.

Now that you know what not to do to have a successful exhibit, read The Value of Trade Shows white paper. This report reveals how exhibitors and attendees find significant value in trade shows, which will help you realize just how important your presence is. Learn how to justify and enhance your trade show program by clicking here.

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