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Effectively Planning a Tradeshow Exhibit in a Changing Landscape

by Ed Zilinskas, E.V.P. at Lab Exhibits & Services

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Winston Churchill

The global Coronavirus pandemic has canceled or postponed many Spring & Summer 2020 tradeshows, and many people are unsure if tradeshows will be back for the Fall or if we will have to wait for 2021.

I believe Tradeshows will be back, but they are likely to look a little different in the beginning and evolve into a new normal.  

Lean Tradeshow attendance

I believe Tradeshows will be back, but they are likely to look a little different in the beginning

Attendance

One significant change we will likely see is that show attendance will drop in the beginning and remain that way for quite a while. However, individuals that will be on the tradeshow floor are going to be buyers with a purpose.

You won’t see many “tire-kickers.” A less populated show floor will increase the hit ratio of finding real leads through proper Boothmanship skills and practices.

Boothmanship is the art of engagement and qualification for follow-up with a prospect after the show.  The goal is to convert that lead into a long-term customer.  

Check back for our blog post on the benefits of Boothmanship training.

Planning a budget

Budgets

Exhibiting budgets will be significantly reduced. It will be necessary for exhibitors to save money without jeopardizing the integrity of their brand. 

When shows return, will you be ready?  

DON’T give your competitors an edge. Be the leader in your industry, and start the planning process now.

Companies that market harder during tough times often capture more market share because a majority of their competitors become overly conservative. 

Now is the time to be strategic!

While your competitors are exiting the tradeshow marketplace, you can exercise the following strategies:

Reduce Staff – Decrease your exhibit staff by 50%. Staff reductions will significantly decrease travel and entertainment expenses. 

Take steps to sharpen your sales team’s skills. An investment in a professional trainer to ready your sales task force in the art of Boothmanship will increase your ROI. 

Boothmanship Trainer referrals are available upon request. Email us at info@labexhibits.com.

Think Big in Smaller Spaces – A significant cost-saving strategy is to use less exhibit property and/or exhibit in a smaller booth space. With the right design and graphics, your exhibit will still shine and support your brand and functional needs properly.

Decrease Service Expenses – While planning your exhibit, consider the ongoing service expenses that occur with every show. Material handling also referred to as Drayage, is one of the most considerable costs that you can decrease with the use of lighter weight custom display elements such as tension fabric, aluminum, and Sintra.  Sintra is a lightweight, highly durable printable PVC substrate.

Additionally, if you have the time and the resources, arrange, reconcile, and remit payment for all of your general contractor invoices directly to avoid any management fees from your display house.

Custom Rental Exhibits – There are many marketing and financial benefits that are realized with custom rental display properties while eliminating the risks conducive to ownership. Through creativity and innovation, please allow us the opportunity to show you how we can transform your exhibit.

A portfolio of Custom Rental Exhibit examples is available upon request at info@labexhibits.com.

Experiential Marketing – Add new meaningful attractions or fun themes with Augmented Reality, Interactive Touchless Monitors, Object Recognition Tables, and Contests such as Quiz or Game Shows.  

Unfortunately, wearable Virtual Reality might not be user friendly due to our new landscape for several years. 

Consider doing a live speaker presentation with a Q&A portion.

Live Speaker

Your targeted audience wants to be entertained while being educated. 

Keep your exhibit – Fresh & Exciting.  If the display appears different at each annual show, your customers and prospects will continuously keep coming back to see what you are offering that is new or different.

Avoid redundancy. Do not allow your program to become stale.

The opportunity for your tradeshow program budget to grow will rely on proven results when tracking leads to sales. Remember, it only takes one lead converted into a customer to pay for the entire tradeshow or more. 

At Lab Exhibits & Services, we can help you with all your tradeshow and event requirements.
For more resources and information, email us at info@labexhibits.com or visit our site.

Ed Zilinskas, E.V.P. of Business Development and Partner at Lab exhibits & services in Aurora, IL.

As a 30 year veteran of the trade show and custom exhibit industry, Ed has grown his display creation skills from the ground up. He has taken his experience as a show floor supervisor and coupled it with his executive-level design and marketing vision for his customers. He has excelled at helping his clients develop unique and functional displays that promote their brand, communicate their message, and create a positive and memorable experience for their target audience.