A model standing in front of a custom designed tradeshow display with the text "Make An Impression".

5 Things People Forget when Planning a Trade Show

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019| SpeedPro NW Raleigh


Trade Show Displays

Set trade show date—check.

Buy booth supplies:  tension fabric display, retractable banner stands, custom printed table cloth or runner, trade show display accessories—check.

Get promotional products—check.

Buy travel tickets and book hotel room—check.

So… You’re thinking you are ready to go, right?

Wrong! While the big, obvious aspects are definitely important, you mustn’t overlook the seemingly minuscule or abstract variables of your show. I have stated in a previous blog that a trade show is not just buying a banner, showing up, and then standing there, looking pretty. I am here to tell you about some overlooked, yet significant, aspects that people often forget.

1.   Set a Realistic Goal and be Able to Measure your Success.

What’s the point of all your preparation if you cannot track success? You must ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish at this tradeshow?”

Although it may seem like a rhetorical question, a lot of people mistakenly do not have a specific answer. Yes, everyone is trying to meet leads and highlight their business, but you must be able to analyze and track your results to determine your success, or lack thereof. How can you measure the amount of leads you met if you do not have some sort of system?

The first step is always to determine what your specific goals will be. For example, do you want to increase overall sales for the next month? Are you highlighting a new product or service? Do you want to create buzz over a grand opening at a new location? Do you have a specific number of leads you want to generate?

Talk about it, plan it out, and don’t be afraid to spend time on it. Making sure you have clear cut goals can really make or break your trade show experience.

2.   Review your Collateral and Brand to Make Sure they are Consistent.

A corporate identity is the visual backbone of your company. It’s a first impression. It creates an emotional tie with consumers, which in turn builds brand awareness and loyalty. And if you back up your product/service with a solid commitment, it helps keep the customer coming back.

Does every single material and media source with your name on it have the same consistency? This is important to your customer’s awareness and perception of you. And lets face it:  without our customers, we have nothing!

3.   Booth Layout and Staff Training.

Most people do not put a lot of thought into this variable of a trade show, but it can be extremely pertinent to your overall success. You may think you are making your booth appear open and inviting by putting a table up front and sitting behind it. However, this actually creates a barrier between you and a potential visitor that can be intimidating and unappealing. Your visitors must feel welcome!

Try a more casual, relaxed approach. Stand (with your arms uncrossed) to the sides of your space, and have your table off to the side or in the corner, so you can carry a more private conversation if need be. You need to think about keeping all of your elements in scale when you are planning the layout of your booth. Believe it or not, it affects your visitor’s overall perception.

4.   Plan for Lead Times.

Ask yourself this:  Do you want to walk out on the show floor with a banner stand or display that has typos, faded images, and no clear message? This is the risk you take when you wait until the last minute. I know there are plenty of things to do besides plan for a trade show. But seriously, these events cost a lot of money and valuable time. Why would you not put the time and effort into the planning process that your business and branding so clearly deserve?

Be realistic and practical when planning lead times. People are so often fooled into thinking that they can get everything together for a show in just a few weeks. Get it done right, and do it on time.

5.   Remember that Looks DO Matter.

Three seconds is all you’ve got to capture a potential lead’s attention. Your booth must be a positive reflection of you, your business, and your products/services. Graphics and booth supplies are not something you want to economize on, and they should evoke emotion in your audience. What you have in your small amount of booth space is all you have to entice a person to come in.

One could argue that your graphics are just as important in the process of enticing a visitor, or more so, than you are with your big smile and polished speeches. You can’t go wrong with high quality, full color images when you are trying to WOW your customers.


SpeedPro NW Raleigh is your source for custom trade show displays in Raleigh, Durham, RTP and Cary. Please visit our Trade Show Displays page for more information or call us at 919-460-6013 to learn more about our products or request a quote.

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SpeedPro NW Raleigh

Studio Owner

Jerry Parise