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Top 10 Trade Show Exhibit Tips for 2014

by Gwen Parsons 16. January 2014 16:37

To kick off the New Year we selected our top picks for exhibitor-proven tips to help you get the results you seek from your trade shows and events.

trade show tips

Before the Show

1. Set goals. Every exhibitor should know that management wants measurable results. If you haven’t set goals for trade shows and events before, start now. Goals express what you want to achieve - leads, reinforce customer relationships, add social media followers, recognition as a market leader, etc. The more specific your goal, the better you can measure your ROI and plan for the future. These free planning and measurement tools can help.

2. Make appointments before the show. Start every show with a full appointment calendar and you'll cover your costs before the event opens. Target individuals you want to meet. Locate them in your database, on LinkedIN etc. Contact them to make appointments 3-6 weeks prior to the event. Set  your appointments for unusual times ( e.g. 9:45 a.m.)  to make them memorable.

3. Offer to speak at shows where you exhibit. It positions you as an expert and thought leader. If you can't speak as part of the official program, create your own in-booth, theatre-style presentation and promote it to attendees.

4. Train staff. Even the most experienced exhibit staff needs preparation before every show. Make sure everyone understands the objectives and their role in reaching them. Make sure your staff is confident stepping out into the aisles to greet attendees and introduce themselves.  Get more staffing tips.

During the Show

5. Promote your booth location during the show. Today's successful exhibitors keep the conversation going throughout the event  using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social media channels to generate buzz  and traffic. Get a free social media guide.

6. Network. During seminars and hospitality events, connect with peers  who are eager to share their experiences. Meet with industry experts who will listen to your challenges and offer insights and ideas for solutions.

7. Stand out, be memorable and relevant. Grab a great booth location. Use eye-catching colors. Thank visitors for their time by providing a giveaway that aligns with your brand and message. Get more ideas for standing out from the crowd.

8. Build your following with good content. Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com says, "If your content and research are really good, people will flock to you. But people hate sitting through a sales pitch masquerading as a seminar."  Use show presentations to provide new insights, answers to questions, and solutions to problems. Give great presentation with powerful content.

9. Deliver an experience. Invite attendees into your exhibit to touch, feel and watch your products in action. Use touch screens and live demos to encourage longer visits and more interaction with your booth staff.

After the Show

10. Follow up fast and often. Speed is the name of the game in lead follow-up. Scan visitor badges at your booth to expedite capturing contact information. Set after-show appointments with prospects before they leave your booth. Send an email follow up that night with a LinkedIn invitation. Exhibitors often aren’t persistent enough in following up averaging only 1.5 phone call attempts. Research indicates it takes 6 to 9 phone and up to 3 email attempts to establish a connection.

Find more free exhibiting resources.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.



Trade Show Tips | Trade Shows

How a Trade Show Display Rental Solves Problems

by Gwen Parsons 14. November 2013 23:14

Until a few years ago, if you wanted a dynamic display customized to your presentation needs, your only option was to purchase a trade show exhibit. Renting a display meant you had to settle for a generic, one-size-fits-all look. But all that’s changed. Now you can choose from an ever-growing selection of innovative pre-priced trade show exhibit rental designs like these :

In fact, there are hundreds of affordable display rentals that may be custom tailored to your needs just by submitting a design rental request:

Here are just a few of the situations where exhibitors turn to an exhibit rental as a problem-solver:

►    You’re new to exhibiting and want to try before you buy.
►    You already have an exhibit, but need to expand or modify it for a one-time use.
►    You’re faced with scheduling struggle and need a display to fill-in fast.
►    You exhibit internationally and want to save the cost of shipping, customs and duties.
►    You want to control exhibiting costs by eliminating or reducing ownership expenses.

A trade show display rental is a simple solution that also stretches your budget. You can have all of the branding impact of custom design  and still enjoy money-saving benefits. With an exhibit rental, you can eliminate all the expenses of ownership including storage, maintenance, inventory management, repairs, refurbishment and disposal. Take a look at these cost comparisons. It’s not unusual to see savings over 40%.

Nomadic offers turnkey display rentals that include everything you need—from design and graphics to delivery, installation, tear down and pick up when you’re event is over. We’ll even store your graphics for re- use at your next event. It’s that simple.

Exhibiting in Las Vegas or Washington, D.C.? With Rental Centers in these two popular trade show and event cities, Nomadic can save you and your team money and time-consuming hassles.

