Trade shows cover a large amount of manufacturer and distributor budget’s which can create a lot of pressure to succeed at events. We want to help you understand and avoid some of the most common trade show mistakes that exhibitors make. In this article we outline what we find to be the biggest mistakes for you to learn from.
Common Trade Show Mistakes
1. Underestimating Pre-Show Marketing
You always need to do your homework before a trade show. In order to be one of the more successful exhibitors you need to do your research prior to attending the event. You want to create an entire pre-show marketing campaign informing attendees that you will be at the event. Also send out direct mail and emails to customers to inform them of why and when you will be at this event. Always have a marketing plan before the show and during the show to ensure you have a good return on investment.
2. Booth Design Without a Goal
One of the most important ways to avoid trade show mistakes is to have a clear design drawn out for your booth. You need a clear-cut idea of what you and your company are trying to achieve with your trade show booth. Creating a clean vision and design will help you to prevent expensive and time-consuming redesigns. You also want to be sure all stakeholders sign off on the design before submitting it to the exhibit house.
3. Not Calculating Shipping and Labor Costs
Budgeting for a trade show is extremely important to prevent mistakes. You can quickly and easily run through the money your company has set aside during the process of creating marketing collateral, booth design, travel arrangements, and transporting items to and from the show. You want to take into consideration all of the logistics in transporting your materials (size, weight, and packing) and be sure that your budget has extra room for any possible trade show mistakes.
4. Overboard on Technology
This is one of the most common trade show mistakes made by companies, costing them money in the end. It is easy to waste money on unnecessary technology for trade shows. Technology can play a large role in being able to engage with attendees when it is used properly. You want to be sure any technology you purchase is adding value to your company and your booth. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on touch screen pads only to have them be ignored or mis-installed.
5. Forgetting Social Media
Many trade show events have a large presence on social media. Be sure that you tap into the audience of any trade show you attend to make your presence known. Engage with the hashtags, research who the influencers for the show are, and track conversations and comments. Utilizing social media to engage with potentials customers and trade show attendees puts your brand’s name out there.
6. Not Properly Packing Materials
Setting up and dismantling your booth can be a hassle. When you are exhausted from traveling and lugging all of your items around you want to set up and tear down as quickly as possible. You want to be sure you take the extra time to package all of your items properly to prevent any damage. This will also make it much easier to load and unload if you are organized in packing your materials. Think of your next trade show and how easy it will be to pick up and ship off your materials when they are packed away properly.
7. Not Engaging with Attendees
This may seem as though it’s common sense to engage with attendees at a trade show; however, this is often not done properly. Think of how your employees are acting at a trade show. Are they really selling your product to attendees? Are they standing or sitting looking at their phones? Do they have a smile on their face and can they answer any questions thrown at them? Are they strictly standing behind the booth instead of on the sides? All of these things prevent attendees from really looking and engaging with your booth and your employees. Be sure you train your staff well before sending them off to a trade show.
While all of these things seem as though they are common sense these are the most common trade show mistakes. You do not want to be the company coming unprepared and not properly engaging with attendees. Trade shows are not cheap to attend and require a lot of planning and preparation. Be sure to avoid these mistakes and enjoy your next trade show event!