The Booth and Beyond: Fundamentals for Your First Trade Show

EMC Outdoor has its roots in trade show and convention marketing. We have been planning and buying out-of-home media around the U.S. and internationally for 26 years. In more recent years, we have also begun moving inside to enhance exhibitor presence and engagement at trade shows. In this expanding arena, EMC has recently welcomed two new team members that have strong backgrounds in trade shows and trade show marketing. We are extremely happy to have Sabrina Brown and Lauren Berberian as part of our EMC Events family!

Sabrina’s background is in event marketing and planning. Her experiences vary, but a large focus of her career has been driving attendees to events and ensuring that everything onsite runs smoothly. She has participated in a wide range of responsibilities from working with exhibitors at registration, signing in onsite and executing the general flow of traffic on the exhibit floor. She also has experience on the exhibitor side of the business. Sabrina has worked on exhibit forms, arranging shipments, contributing to booth design, and creating collateral.

Lauren has a little over a decade of experience supporting events and trade shows within the nonprofit, pharmaceutical, hospitality, and insurance industries. She has coordinated and managed some large-scale events such as annual grassroots, nonprofit events bringing in over 13,000 attendees, international product launches, road shows, conferences and national tradeshow events. Lauren enjoys developing new relationships with creative people, traveling to interesting places and making/having impactful experiences.  Lauren has a great eye for layouts and design. She quickly provides great insight on how space should best be utilized.

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Want to exhibit at a Trade Show? Here’s how to get started:

We wanted to tap into our newest team members’ respective expertise, and share some of their knowledge on preparing your trade show experience. This will be the first in a series that will walk you through key steps in the process – from the initial planning stages, to designing your booth, to checklists for your activation, and of course driving traffic to your booth using OOH media.

Let’s start at the very beginning and review some quick fundamentals of exhibiting and booth building. Below are some important steps that any exhibitor should consider before signing on the dotted line!

Show Selection: There’s an endless amount of shows that could possibly be ‘The Show’ that’s right for your company but how does one sift through all these? ‘According to Skip Cox, president of Exhibit Surveys Inc., there are more than 14,000 trade events in the United States and Canada alone.’ Exhibitor Magazine. Always think of your end goals and results in mind!

  • What are you trying to accomplish during this trade show?
  • What are your marketing goals and what type of individuals or connections are you looking to build?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How will the budget be allocated?

 

Read the details and do your research: Remember that each city, venue, and show is unique. There are a variety of rules, regulations and costs that could be huge factors, swaying your budget. It’s important to make careful decisions. Exhibiting is an investment and if done right can lead to an increase in business, awareness, and brand identity.

Build the relationships: Relationships are critical. Once you’ve found the show that’s right for you, ensure that you build a strong relationship with the event organizer, EAC, or venue and begin the process on the front end so additional costs do not accrue due to late fees that could be easily avoided.

Have your show “Dream Team”: Having the correct support when trouble or challenges are afoot will drive your ship to safety and ultimately resulting in a successful show! Tradeshow experts, such as EMC Outdoor & Events, will help you save time & money. Your team will ease tension and frustration going through detailed show kits, order forms, labor, and show services. Be aware that little to nothing will go as planned during the early stages: planning, design, and activation. Your dream team consists of experts that anticipate those challenges and will navigate through the rocky steps from conception to completion.

Everything matters: When it comes to trade shows, every little piece comes into play. We don’t just mean remembering the little, albeit important things like water, batteries, and extra cables, but also thinking about your collateral, premiums, and how they all tie together. Leading up to the big day, you want people to know that you are going to be exhibiting. Whether that means social posts, marketing at the airport or outside the convention center, make your time leading up to the show count. Branding is key!

Use the space: Take full advantage of the exhibiting space. If you have a large booth, utilize it in a way where attendees will be drawn in to interact with your team and brand. The phrase “go with the flow” is very important when designing your booth space. You want it to be inviting to anyone walking by, as well as keep the traffic moving so that an optimal amount of people will have access to your space.

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Think outside the box: When it comes to collateral or supporting media formats, keep attendees interested and engaged. When attendees are at conventions their senses are inundated with sights, sounds, handouts, and giveaways. Less can be more, especially when it is unique, tells your story, and invites them back. Leave them wanting more information! Sometimes thinking outside the box means thinking outside of the convention center.

Stay tuned for more tips from our resident experts as we walk through the trade show process. We plan to go into further detail in the months, days, and hours leading up to your big event, and of course those important three to five days of your convention. Lastly, we hope to help guide you to focus and suggest methods on how to collect the feedback as well as various forms of data, and analyze all of that new information after the fact.

We’d love to walk you through the process of preparing for a show – Contact us to set up a free assessment of your trade show plan!

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John Foster
VP, OOH Media Strategy and Trade Show & Events Enthusiast EMC Outdoor
With 5 years of OOH experience and all 5 of those years spent working in the trade show world, John is ensconced in the intricacies of events and how they tick. In his spare time, John loves hanging out with his fun family, exploring new brunch spots in Philly and walking his dog, Basil Exposition.

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