Check out our money-saving Turnkey Service Packages.

To learn more, request our free report:  Is the Rental Revolution Right for You? It comes with a cost-comparison worksheet to help you decide what’s best for your budget, timing and performance requirements.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


Five Tips for International Exhibiting

by Gwen Parsons 10. October 2013 17:48

International exhibitions can present new and different challenges. Aside from the logistics there are also cultural differences to consider. To put your best foot forward at trade shows, it’s important to be informed before you travel abroad.

1. Think Global, Act Local
While English may be considered a universal language, you may benefit from having a translator present in your trade show exhibit or exhibition stand.

Although many business men and women converse in English, it’s important to provide trade show attendees with print or digital information in their native language. Potential prospects need to fully comprehend the benefits of your products and services. Many cultures seek technical details, so provide metric measurements and weights. 

Bring plenty of business cards. Unless you have arranged for your toll free telephone number to be accessible from other countries, be sure to include a direct dial telephone number.

trade show display

2. Don’t Assume, Ask.

While regions may share similarities, every country can be different. 

The US uses 120v electricity and Japan uses 110v. Many European countries, Russia and China use 220v. Brazil uses 110v and 220v. So you’ll need to have adaptors and transformers for American lights or purchase or rent substitutes.

Drayage, delivering exhibit shipments from the loading dock to your booth space, is a common expense in US trade shows. That expense may be combined with other fees, or require no charge, in other countries.

Avoid surprises by inquiring about what materials and services are subject to VAT (value added tax) or GST (goods and services tax) - at what rate, and whether or how you may file for reimbursement.

3. Get help from experts
Consider working with an experienced exhibit company that has their own international offices. Customs can be a complex and lengthy process. Paperwork errors can cause delays that impact your budget. Exhibit plans often need to be submitted along with documentation to show management to verify it meets local electrical and fire safety regulations.

Nomadic has multiple offices in key trade show cities like Las Vegas, New York, DC, London and Frankfurt. This enables us to coordinate display design, production, rentals, graphics and logistical support from the locations closest to client events so we can save them time, money and headaches.

trade show display

4. Basic Business Etiquette

Before you leave, learn as much as you can about the culture of your trade show audience. When in doubt, err on the side of formality.

In general, conservative business attire is recommended. Keep your hands out of your pockets and hand gestures to a minimum as it can be off putting. 

Greet visitors using their last name until you are asked to address someone by their first name. Don’t rush through introductions. Age demands a higher level of respect in Asia, so address older people first. European business people often greet one another with a firm handshake, whereas Asian countries tend to avoid body contact. Asking personal questions of any kind may be viewed as inappropriate.

5. Take Your Time
You want to build new relationships through face-to-face contact. Many cultures attitude toward time is more relaxed and conversation more casual. Take time to get to know visitors before diving into a sales pitch. Refreshments encourage casual conversation so in-booth hospitality is often incorporated into the display design. Offer visitors comfortable seating, a hot or cold drink and light snacks. 

In general, American trade show hours are shorter than in other countries. Adapt your booth schedule accordingly to incorporate frequent breaks for your staff. Jet lag combined with longer hours on your feet is a recipe for fatigue.

American exhibitors often hold brief conversations with many visitors and collect their information to contact them after the show. Exhibitions are used for in-depth discussions or to close business deals in some cultures.  Lastly, don’t let a lengthy evaluation process frustrate you; some cultures don’t make decisions at a rapid pace.

Do you have others tips to share with our readers?

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


From Trade Show Displays to TV Set Designs All the World is a Stage

by Gwen Parsons 23. September 2013 23:32

Trade shows and television programs have a lot in common. Think about it. They both require advance planning and preparation, even rehearsals. Both depend on audio and visual communication to connect with their audience. Both involve face-to-face interaction. And both use Nomadic displays to stage their program!

Most recently producers at Intereconomía TV called on Nomadic Display Espana to design and build the tv set design for their program, Noche de Boxeo, or Boxing Night. Noche de Boxeo was created to offer the best live boxing broadcasts. 

For a first class program producers envisioned a striking tv studio set design for commentators that would portray a premium quality experience for tv viewers. In addition, the show is scheduled between two other live broadcasts in the same tv studio set so it had to be installed quickly. Nomadic built ten foot tall Instand pop up frames and covered them with colossal photo graphics of boxing images. Frames were arranged in an L shaped wall to allow television cameras to shoot the hosts and panel from two open sides. Not only was the set-up remarkably fast, but it was also far more cost effective than standard television sets.

