Selecting a booth space at your first Trade Show
It is a challenging position to be in, Trade Show and Event Manager. Especially, when you are asked to take your company to either its first trade show, or alternatively it is your first trade show. Where do you start? What do you do? We will assume it is your first trade show.
First things first, sip a bit of you favorite beverage and clear your head. For me that involves a Carmel Macchiato. Now go to the show’s web site. This is also referred to as the show’s prospectus. Many shows are under a trade association’s web site. Of course, we are assuming that you advised the company on which show or the VP of Marketing has gotten approval for a specific show. Remember, this may not be your company’s first trade show, exhibition or trade fair.
Look over all show demographics, what the show is about and start to have a sound understanding of the event.
Now go sit down with your VP of Marketing and understand what they perceive the goals to be. How do they see the company exhibiting? What size space will be needed? How will you man the space? Great! Now let’s make some assumptions for the sake of argument. Your company is completely rebranding, you are also introducing some new products and services. You will utilize marketing staff and some tech/engineer types as well within your space. The VP would like to see an island location, but away from immediate competition. He or she thinks, 40 x 40 is enough space. He has thrown you a curve ball. You will follow this show with similar size in Europe.
Back to your cubical or office, you should take a moment to collect your thoughts. Now let’s look at the show again. Pull up the exhibitor list. Write down all of your known competitors who will be in the show and their space or booth locations. Print the floor plan and take it to Kinko’s and have it blown up where you can easily read the plan. Mark your competitor’s spaces on the plan.
The Big Picture
So what do we have so far? We have direction, we know where competitors’ are and which of them are are showing and what they are showing. Is that important in the selection process? Is it important to know what you are doing at the show before you select your location? In a word, yes. It is a driving factor. Why? Shall we return to the reasons for exhibiting? You are rebranding, and this is a pivotal moment for a company. Think of it like graduating college and now you have your first real job. Are you still out partying till morning or are you redefining yourself? Are you setting new hours, expanding your acquaintances and friends to include people in your line of work, or those who might affect your career? The same is true with branding. You want to be apart from your perceived competitors’. You will be showing off the new brand and you do not want distractions. Let us not forget you are also introducing new product and services, which will also reflect your new brand. So, position your company not too far away from your peers in business. If you believe you have a strong offering you should be close enough for a comparison.