5 Biggest Mistakes Made by Trade Show Exhibitors

August 18th, 2015 by Interex Exhibits



There are many components of a successful trade show booth. Exhibitors must be well-versed and savvy in elements of design, promotion, lead management, staffing and logistics. So this is not a complete list, but here are five of the most common missteps made by exhibitors.

Poor Pre-Show Promotion

Many exhibitors focus so much on the trade show itself, they neglect the preceding components. Pre-show promotion is a critical aspect of overall success. After all, how can attendees visit your booth if they don’t know it’s there? Conceptualize and execute a pre-show promotion strategy. You can use a variety of media for this—invites or mailers, targeted emails, newsletters and social media promotion. Also, take advantage of any opportunities offered by the show itself, such as inclusion on the show website or guide.

Logistical Errors

In order to have a successful show without breaking the bank, exhibitors must be aware of all the behind-the-scenes logistics. This means reading up on the specific labor union rules at the venue and understanding hidden costs associated with transportation, drayage, equipment, etc. Some exhibitors end up spending significantly more than expected because they performed a task earmarked for union labor or packed supplies improperly, resulting in a need for special handling.

Design Barriers

Many experts will (rightly) caution against too much clutter in and around a trade show booth. However, perhaps a lesser-known mistake is inadvertently creating barriers in your design scheme. When conceptualizing booth layout, exhibitors should be aware of how design elements can affect attendee behavior.

For instance, instead of blocking your booth off from the aisle with parallel tables, consider setting up tables at an angle. Find out what color the aisle flooring will be, and try to match your booth flooring. Believe it or not, this will make your booth more inviting. Attendees will be more likely to enter, even if they don’t realize it.

Focusing Too Much on Lead Numbers  

It is a mistake to prioritize quantity over quality when it comes to lead retrieval at trade shows. Instead of simply gathering as much information as possible, focus on collecting qualified leads—that is, leads that have the potential to become actual sales. In order to gather qualified leads, you must define your target audience and develop a promotional plan that caters specifically to it. This all starts with choosing the right trade show and continues with executing lead generation with a pre-set criteria and strategy.

Failing to Effectively Train Booth Staff  

It is a mistake to think just anyone can man a trade show booth. No, each staff member should be a reflection of your company, and proper training should be a top priority leading up to the show. Train your staff to be knowledgeable, engaging and interactive. In addition, consider having a member of your sales team help with the training process or even lead an on-site team. This will ensure staff members know how to collect qualified leads and save valuable time for the sales team later on.

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