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March 18, 2019

My brother is a lawyer.  When he tells people what he does for a living he’s usually greeted either with dumb jokes or disdain.  But, always with understanding.  After 25 years in the tradeshow business I rarely get jokes or critiques; my greetings usually consist of blank stares, pity or the individual trying to filter what I do through one of these antiquated filters below:

BOOTH BABES – The vast majority of tradeshows are not reliant on attractive, scantily clad women to draw attention to a given company or product.  Whether it’s a function of more enlightened times or growth amongst the numbers of female executives, or we hope both; nowadays, the “visual speedbump” that slows and attracts people in the aisles is more often the exhibit (environment) itself.

BRIBES – “The Union Guys” are not living hand to mouth basing their schedules on who slips them some extra cash.  Does it still happen?  Undoubtedly; however, when I come across these tales and push for more info I usually learn the story is a decade old or more.  Besides, most fees charged by the show’s general contractors are so exorbitant nobody has cash left for bribes anyway!  This brings us to the myth that shows are so darn costly…

EXPENSIVE – Most other forms of marketing are aimed at ultimately getting face-to-face or having the opportunity to demonstrate one’s product and/or service benefits to a prospect.  Tradeshows allow for incredible efficiency in being able to get in front of a targeted group of your best clients and best prospects all at once.  You get to control and impact how they view and feel about you going forward. Tradeshows allow for industry research and networking, for competitive intelligence, for savings in salesperson expenses, for exposure to industry media, for sourcing new vendors and a myriad of other benefits.

NEVER SELL ANYTHING THERE – Imagine getting on a bathroom scale to measure what size shoe you wear?  Huh?  Exactly!!  Too many exhibitors improperly measure results from tradeshows.  Make no mistake about it, there are several ways to properly measure the value of the investment you’ve made.  But, counting up the orders written at the end of the show is usually completely out of whack with most company’s original goals and objectives.

THE BOOTH DIDN’T WORK – Admittedly, there are times when an exhibit may be flawed in execution or design for a specific purpose.  But the reason I list this as a “myth” is because even if the booth “works” its then up to the booth staffer to properly “work” and for the organization’s Lead follow-up plan to properly “work.”  The world’s greatest exhibit can only bring a horse to water, getting them to drink is a whole other topic!

trade shows, tradeshows, budget, union labor
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