Expo, conference and trade show organizers – do you really want to help prove that “trade shows don’t work”?
Trade Shows Work — When Done Right
I sometimes tell people – “it’s very easy to prove that ‘trade shows don’t work’. You just do what way too many people do: don’t plan in advance, show up without pre-show marketing or training, and expect miracles”.
On the other hand, trade shows DO work if you do them right:
IF you have done a bit of homework to come up with a plan,
IF your booth is well designed (by a large format graphics designer, not a brochures or web site designer ),
IF your folks know how to work a booth, and
IF you’ve planned your followup in advance.
Plus include booth presentations and/or promotional marketing, or however it works best for you/your industry.
It will take more work, but it makes all the difference in whether exhibiting is an expense or an investment.
The Role of Show Organizers in Exhibitor Success (or Turnover)
As for those who organize shows? If they do not offer some kind of support, especially to those who are new to trade shows, they are asking for higher exhibitor turnover.
I can’t imagine why more organizers haven’t figured out that it’s easier to create and keep satisfied exhibitors by having them well prepared than to try to get new ones to replace the ones who did them poorly and won’t return.
And yes, I have often given pre-show training. The problem with some shows that do this? They offer it the day of the event or a few weeks before, which is almost worthless except to remind people not to chew gum or sit down in their booths.
A webinar series some time in advance of the show would be the best idea to account for geography/time constraints.
Note – I’m writing this entry based on an answer I gave to a LinkedIn question on whether trade show organizers should offer support to their exhibitors. Obviously I gave a definitive ‘Yes’! And yes, we provide such trainings because it breaks our hearts to see money essentially wasted on great booths and exhibit design because of no or poor tradeshow strategy, preparation and training.
For anyone needing to get a better idea about how to exhibit, who does not have access to such support or training, take a look at this page and find specific areas for help:
Or give me a call if you need support proving that tradeshows DO work. I’ll be glad to help.
Deborah Elms is head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals. She is passionate about helping businesses and organizations create and retain customers through the effective use of trade shows & other face-to-face events.