3 Tips For Great Trade Show Booth Impact

Your Small-with-a Regional-Reach, Full-Service Lafayette, Indiana Marketing & Branding Firm Offers Tips to Grow Your Business

3 Tips to Boost Your Trade Show Content Impact

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by an impressive display or exhibit while walking a trade show?

I know I have. I distinctly remember the first time it happened to me: The National Hardware trade show in Chicago in the mid-’90s. Kohler had a 2-story tall frame that created a controlled waterfall of drips forming words to spell out their name and other designs. This is outdated technology now, but back then, it was like something out of a Terminator movie.

It said one thing: we know water.

A simple, clean, clear brand statement that communicated more in one (moving) visual than a thousand words could do. If that was the intent, the Kohler trade exhibit show rocked.

Walking a lot of trade shows over the years, I have come to acknowledge that Kohler’s exhibit is the exception.

Most trade show exhibits (like this one) look like a brochure reconfigured on a wall.

The last thing anyone needs at a trade show—where a company has spent a lot of money getting there (renting the space, display costs, shipping costs, travel costs, accommodation costs, etc.)—is to have a display that does not do the heavy lifting and invite a conversation or business opportunity.

So when idc clients are looking for trade display content solutions, the idc team is primed to create an impact by adhering to 3 simple things:

1. Create a branded message hierarchy specfic to your primary target audience.

This should be a no-brainer but sometimes gets forgotten in the pursuit of the sale…any and every sale. After all, the company is spending a lot of money to be at the trade show, why not get as much business as possible? I agree that it is true, but keep in mind—that is why we recommend a message hierarchy. The most important message and space should be reserved for the audience or prospect that is the best fit and highest margin sale for the exhibiting company. Reel them in, and the rest is gravy.

2. Keep it Simple.

One of the hardest things about exhibit development is realizing that regardless of how big or impressive a company’s exhibit space is, if the message is cluttered and not easily seen, it will be missed. It doesn’t help that trade shows themselves are a big mess of noisy, messy clutter all competing for the audience’s attention.

The simple fact is, like the exhibit shown above, most trade show exhibits have a lot more in common with billboards than brochures. Like billboards, trade show exhibits have very little time to communicate a message to the target audience. A car zipping down the highway at 70 mph cannot read the fine print on a billboard. That billboard has one shot at getting a straightforward message to the audience.

After the message hierarchy is in place, it’s time to develop that single, simple, strategic message that is crafted to draw in the company’s coveted target audience.

3. Don’t be Boring.

When planning a new trade show exhibit, try to picture all the displays at the last trade show visited. Is there one that stood out? How about the competitor? Did they have anything special that warranted a second look or conversation? Chances are there are very few exhibits that make a person stop and take serious notice as the Kohler exhibit did to me all those years ago. And if most exhibits are boring to you and me, just imagine what the target audience must think.

Simply put, if at all possible, do not take the safe option that probably mirrors the competitors and does not stand out in the clutter.

These three simple steps for trade show exhibit design are not easy to achieve. Like any critical marketing message, it takes focus, discipline, and, most importantly, the blessing of the stakeholders to get there.

Are you looking to make an impact at your next trade show event? From marketing strategy to event planning and execution, we are motivated and interested in helping you grow!

First introduced in 1972, idc-marketing is the most well-rounded and hip advertising agency in Lafayette, Indiana. We are a full-service firm that helps companies grow business-to-business (B2B) and consumer-to-business (B2C) market share.