What’s the Expiration Date of A Trade Show Booth?

Has Your Display Passed Its Freshness Date?

You wouldn’t think trade show displays have an expiration date, but just like milk and cheese your trade show booth certainly does expire. What’s trending in 2003 is most likely not trending in 2019. You won’t see an expiration date printed on the box, but it’s not hard to spot one that’s starting to turn sour. Here are our TOP 20 CLUES letting you know it’s time to trash that out of style trade show booth and finally buy a new one.

You’re trade show display might be past it’s expiration date when . . .

1. Your graphics are attached with velcro to a fabric backwall. While that may be an acceptable option for a girl scout display at the county fair, it’s no longer acceptable at a professional trade show.

2. Two words: duct tape. We get it, you’re excited about the new designer colors — but please refrain! Duct tape should never be a part of your design element.

3. You purchased your booth before the internet existed. Ummm circa 1990…YIKES!

4. Retro clothing might be making a comeback, but that should never be the theme of your trade show booth.

5. You decide to re-print your graphics but only have the original artwork on a floppy disk.

6. Your “parts” case is getting larger than your booth case.

7. The shipping labels have added 20 pounds to the weight.

8. You dream about the $149 banner stands in the booth across the way.

9. The “No Questions Asked” Lifetime Warranty has expired.

10. It smells like the musty closet in the basement you store it in. No amount of febreze can’t kill that odor.

11. You found the company you bought your booth from by flipping through the Yellow Pages.

12. Costs to store your booth have far exceed the initial booth cost.

13. Your graphics have a “1980’s” theme complete with coke bottle glasses and bell bottom pants.

14. It weighs more than an elephant, soaking wet.

15. No one stops at your booth. Like ever. They just quickly walk by without making eye contact.

16. Your competitors ironically rave over your booth repeatedly saying “Why would you ever get a new booth?! No seriously, don’t change a single thing!”. Laughing hysterically as they walk away.

17. You found an AOL Free Internet CD from trade shows past at the bottom of the case. “You’ve Got Mail”

18. Your boss says, “Gosh golly fellas, we don’t need a new booth – it’s still groovy man.”

19. It takes 5 men, 7 ladders and 2 cranes to set it up. In 2 days.

20. You purchased your booth when a penny could buy candy and milk was 25 cents.

No amount of duct tape or spare parts will revive that musty old booth. Be honest, if you answered “Yes” to ANY of these clues, it’s time to toss your trade show booth and contact us right away! Just imagine the look on your competitors faces when you stroll in with your fancy, new booth – 2019 graphics and all!

Fun, Fresh Ideas to Step Up Your Trade Show Game

Trade shows might be for business, but they don’t have to be all business. It’s time to up your trade show game to make your investment worth your time, increase return and finally get people to engage in your brand.

Most people describe a trade show like this: people wandering up and down aisles glancing at booths with no rhyme or reason as to exactly why they are even there. Some of them were told by their boss to go make an appearance at the trade show, while others went there on their own free will. No matter the reason they are there, you need to remind them why they went. There are tons of ideas out there to help you embrace new business and bring new excitement to your brand. Don’t get comfortable and continue doing the same old thing. It’s time to shake things up and take your trade show experience to the next level with these fun, fresh ideas.

Up Your Marketing Game

The right marketing before a trade show event has the ability to get people talking, sharing, and engaging. You can go all in or stick with a budget. And with the addition of social media, organizations large and small are finally embracing before the show marketing.

Create some hype before you arrive on the trade show floor by utilizing a partial reveal just to get people talking. For instance, include a statement in your marketing that mentions something huge will be revealed at the show but only to those who visit your booth. What’s the big surprise? Well thats is up to you. It could be:

  • A big company announcement
  • A new sponsor or collaboration reveal
  • A prize for a contest winner

The whole point is to cause curiosity and draw attention to your booth at the show. The best thing that can happen to you at a trade show is a crowd!

Marketing Made Fun

Here’s where the fun comes in. It’s all about involving your attendees and making them want to participate in marketing your business. Here’s the trick though – it has to be easy! If it’s complicated, most people won’t engage. Try to stick to simple ideas that no one can say no to.

