The situations on this list, while presented with humor, lead to results which are anything but funny. If you cannot read through it without a glimmer of recognition — chances are that you are coming up short on achieving the tradeshow results you are looking for, including quality leads and new opportunities with existing clients.
Unfortunately, we have seen and corrected every one of these mistakes at least once!
I’ve combined some variations to keep the list short, so we can work our way up from number 10 in classic late-night TV Top 10 List fashion.
Top 10 Signs You Might Need a New Booth
#10 A sure sign you need to get a new booth is when you have clients saying “You do that?” even after just seeing you at the tradeshow where you announced a new product or service.
#9 A sign it’s past time for a revamp is when your booth sports a color scheme that’s been out of favor longer than you’ve been with your company, and the logo has changed, probably at least twice, since then. And maybe the magnets need a little help with duct tape.
#8 You might be ready for a new booth if you’ve gotten tired of watching your competitors essentially open their arms and put their booth up in two minutes when it takes you an hour or two and a ladder. Or your competitors have one of the hybrid fabric and extrusion models that only look like they require paying for labor from the general contractor, and you are paying for your setup, with overtime too.
#7 A sign the timing is perfect for a new booth is you’ve just made a big move like purchasing another company or snagging some major clients, and you want to step up the style of your display to replace the same-old, same-old pop up you’ve relied on for years.
#6 An obvious sign is when your boss finally admits that his wife’s nephew did the design for a school project, and the course he was taking was website design. Or your marketing agency designed it for you at the same time they did your brochures — and you realize they look exactly the same, only the brochures work and the tradeshow booth design does not. (Hint: you’re not saving money by using someone who does not know how to create impact with tradeshow graphics because you are going to have to pay to replace them to be successful on the show floor.)
#5 A painful sign you may be missing is when your sales people or field marketing reps won’t put up the display you think they’re using, because it either weighs more than they do or is so difficult to set up, it cuts into their face time with prospects — or they have decided it requires too much effort to explain its middle-of-the-road message, because the inflexible booth layout does not allow easy adaptation for their specific audiences or product lines.
#4 Another reason it could be time to reconsider your booth design is when people keep asking if you’re a startup — and you’re not. Or you are a startup with great new ideas and everyone sees the same stock photographs they see on other booths so they don’t pay any attention to you.
#3 You know you need to get out of a rut when you get lost coming back from the bathroom, and other people stop by and ask your help in finding your company. Your booth looks too much like everyone else’s, your company name or tagline does not stand out, and even you can’t read most of its overly small print when you’re standing next to it.
#2 A truly bad sign that you need a new booth is it’s not doing its job. Instead of connecting with leads pre-qualified by its message, you end up talking to the wrong people, and wasting time trying to attract people into your booth by standing in the aisles and offering giveaways.
And the #1 most obvious and most worrisome sign that you need a new booth is when people pause, stare at your display, then look at you and ask, “So what is it you do anyway?”
Do you find yourself agreeing — or even suspecting — that any of these situations describe your own booth?
This is going to be a strong year for tradeshows, and your booth is going to be a major influence on the level of impact you have. Please feel free to reach out for ideas on how to refresh the graphic design on your display or replace your booth so none of these 10 signs will apply.
Your booth has three jobs: stop attendees from passing by without looking, filter out those who are not good matches to your target audience while attracting those who are, and start a compelling conversation with those who are appropriate.
Imprinted Originals provides the expertise of an exhibit house without the overhead. We can help you achieve Exhibiting Success at your tradeshows and events. Call or e-mail us today for help assessing your current situation and getting you prepared for 2011 and beyond.
Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals. She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.