Setting up a trade show display is more costly than sending some of your staff to scope out the event, but in a down economy all excessive costs are to be avoided. At the same time, missing out on an opportunity to showcase your company could mean thousands of lost sales. The solution is to pinpoint the most fruitful events, both for displaying your own trade show booth and for visiting others. There are many ways to determine good opportunities, but making the final call isn’t always easy. These tips will help your company determine when it’s best to set up your banner stands, when it’s best to send representatives, and when it’s best to just sit it out.
Look Beyond Your Trade Press
Companies will often look to their magazines or newspapers for guidance about upcoming events. This is a great way to get an overview, as high-profile events will be listed in prominent magazines. Although it’s a strong way to learn about new conventions, a magazine will rarely provide the kind of in-depth knowledge that you will need to determine whether bringing a trade show booth would benefit your company. Avoid making a decision to attend simply because a new event is listed in a trade publication. If the event is within easy driving distance, consider taking a look at it, but don’t commit to a full-scale trade show display without learning more.
Don’t Hesitate To Call The Organizers
The typical convention advertisement will list an information number. Call it, and you’ll be able to talk to people who are knowledgeable about the event itself (or if they are not, you’ll quickly know that the event isn’t for you.) Your first step when considering attendance at a new show is to call and get any information you immediately want to know. For instance, how many people are expected to attend? Are tickets available on a restricted basis, or can anyone go? Must people pay for entry? All of these will impact the population at the event, and thus impact how many visitors your trade show booth will receive.
Give It A Google
Before you sign up to attend or present banner stands at an event, Google the event itself and the organizing people or groups. The internet is a great way for people who feel strongly about an event to discuss their likes and dislikes in a public space, allowing people like you to read honest reviews without having attended yourself. Googling is totally free, takes only a few minutes, and is surprisingly informative.
Don’t Jump In With Banner Stands… Usually
You should rarely decide to bring your banner stands to a new convention without having scouted it in person the year before. Generally speaking, a new event is largely untested, and may not have a strong return yet. If your company is looking to be particularly thrifty with its travel expenses, shipping your trade show display and flying everyone out for an unknown event is probably not warranted.
On the other hand, there will occasionally be a situation that requires you to throw this rule out the window and attend. It might be a new event put on by your industry’s biggest regulating body. It might be something organized by one of the major industry players. When something of that magnitude comes up, you shouldn’t say no. When in doubt, try these tricks, and reap the benefits that they will provide in frugality and return on investment.