I’ve been involved in various employment roles or career choices scattered over a variety of industries. Entertainment, Heating and Air Conditioning, Automobile, Restaurant, Dry Cleaning, Tech and now, Trade Show. I know that’s an interesting pool of experience to fathom but when you have the blessing (and the curse) of being able to fill multiple roles at a professional level, sometimes ya just do. Please don’t mistake that last declaration as conceited or cocky. Being a jack of all trades and master of “most” makes it hard to find stability. But…I keep going, using my skills and experience, believing that success is not far down the road.
In any event, with all the people I’ve connected with through all of the industries I’ve been involved with, I’ve noticed that the Trade Show Industry is by far the most cooperative and informative with their community. I get more open and quality free advice and participation from the people who work behind the scenes, the news agencies, the bloggers and associations, then I have in any other niche’.
Case and point, I read a piece from Charles Dugan over at American Image Displays that warned exhibitors about booth pitfalls to avoid. As I was reading his well put together post, a chat window popped up and it was him, Charles, the author, asking if he could help me. I was really impressed. Now I know that these chat features are common with websites today but usually the person on the other end is a minimum wage temp or a service out of state (or even out of the country). I really appreciated the author of the story that I was reading, checking in with me.
And the content of his post was even better. Enjoy it below and take notes. These are very helpful tips for you as you prepare for your next expo.
1. Not Reading The Exhibitor’s Manual Thoroughly.
No trade show organizer has ever won a prize for great prose in the creation of an exhibitor’s manual, and some are tougher to slog through than others. But they are created for a reason. Every rule and regulation you’ll need to follow should be in there, as well as every deadline you need to hit, along with the penalties for not doing so. You’ll pay an average of 10-20% more for every service you sign up for late (or even more of a penalty, heaven forbid, on the show floor), so save your company’s money and your sanity by going through the manual and following its instructions.
2. Not Setting Specific Objectives.
This is the entire reason you’re at a trade show: to accomplish something. Knowing what that is, and what it will look like when you’ve done it, is of paramount importance to the success of your exhibiting efforts. Make sure your exhibiting goals are aligned with your corporate marketing strategy so they work together to support your brand. Once you’ve developed your objectives, share them with your team and enlist their support in accomplishing them.
3. Not Allowing Enough Time For Shipping.
Trust me. It’s no fun showing up at the convention center and finding out your trade show display is stuck in a warehouse in Poughkeepsie. Or that the truck was in an accident in Duluth.
To avoid this, ship your exhibit to the advance warehouse with time to spare. That accomplishes two things. First, it virtually eliminates any chance that your trade show booth will go missing. And second, it gives you the best odds to have your booth delivered to your exhibit space early on the first day of set-up.
That solves so many problems! For example, if something is broken or missing, you’ll have time to take care of it without rushing around like your hair is on fire.
Shipping at the last minute is prohibitively expensive, so a little advance planning can save a bundle. It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts, so if there is a problem, you’ll know who to contact and how to reach them.
4. Leaving Production Of Graphics To The Last Minute.
We’ve worked with clients who not only left the preparation of their graphics to the last minute, but they also didn’t even know what they wanted the graphics to say until the eleventh hour! Save yourself the headaches and stress that arise from last minute pandemonium, and give your graphics producer six weeks to prepare what you need. Consider investing in a second set, in case they get lost or damaged.
To read the rest of his piece about pitfalls “At the Show”, click HERE.