Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid

Category: Strategy

If planned properly, a trade show booth can yield many new business connections and potential clients. However, there are all kinds of things that could go wrong along the way; here are some trade show booth mistakes you should be aware of.

1. Overemphasizing the Importance of Location

Booth space can be overvalued. Space selection is important, but the logistics should not disguise the real importance of being at a show—what you do with the space once you get it. Is it the right show? Do you have the right presence? Are you using the right marketing vehicles (booth, sponsorship, activities)? These criteria trump booth number every time. (See our article on booth selection.)

2. Wasting Money on Swag

These days, it’s often assumed that you’re going to be giving away some logoed items at your trade show booth. However, it’s important to understand the difference between spending money on branded promotional items that’ll be useful to your audience and wasting your company’s money on items that your audience has no true use for. Many times swag can be banished in favor of valuable content, special show pricing, access to exclusive research or information, or a contest that provides a meaningful experience to prospects.

3. Failing to Prepare Booth Staff

Finally, even the most beautifully designed trade show booth is useless if the staff members aren’t prepared to make the best use of it. Make sure that the booth staffers understand what the exhibit strategy for the show is all about, who the audience for the show is, and know how to tell the difference between “tire kickers” and real prospective new clients. They also need a tour of the booth so they know practical things like where the storage is and what the demos are about.

Failure to consider the importance of strategy, wasting money on swag, and sending untrained staff to represent your company at a trade show are mistakes you’ll want to avoid as an exhibit manager. By doing so, you’ll have a better shot at success in the future.


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