The program captured the channels’ top slot for audience viewership and is a big hit in Spain racking up over 7,000 likes on Facebook. Professional boxers were among the commentators on the debut program including Javier Castillejo, considered to be the best Spanish boxer in history. Beatriz Pino, who is the host of the program is the first woman in Spain to direct a boxing program. Recent broadcasts included matches from Chicago and Atlantic City.

This wasn’t Nomadic’s first television rodeo. We’ve designed tv studio sets for NFL and Fox Network sportscasts. Often transported from stadium to stadium, their set designs needed to be easy to assemble and durable. So Nomadic created custom back drops with network brand graphics printed on durable tension fabrics that look great and stand up to rigorous use.

Sports television sets like these join other tv set designs Nomadic has produced for entertainment television broadcasts. They include American Idol, America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent, and X Factor as well as cable tv talk show set designs.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


Use Flooring to Enhance Your Trade Show Display Design

by Gwen Parsons 29. August 2013 19:10

Trade show booth flooring is probably one of the last items on an exhibitor’s planning list: tick a box, submit a form, it’s done. Yet companies are missing out one of the most underutilized branding opportunities at their show. We asked Stacy Barnes of Brumark Total Flooring Solutions to share her thoughts on how to better use this valuable real estate.

Exhibit designers integrate flooring into display designs for more than pure aesthetic appeal. Flooring can also be used to define space, direct traffic flow or highlight new product areas. Today there are many more flooring options available to choose from that can help make an exhibit really stand out. In addition to carpet, these include printed floors, vinyl floors, raised floors, tile, and even turf.

trade show displays

Trade show carpet is popular because it is easily available, comes in a range of colors, is affordable and durable. Find out what color carpet the show contractor will be using on the show floor. Then choose a color that not only complements your display but will also make your exhibit space pop out.

trade show exhibits

Inlays can transform a display from average to extraordinary with logos or design motifs designed to reinforce your brand. Just remember: always request a sample of the carpet that you will be ordering to ensure it meets your expectations.

trade show booths

Welcome visitors into your display by offering them a little something extra…..comfort. Remember attendees spend long days walking the show floor and for a few extra pennies you can upgrade the padding in your display. Not only will visitors notice it, they may appreciate it enough to linger a little longer with your booth staff.

Full color graphic images printed on flooring is another way to extend your brand message. Vinyl offers a variety of patterns and textures including checkerboard, metal, and stone. Laminates and bamboo are popular wood flooring options and don’t forget there are new green materials such as cork and sisal. Raised floors offer lighting options and wire management underneath.

trade show pop up displays

When considering how to put together your trade show display and market yourself, don’t overlook the floor. It can be a foundational part of your plan!

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


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Trade Show Tips | Booth Design

Best Ways to Save on Exhibit Transportation

by Gwen Parsons 15. August 2013 17:38

Transportation accounts for about ten percent of the average trade show and event budget. Reducing the cost allows you to repurpose the savings and re-invest it in promoting your event to generate more traffic and more business. 

Use lighter weight display solutions
It’s no secret that weight dictates your freight and drayage costs. Display solutions that travel compactly and weigh less offer exhibitors BIG savings. Portable modular displays are designed to offer high style and built with fabric printed graphics and lightweight aluminum to lower transport costs.

Get accurate cost estimates
Nobody likes to return from an event to find invoices that are significantly higher than what was expected or budgeted. The best way to get accurate estimates up front is with the correct number of items and the weight for each of them (boxes, cases, carpet bags) in your shipment. With this information you can compare costs using different methods and service providers.

Airline Baggage
Check with your particular carrier on their policies and rates to take a portable modular display on the flight with you. For example, I called United Airlines about taking a display in two Rolluxe cases from DC to San Francisco as oversize bags and was quoted $200 per case.

UPS and FedEx
Exhibitors with smaller spaces love the convenience of collecting their display at their destination. These widely known and available services deliver anywhere – offices, hotels, convention hall business centers –at competitive rates for shipments weighing under 150 pounds. Built-in wheels on shipping containers make it easy for exhibitors to maneuver cases onto elevators and around the event floor. 

Be sure to ask what surcharges may apply to your shipment. For example, shipping display cases without an exterior carton or oversize cartons may incur additional fees.

