Log in

Top Five Trade Show Planning Pitfalls

by Gwen Parsons 1. May 2014 00:11

Face-to-face events enable your company to grow sales by retaining current, and attracting new customers. ​Your company invests significant staff time and money to participate in trade shows and events each year. So we created a list of the top five most common pitfalls to avoid so your company plans to get the most out of their trade show investment.

1. Time: There’s never enough is there? Marketers wear multiple hats today and trade show preparation deadlines can sneak up on you. So plan now to take control by building a calendar or project timeline for your show. Consult your exhibit partner for turnaround times for design and production. Overlay the form deadlines contained within the show manual. Include a factor in your plan for internal meetings, decision making and management approvals. Circulate the calendar or project plan to team members to make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be done, and by when. Establish a schedule of regular meetings with the team to review progress and make adjustments to the plan. Build your plan to deliver to the advanced warehouse to save money and time. In the event you encounter any delays along the pipeline you have a fall back position and can re-schedule delivery direct to the show site.

2. Budget: Track the breakdown of expenses for your events to refer to when you forecast your show budget. Then collect accurate estimates for new graphics and display properties as well as line items that may change based on show location such as freight, labor and hotels. Since companies cannot reduce fixed show expenses, they look to variable expenses to reduce costs. Beware of buying the cheapest graphics or trade show display you can find. Why invest all the money to participate in a show – space, show services, staff travel - only cut corners on the trade show exhibit that will represent your brand?  You want the best presentation possible to generate new sales opportunities. Short term solutions may be “penny wise” but can end up “pound foolish” when you have to purchase replacements. Instead, invest in a trade show display guaranteed to last; one that will accept future accessory upgrades and adapts to different sizes so it may be used at multiple events. Or consider a trade show display rental.

3. Promotion: Many companies make the mistake of thinking they can just show up. While it is the show organizer’s job to bring attendees to the show, it is your job to bring the attendees to your booth. Studies show that attendees maximize their time on the show floor by preparing a target list of exhibitors to meet in advance. Pre-show promotion is essential —without it, your potential customers may not know to look for you. Aggressively market your presence at the show to increase traffic to your booth which will also increase your leads for new sales.

4. Staff: Your booth staff creates the first impression with visitors so choose the employees that will best represent your company. You need people who want to be there and will follow direction. Trade shows require staff to be comfortable approaching attendees in aisles, not just waiting for them to enter your booth. Trade show selling requires listening, responding to and recording information in a conversation that lasts just a few minutes. You need people that can explain how your products solve potential client’s problems better than the competition. Prepare your booth staff by providing proper training and clear communication about show goals and performance expectations to prevent disappointment on the show floor.

5. Follow Up: C suite execs no longer tolerate interdepartmental finger pointing; they want to know the result of their investment in trade shows and events. You can’t afford to fumble at the end zone mishandling your trade show leads after the show. By the time you figure out what to do, the leads have long since grown cold. So before you go to the show, sales and marketing need to agree on who will collect, count, record, fulfill, distribute, contact, and report on show leads. Remember, you can never follow up too quickly with the people who showed interest in your product!

For more tips on exhibit marketing management, download our Guide to Successful Exhibiting.

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.


Tags: , , ,

Trade Show Tips

Nomadic Display Exhibits at EuroShop 2014

by Gwen Parsons 27. March 2014 21:14

EuroShop is the world’s largest retail trade fair and it is held every three years in Dusseldorf.  This year the show drew over 100,000 visitors from more than 100 countries. Attendees representing companies from new start-ups to global brands were there to view design trends and new solutions from shop fitting and visual merchandising to exhibitions.  Nomadic Display was one of more than 2,000 exhibitors this year. It was our tenth time as an exhibitor at EuroShop.

Best known as the company that invented the pop-up display, we created a trade show booth design to demonstrate to potential buyers how a popular modular display is suited to retail and trade show applications.

Compact and lightweight Nomadic portable displays are the easy way to deliver your message anywhere. From counters, kiosks, and banner stands to pop-ups our best selling trade show displays get attention as stand alone units or combined to form larger selling environments. 

Many thanks to everyone who visited our stand.  If you were unable to be there, you can view this short video:

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.


Invest in Yourself with a New Trade Show Education Series

by Gwen Parsons 12. February 2014 19:47

event marketing

DJ Heckes, CEO of Exhib-it and Laura Furumoto, Owner of Marketing To Go Now, have created a 4-part webinar series for 2014. It is intended to educate current and future exhibit managers about the importance of trade shows and events to their marketing mix.

They point out that today’s newly minted marketing managers need to develop and implement an event marketing and sales strategy designed to achieve business objectives. So the first webinar in the series introduces companies to the big picture on trade shows and events. Engaging and enlightening DJ and Laura take the audience on a one hour trade show marketing journey using their extensive experience, industry research and case study examples.

If you missed the live session, you can still gain the benefit of their insight from an on-demand playback here.

Don’t miss this informative session based on the new book “The Noise Behind Business” co-authored by industry veterans, DJ Heckes and Chris Kappes. Order your copy here.

Be sure to register today for the next session, “Selecting the Right Shows”, on April 22nd.

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.


Tags: ,

Trade Show Tips | Event Marketing | Trade Shows

Eight Ways to Jumpstart Your Trade Show Display Traffic

by Gwen Parsons 29. January 2014 15:30

Why do some trade show displays attract bigger crowds than others? With only a few seconds to engage trade show visitors, it pays to try new ideas.

trade show success

1.    Build anticipation
Attendees often plan their visit to the trade show floor in advance. A show promotion strategy designed to peak curiosity will put your trade show booth on their “must-see.” Purchase the pre-registered attendee list  to get your message out via email, direct mail and social media. Learn more about pre-show communications.

2.    Seeing is believing
Demand attention for your trade show display with a large screen presentation. Play a video or animation on continuous loop. Tip: For more on motion graphics.

3.    Lighten up
Capture attention with backlit graphics that make your trade show display stand out. Get tips for creating show-stopping graphics

4.    Sound travels
Visitors are attracted to sounds coming from trade show exhibits including music, a presenter’s voice, audio supporting your video, even laughter. Tip: Laughter is contagious.

5.    Scentsibility
Our sense of smell is the strongest for triggering association and memory. “Good” aromas such as fresh baked cookies or just brewed coffee can lure visitors to you. Tip: Make sure the aroma relates to your marketing message. Visit South Walton infused the air with the smell of coconuts to promote their seaside communities.

6.    Taste it
Take advantage of knowing that attendees walking a trade show floor will get hungry and thirsty. If your company is associated with food products, sampling builds traffic and demonstrates quality. Even bottled water would be welcomed by your visitors. Tip: Refreshments also lengthen the duration of a visitor’s stay at your trade show booth.

7.    Touchy subject
A visitor’s tactile experience starts with a handshake to accompany your smile. From there, a hands-on experience with your product or other forms of participation like an interactive touch screen. Even a comfortable sofa can add to the tactile experience. 

8.    Live it up
Research indicates that trade show exhibits with live presentations are more memorable. Draw visitors in with theatre-style seating to view a magic or game show, scripted product introduction, dramatic or vocal production. Tip: Small gatherings generate curiosity from passersby who may stop to watch, thereby increasing the size of the crowd.

trade show success

Want to better prepare for your next event?
Request your FREE Guide to Successful Exhibiting

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

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.


Tags: ,

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.


Tags: ,

Trade Show Tips