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Trade Show Display Strategy

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A trade show presence can be an effective means of advancing your brand, connecting with your target audience and expanding your business’s client base. However, creating an effective exhibit is not a trivial expense; you should plan it carefully. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

1. Do you have the resources to create your own design? If you have graphic design training and experience, or employ someone who does, then by all means have at it! However, if you lack such expertise you might consider hiring the services of an experienced design professional. Don’t think that it’s something just anyone can easily do right, and don’t underestimate the taste and intelligence of your target audience.

2. Are your objectives clear? In other words, make sure you understand why you are participating in a trade show. It’s vital to know your audience, and what you intend to accomplish with your display. Whether you’re a startup seeking to increase exposure for your brand, or a well-established business introducing literature on new products or services, your design should focus on specific, prioritized, memorable objectives.

3. What materials and printing process will you use? This ties in with what your budget is, and how many times will your display be used. The best and latest printing technologies may be a greater expense, but one that can pay dividends over time. Higher quality materials, like dye-sublimation fabrics, polyester, and canvas don’t rip or crease easily and have better long-term durability, saving you money over multiple uses. Conversely, if you’re planning a one-off display, you might not want to go to that expense.

4. Where will it be stored? Who will set it up? When you’re deciding the size of your display, consider how much room you have at your business to store the materials, and weigh that against the cost of a storage facility. Also be mindful of the manpower and cargo requirements for timely loading, setup, takedown and transportation.

5. Will you want to replace parts of the display? You may need to consider incorporating display elements that can be updated in order to lengthen the useful life of your display. It’s advantageous to be able to incorporate new information or make seasonal changes without additional spending on a full replacement.

6. Will the display space be the same for every show? If you’re absolutely sure it will be, designing for one booth size should be OK. However, it’s far more likely that display space at future shows will vary in both cost and availability, so it’s prudent to take a design approach that can adapt to varying footprints. Incorporating an adjustable backdrop is a good start.

7. Does your supplier have fast, accessible customer service? Choose a supplier that has good customer service communication to help you create a display according to your needs and objectives. Good customer service means not having to struggle for answers if you have questions along the way.

Obviously, this isn’t comprehensive; the devil’s in the details, and there’s no end to the consideration you could take. But, if you spend some time answering each of these questions, you’ll be well ahead of the game in creating a trade show display that can advance your business.

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About the Author - Richard Erickson
A master of nit-picking and an artful user of words, Richard’s love of language began as a kid. He enjoyed reading (including reading the dictionary!), winning spelling competitions, and analyzing word usage. As senior editor and copywriter at Tenato, his 20+ years in information technology and the performing arts have enhanced both the technical and creative elements of his writing style.