How to Get The Most From Your Trade Show

Whether it’s a show or a print ad, we all have a tendency to put off our bookings until the latest possible moment. Received wisdom tells us that, if we wait until the very latest possible moment, the organiser will be up against a deadline and desperately trying to fill those last few places. He’ll be desperate and we’ll get a better deal, right?
Well, yes and no. Frequently the brinksmanship pays off: the organiser succumbs and you get that stand for a fraction of the asking price. It’s not that easy though, there’s a compromise here and it’s one that should be deliberated carefully.
By delaying your booking and squeezing the price you run the risk of ending up with no choice as to the location of your stand. You’ll find yourself in one of those final few spaces – the stands that no-one else wanted. Baby will be in the corner…
So, there’s a decision to be made. You can leave it late to save some money and leave your location to chance or you can book up early, pay up and choose your location. This raises the question – what’s a good spot? Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
The right hall?
It sounds simple but ensure you’re in the right stand. Larger shows like Mobile World Congress and CeBIT have themed halls so you do need to ensure you’re in a relevant place. This may not be possible if you hold off booking until the eleventh hour.
Close to the competition?
It’s your call. You do want to know where they are for reasons of competitive intelligence (more on that later) but judge how close to position yourself. Do you they have a much bigger budget than you? Do they have a new product to launch? Do you want to be near them? Balance the advantages and disadvantages.
Near a significant player/major attraction?
This is a serious issue. Placing your stand right next door to a huge, three-story construction has its benefits – there will be loads of traffic and the media will most likely make a bee-line for it. You can be dwarfed though, lurking in the shadows of a multi-million dollar budget. Ask yourself – is there a cross-selling opportunity to capitalize on? Do you stand to profit from the stragglers on the big stand?
Where is the footfall?
The prime spots are fairly easy to pinpoint – corners, entrances, main thoroughfares and the like are all good spots to choose. Think a little more carefully though and you may turn up a gem. Look at the exhibitor layout, are there any big names that would attract visitors, can you plot the likely routes to and from the main attractions? If you can, try to pick a spot on the trail.
Spending marketing funds on a trade event can seem like a big risk when you’re not properly prepared. It pays to devote a little time thinking about the layout of the show before you go.