Participation in Trade Shows and Trade Show Stands – 101

May 29, 2010 by  Filed under: Advertising 

Participation in trade shows / fair / expo is a must for establishing and maintaining a respectable presence in the industry. Your firm may be a SME, a start-up, a well-established player in the market, or a household name in the industry. It does not matter. Presence and appropriate representation at such events is not a luxury you can afford to live without.

Once you make the decision to take your place at the trade show in your firm’s field, the firm organizing the event is your first and most direct link to the whole process. Hence it is only natural to direct to that firm your questions and inquiries regarding the process and your participation. If you are new to trade shows, do not shy away from asking questions. Ask whatever you wonder. The more, the merrier. You can not get answers without asking questions first. Without those answers, you will not be able to make informed and rational decisions. And you will have to make decisions. Lots of them. Participating in an expo is not a simple deal.

An experienced trade show organizer firm, one with a well-established brand name to protect, would refrain from acts which may hurt and offend their clients. Hence their answers to your inquiries would be informative and provide necessary guidance. Nonetheless, do not take their word as the gospel. More often than not, you would have other options regarding the choices you will have to make. The first decision concerning your participation in the expo would be the location of your stand in the exhibition hall. A place at a remote corner of the exhibition hall would reduce the number of potential clients who would spot your stand. On the other hand a stand right across the front gate of the trade show hall would make you wish you had bought a quieter place, one where you would not be obliged to serve as the information desk. A place on one of the busy alleys, nearer to the center of the hall would make a better choice in this respect. Haggle with the organizing firm for such a place. Do not be contended with the first place they offer you.

A second decision to make would be the type of stand you want to have at the trade show. A cheap alternative would be the stock stands offered by the organizing firm. Avoid these at all costs. The stock stands, or package stands as some call them, are generic structures offered by the organizing firm for a relatively low fee. Yet like most cheap things, they look… well… cheap. You would not want your firm’s name to be associated with the word cheap, would you?

Furthermore, despite the initially low cost these stands are known for their lack of attractiveness and hence, would not attract the attention of visitors. Firms participate in the trade show / fair / expo in order to be noticed. There are cheaper ways of standing in obscurity. When your firm stands in the dark, its competitors would have a field day thanks to their much more attractive custom-built stands. And they would love every minute of it.

Yet, there is one variable in your control which would do more in attracting visitors to your stand. That is your attitude. Your level of preparedness for the trade show, even the expression on your face would determine your success. Establish a good relationship with your clients and visitors, and they will flock to your firm in the long term. The best stand can not compensate for the sour face of its inhabitants.

Unfortunately, the reverse also applies, the best attitude can not compensate for the damage done to your firm’s image by a lousy stand. Your prestige in the industry is at stake there.

One can write about the details of trade show experience for hundreds of pages. However, to sum up the basics, one can say asking questions is a good start. A good place in the hall, an attractive stand, and a smiling face would also help much.

Cagri Ozturk is a veteran in trade show business in Turkey. He also offers consultancy services to firms participating in expo and trade show.

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Cagri Ozturk - EzineArticles Expert Author

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