Freight forwarders
When your shipment weighs over 150 pounds your best option is a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders manage a chain of suppliers and may use multiple carriers to deliver your display to its destination - by ground, air and water. Some are referred to as LTL which is light truck load meaning your shipment may be combined with others on the same truck.

Ask your estimator to quote different options. If you have multiple items to ship, compare the cost to ship them as individual items and together on a pallet or skid. Trucks delivering direct to the show or advanced warehouse have to get in line to unload. Check whether, and what, waiting fees may apply. Deliveries to locations without access to a loading dock will require trucks with a lift gate which may incur additional fees, too.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


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Trade Show Tips

Marketing Executives’ Outlook on Trade Shows and Events

by Gwen Parsons 7. August 2013 20:22

The Chief Marketing Officers Council and the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association recently partnered to benchmark the value of trade shows and events based on a survey of senior level corporate marketing executives. The results have been released in a report entitled “Customer Attainment from Event Engagement” and addressed in a symposium held last week. Here are some of my key takeaways:

Trade shows and events are core to the marketing mix

  • Exhibitions and events are viewed as a major source of new prospects and opportunities for gathering leads and meeting with customers.
  • Survey respondents rated conferences, conventions, trade shows, expos, and customer hospitality events as most important to their business development strategies. Online events, large event sponsorships, and dealer meetings were rated least important.
  • Forty percent of survey respondents are replacing big shows with more vertical market events that offer targeted audiences.
  • Forty-four percent are hosting their own customer events.

Marketing budgets remain steady

  • The CMO Council’s “2013 State of Marketing” study reported that an average of nine percent of the marketing budget is allocated to trade shows and another three percent to corporate events for an impressive total of twelve percent.
  • More than half of survey respondents said their budget allocation will remain the same next year.
  • One of the top challenges identified by marketers was managing escalating costs within their trade show budget.

Marketers anticipate increased demand for justification

  • In order to make a strong business case for trade show participation marketers are seeking front end and back office measurements to demonstrate event effectiveness.
  • Attendee mix and quality is the top criteria used by marketers to select events. Marketers expressed their need for reliable attendee information from show organizers - before and after the event.
  • In addition, the study revealed interest among marketers for show organizers to employ new technologies such as RFID badges, QR codes, and Apps to provide metrics such as booth visits, length of stay, and conference content access.

There’s room for improvement in the back office as well. Marketers continue to wrestle with how trade shows and events contribute to sales revenue. Only about one third of marketers feel their company does a good job converting leads into business opportunities. Although more than 40 percent of marketers say they have CRM systems they are happy with, they don’t have visibility into the sales funnel and conversion pipeline.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


Exhibit Design Tips for Maximizing Results

by Gwen Parsons 23. July 2013 19:07

Exhibit design is one of the most powerful and least understood elements of trade show marketing. A display is your ambassador, a temporary representative designed to communicate on your behalf and foster commerce. For this reason, the overall design should attract visitors, reflect your brand personality, and provide a platform for developing your business relationships. So here are a few trade show display ideas for creating a dynamic trade show booth design.

Use Height
Take advantage of the highest point of your display to place your company logo. Lightweight fabric structures in a variety of shapes may be hung above your display for visitors to locate your booth across the show floor and as they walk down the aisles. You don't have to spend a lot to maximize your space. Tall structures such as towers with signage at the top can create similar effects without the expense of ceiling rigging.

trade show exhibits

Draw Attention
Think of attendees as specialized and discerning shoppers that are influenced by what they see, hear, or smell. Motion can catch attendees' eyes while LED spot or backlighting can make your graphics pop. Use music and special sound effects to stimulate their curiosity and because smell is our strongest sense, use it to lure visitors in with fresh coffee brewing, popcorn popping, or chocolate chip cookies baking.

Open Up
Make your visitors feel welcome with an open and inviting floor plan. Encourage entry by offering easy access to your space from multiple points. To that end, think more space, less clutter. One general rule of thumb is to leave 60 percent of your space frontage open and at least 60 percent of the floor space unoccupied.

trade show display

Provide an Experience
Don't underestimate the power of face-to-face contact with your product. The number one reason people attend shows is to see new products. Nothing sells a product as effectively as a truly hands-on experience. Visitors look for opportunities to see and touch your products to learn about them. Integrate product display into the exhibit, distribute samples or conduct in-booth demonstrations.

For more tips on trade show design, download our special report "Exhibit Design Strategies that Maximize Results" today.


