25 Of The Most Common Trade Show Mistakes

Posted by Rumin Mann
April 5th, 2013

The past 7 years, working with clients in the trade show industry have allowed me to work with many different companies, industries, marketing teams and personalities.  I’ve had the benefit of seeing some really great success and trade show strategy.  And, I’ve also seen companies who have stumbled, because of mistakes that have been made in several different areas of the trade show strategy.

So, I’d like to share with you the 25 most common trade show exhibiting mistakes.  You’ll see that they can all be filed into several different categories, like pre-show, at-show, post-show, logistics, strategy, exhibits, etc.

  1. Not planning ahead.  Yes, we’re all really busy at the office with a lot of other things, but if you’re not planning for your trade show 12-9-6-3 months ahead, you’re setting yourself & company up for failure.
  2. Going Cheap.  If you’re looking to save $5, $20, $200 here and there, you’re focusing on the price of things, rather than the investment.  Those extra bucks for the nicer carpet, the extra plants or the better looking display will add to the experience of your attendees and set your company apart from others.
  3. No Pre-Show Marketing.  If you don’t tell anyone that you’ll be at the show, how can you expect to have a lot of people stop by your booth space? No one has time to wander around these days. They’re coming prepared to see who they want to see. Give people a good reason to stop by your trade show booth space and invest in those e-mails, post cards & promos to intrigue their interest ahead of time.
  4. Bad Graphics.  Have you ever seen a billboard on the highway with a bunch of copy?  It’s hard to read, right?  Same with trade show displays.  Make sure your graphics quickly tell who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
  5. Failure to Follow-up on Leads.  I know you’ve heard (from CEIR.org) that 79% of leads are not follow-up after a show. Shocking.  Don’t be one of those companies.  Create a closed-loop system, before you go to the show, to make sure no leads fall through the cracks.

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