Designing a trade show display is a really exciting prospect because there are so many opportunities and ideas, and, of course, one of the important goals is to create something that is visually appealing, and makes people stop and take note. Building that “WOW!” factor can be a lot of fun, which, unfortunately, leads a lot of exhibitors to set their enthusiasm for the project ahead of the less-exciting strategy needed to build an exhibit that’s not only appealing, but effective in achieving their marketing objectives and sales goals. This is a significant investment, and you need a display that does more than look cool.
The Perfect Trade Show Display Experience
- Nail Down What You Need – We know it’s tempting to start whipping out sketches of what your future exhibit might look like, but before you do, spend some time evaluating what you want to accomplish with that custom exhibit, and turning those wants and needs into specific, achievable objectives. There will also be broader objectives, which are harder to quantify: Brand recognition, for example. Once you’ve laid out your hard objectives and more generalized goals, think about what else your exhibit might be used to accomplish. Maybe your goals involve specific sales and lead generation numbers, and your generalized goal is to increase brand awareness in a specific market. If you plan your exhibit thoroughly, you can also stimulate social media presence and sharing, which boosts your Return on Investment (ROI).
- Identify The People You Need To Reach – Once you’ve laid out what you need to accomplish, the next step is identifying the people you need to reach, in order to achieve those goals: Who is the target audience? You may discover that you have different targets for different goals; for example, the people who are most likely to share on social media may not be the same people as your most likely buyers. Obviously, the likely buyers are the ones you should most precisely aim for, but those social media sharers can also help your efforts, so don’t miss an opportunity to dangle a shiny bit of encouragement in front of them, too.
- What Will Attract (Or Repel) Those People? – Combine your knowledge of your target audience with your own objectives, to figure out what you can do to attract the people you need, avoid turning those prospects off, and put them in a receptive frame of mind for what you want to achieve. For example, if you’re retailing and your target market is fairly broad, you want a trade show exhibit that invites people to come in and interact with your products and team, and leads them along a literal sales funnel path. If you’re selling service contracts or wholesale merchandise, you probably have a longer sales process, and an exhibit that feels more secluded may help you keep your prospects in your range of influence longer.
Now Comes The Fun Part – Trade Show Design
Once you’ve made a plan and determined whom you most need to reach, it’s time to start designing a trade show display. Building an exhibit that is effective for your specific objectives starts with choosing the right floor plan, then carefully using every cubic inch of space from front to back, floor to ceiling. Broadcast your brand message from the highest point, and work your way down to eye-level call-outs of your Unique Selling Points (USP) and product features and benefits. Be sure your exhibit gives people a reason to enter, and then leads them along a sales path, from awareness to interest, on through to a buying decision and purchase action.