What Your Exhibit Designer Needs From You

by Gwen Parsons 10. July 2013 00:12

Exhibitors often ask what information is needed to start a new trade show booth design. Ideally you want a well thought out trade show display solution that will help you achieve your marketing objectives. Better quality input from you will produce better quality output from your exhibit designer.  So take the time to gather the right input.

1. Exhibiting calendar

Once you have selected your trade shows, create a list of each of the events you plan to attend and their space sizes. Based on the number of events and their space sizes, it may be worth considering a modular display that can scale to fit different change and adapt to each event and trim provide you with costs savings that may be applied across your trade show marketing program. If you have  a one off situation, it may be advisable to use a trade show display rental.

2. Concise design brief

Your brief should describe your marketing goals, how you plan to engage your visitors, explain your products/services that will be featured and demonstrated. Try to express the look and feel you want your brand to portray to potential clients.  Describe your plans for visitor interaction – touch screen programs, product sampling, small group meetings, live presentations, etc.  While you may not have every detail pinned down, document what is firm in your mind.

A brief is not only helpful to your designer, it can also help you evaluate the display design concepts they present. Download our Exhibit Design Strategies which contains a tutorial to help you write a brief.

3. Realistic budget

Be open about discussing your budget and any cost cutting strategies you want to pursue.  Designers do their best to create a design solution to fit your budget.  Prepare for the discussion by researching the size and type of display designs that fit the design brief you created.

4. Design tools

Design time is better spent designing than searching for materials.  Your designer will need to understand the corporate image guidelines for your brand, and have access to the logos, artwork, photos and/or graphic images you want used in your exhibit design.  You will need high quality images since they will be printed in large format. If you decide to have graphics designed by an agency, you will need to provide them with graphic file preparation instructions like the ones in our GraphicSource Guide.

5. Adequate time

Plan to provide a brief to your exhibit designer at least three to six months prior to your event.  You will receive a better thought out exhibit design with less stress for all involved.  Keep in mind the time required for decision-making by members of your organization.  Artwork proofing and exhibit build production times will vary depending on the size of your project.


Plan Now To Avoid Panic Later

by Gwen Parsons 28. June 2013 19:20

Fall trade shows and events are just a couple of months away so summer is a great time to get organized. Remember Bill Murray’s movie “What About Bob?” Richard Dreyfuss played his psychiatrist and the author of “Baby Steps.” The trick is to break big problems, like event planning, down into small steps so they can be accomplished in an orderly manner. The first baby step toward a Fall event is to create a checklist of activities and their due dates. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Promotion Campaign
Develop a marketing plan for the event. Consider all of the on- and offline opportunities to promote your presence at the upcoming event. Your plan may include advertising, sponsorships, free VIP passes, press releases, a banner on your website, email broadcasts, newsletters, social media posts, premium giveaways etc. Using target dates for release, you can estimate when to place orders and start the development of artwork. Ideally your messages will be carried through in graphics, presentations, and other materials at the event.
Inspect your display
Be sure your display is prepared to represent you. Shabby graphics will reflect poorly on your company so order replacements when needed. If you plan to purchase a new trade show display, it’s a good idea to draft a brief. Describe your marketing objectives, the products and services you want to push, and interactions you are planning for visitors. Get input, buy in or approval on the brief from appropriate managers. Gaining consensus at the beginning will help you avoid having to tackle internal obstacles at the finish line. The brief can help speed your request for design proposals and guide your evaluation of display solutions.

Show Services
By now you have, or will soon receive, your exhibitor service manual. As the official digest of everything you need to know about the event, it’s important to go through it carefully. Determine which show services you will need and add the early bird dates for form submissions to your checklist. By planning to submit your service orders by the early bird due date you accomplish two things. First, you get the best rates on the services you need, savings of as much as 50 percent. Second, if you miss an early bird submission date you still have time to meet the final advance due date and qualify for some savings.

Book your travel
According to Sean O’Neal of BBC Travel, the old rule of thumb – booking tickets three months ahead for the lowest prices – seems now to be out of synch with the latest research. Based on studies by Kayak and FareCompare, O’Neal suggests purchasing on Tuesday afternoon, about three weeks in advance for domestic US tickets and a little more than a month in advance for international tickets to get the best deal.

As for hotels, compare the rate secured by show management to online rates. I got lucky searching online one night and saved over $1,500 for my team to stay at an event’s host hotel.

Beware: dates on this calendar are closer than they appear. If you find you’re already near a due date, don’t be discouraged. You’ve completed your first baby step!