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Countdown To Trade Show Success

I attended a webinar not too long ago through Exhibit Marketers Café, and it’s definitely worth a share. I took some notes for you!

The expo pro presenting the webinar thinks a lot like we do. The first thing she said was, regarding display design: Think “billboard” not “bulletin board.” More does not equal better.

Counting down from three…

A well-designed booth should increase the length of time prospects stay in your booth. It is:

  • Inviting, organized, open with ways to enter, eye-catching, and is staffed with friendly faces.
  • Entertaining through graphic design, layout, interactions, or activities.
  • Educational about your products/services and why you are a good choice.
  • Memorable, unique, creative, inviting, unusual, and stands out from the other booths.


Find a way to stand out, both through your booth design and some other way(s).

75% of attendees pre-plan their visits to a trade show floor… yet only 25% of exhibitors use pre-show promotions, such as invitations. Promotions increase booth traffic by 33%!



Use these promotional tools (and remember that it only works if you do it):

  • Pre-show marketing: Go old-school with phone calls, handwritten notes/invitations.
  • Media relations: Send PRs, invitations to demos, assign one of your staffers for media relations. Know the color of the press badges, and have the PR staffer greet them and show them around.
  • Sponsorships & advertising: Pay for the show’s totes, shuttle bus wraps, education sessions, lunches, etc. Sponsors get a lot of exposure.
  • Booth attractions: Product demos, samples, hands-on interactions are the most popular with attendees.
  • Social media: Before, during, and after the show. Don’t sell. Rather, engage, provide a resource, entertain, and create curiosity.

gift show invite august 2011

Sponsorships increase booth traffic by 104%.

Hospitality events increase booth traffic by 86%.

Advertising increases booth traffic by 46%.



Staff the correct people and the correct amount of people. Two people for each 100 square feet (i.e., a 10×10 space).


Booth staff influences 85% of overall first impressions.

Booth staff influences 80% of final decisions to do business with the exhibitor.

Compare the booth staffer to how a waiter affects your overall impression of a restaurant. The food may be great, but if the service is poor, you probably won’t go back… or recommend it to your friends.


…Lift off!

Bonus Content:


Marlys’ 10 Commandments of Booth Staffing © Exhibit Marketers Café

  1. You shall not sit.
  2. You shall not create barriers to booth traffic.
  3. You shall not eat at your booth.
  4. You shall not accost people in the aisles.
  5. You shall not have conversations with your mobile phone or other booth staffers.
  6. You shall not pack (overstuff) your booth with staffers.
  7. You shall not stand around with your hands in your pockets.
  8. You shall not put out tons of literature and giveaways.
  9. You shall not leave early or arrive late.
  10. You shall smile.

These are considered no-brainers that most exhibitors forget.


Final Thoughts

A conversation with an attendee: You should spend 80% of the time listening, and the other 20% providing solutions (not selling).

Pathetic trade show fact: 80% of leads are not followed up!


* Presenter’s statistics come from CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research).


How do you stand out on the show floor?

What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!


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Since 1989

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