The secrets of trade show success

Trade shows are not just about marketing a company’s products or services but about creating a unique customer experience where visitors can truly engage with the company and its products.

The first step in planning for trade show success is designing the stand and all its features. The look and feel of the stand can make or break a potential lead so it is important to not only have appealing graphic design with the brand logo but also have the correct placement of the counter, lights, monitors, signs and other essentials. The graphics and the design must reflect the organisation and provide a visitor with an atmosphere that reflects the company and not merely looking at a product or service. Take a look at the two stands below and see how the brands are reflected in these stands.

trade show success

Each stand is well designed and feels like walking into a Google office or an Adidas store. Notice the logo, screens, lighting, product display, staff attire, flooring and furniture all blend in with each other. Adidas even have sofas for visitors to sit on and watch a game.

Designing a stand for trade show success requires a thorough knowledge of the company’s brand identity and stand design expertise. The former, the company directors should know but with the latter, unless the company has in-house expertise, then it is better to delegate the task to a well established trade show stand specialist. When selecting a stand design specialist, it is important that they offer a consultative approach rather than just sell the stand without acting as a design consultant to the company. The company and the stand specialist needs to work together to come up with a design that is truly reflective of the company as well as providing a good customer experience.

One important element of a trade show stand is user experience. How can the potential customer interact with the company’s products and services? What technology is available to enable the customer to do that? How can the staffs at the stand present themselves? How can you demonstrate the product at the stand? 

The stand must be able to give the potential customer a chance to experience the product if possible. If the company sells software then an onscreen demo with the visitor having to try part of the software first hand would be an ideal product demo. For physical products like clothes then having samples of some key products would be best. For the food business then let visitors taste it. For products or services that can’t be easily tested then designing a stand that allows the visitor to get as much information as possible about the company and its products and services is crucial. Think of what medium you would use to showcase the product. For a vehicle, this could be videos, brochures, a display vehicle for people to sit on. For digital marketing services this could be case studies, list of existing clients, results delivered, free trials, samples of work, presentations and developing ways to pitch a client. The company must be able to utilise all possible mediums to communicate the benefits of the product to the potential customer. Whatever product the company sells, the visitor must be able to walk away having a good understanding of the company and the product and having a positive experience. At a trade show stand, communicating the key benefits of what the company sells and providing a customer experience that is friendly, fun and comfortable is crucial. 

So much has been said about designing the stand for trade show success and what should be at the stand but what about the preparation before the trade show? How does a company get as many of its  target audience to attend? The key lies in email marketing and social media. Both new customers and past customers must be targeted to maximise audience attendance. The strategy involves segmentation and focused messages. Offering incentives for people who sign up by a certain deadline such as a free month usage of a software, free t-shirt or goody bag will encourage registration and attendance. 

Trade shows are an effective but expensive way for a company to market their products. If not properly planned could be costly but if well planned and executed, could see profits soar. 

Discount Displays Ltd have over 30 years experience in exhibition and trade show stand design and has worked with numerous clients on stand design and custom graphics. Discount Displays Ltd work on a consultative basis to help the client design a stand that maximise customer experience and promote the company’s products or services to maximum effect.