Humor: Create a “hidden” camera scenario where something unexpected happens and you record your attendees’ reactions to things. You could even stream their reactions in real time if you have the right type of audience.

Scrolling Message Board: Utilizing a large screen within your booth space or in the middle of the trade show floor, encourage attendees to post on social media about your company at the show, using a certain hashtag or emoji to get on the message board. You’ll be surprised how this will motivate people to do some silly things to get on that message board. All the while, they are promoting your brand or company with a simple post on Facebook or Twitter!

Interactive Walls: It could be as simple as creating one out of post-it notes, a whiteboard or chalkboard surface. Propose a question and ask people to respond or invite them to post their business card to show that they were there. When they show is over, you could post a photo to boast how successful your show was and ask if they can locate their contribution.

Mini Contests: Throughout the day, host quick contests to draw in with attendees walking by your booth. Make themes based on well known games, like would you rather or Simon says. Your prizes should be worth their time so you’ll not only draw in willing participants, but you’ll also create buzz and give people a reason to stop by your booth.

Photo Booth: Trust us, photo booths aren’t just for weddings! As each attendee walks onto your exhibit floor, give them a mask or a prop with your booth number written on the back telling them to visit your photo booth. They will be so intrigued, that they’ll have to stop by your booth for a photo. A little bit of fun not only entertains it serves as a great conversation starter as well.

Offer A Mid-Show Snack: Just as the mid-day slump rolls around, so will you offering up a mid-day goodie! Stroll the exhibit hall with an an ice cream cart or a popcorn cart. Just make sure your snack offering is portable and branded with your logo. That way you can serve a refreshing snack throughout the exhibition floor, with the intention of enticing people to visit your booth.

In Conclusion

One of the best ways to switch things up at your next trade show is to create an unexpected experience. The goal is to condition your audience to expect the unexpected. Surprises are some of the most memorable aspects of life so take advantage of this even at a trade show.

Trade shows can either be really fun and memorable or really boring and not worth your time. The decision is yours. But one thing we’ve learned from our previous trade show experience is this – we should all embrace the trade show with a smile and a laugh.

21 Things You’ve Probably Done at a Trade Show (You Might Never Do Anywhere Else)

If you’ve ever been a trade show exhibitor, not just an attendee, there are some things that happen during the long trade show day you may never consider doing in any other business situation.

While many of these behaviors might seem normal to the seasoned exhibitor, others might as well be considered “weird” to anyone else who has never experienced the trade show floor. We decided it would be fun to collaborate and came up with short list of (funny) situations you may recognize. Check them out and let us know if you have more to add!

  1. Wear the same outfit as your co-worker
  2. Nonchalantly walk by another booth and grab anything on the table that appears to have a value (candy, hats, pens, mugs…)
  3. Chat with an ungodly amount strangers, sometimes about nothing at all
  4. Gaze over at the double-padded carpet in booth #828 because your choice of shoes were for fashion and not comfort
  5. Party until the wee hours of the morning with co-workers and not ever talk about it after
  6. Ask a complete stranger for a breath mint and blame it on the free coffee
  7. Pretend the person you are talking to doesn’t need the breath mint more than you
  8. Act completely interested in small talk for hours on end
  9. Complain about how much you loathe setting up and taking down your booth
  10. Be completely convinced that a 15 minute conversation will lead to your biggest sale
  11. Explain, once again, to your family that it’s a “business trip” and not a vacation
  12. Sneak off to the bathroom just for quiet time
  13. Hide behind your booth curtain to scarf down your box lunch
  14. Try and find a way not to stare at everyone’s name badge before introducing yourself
  15. Convince yourself that the 228 business cards collected are solely interested in your business and not the giveaway
  16. Re-introduce yourself to the same person three times
  17. Politely take brochures from anyone and everyone walking by because you can’t say no then discard of them after the show when no one’s looking
  18. Have a permanent smile on your face to the point your cheeks hurt
  19. Stand awkwardly alone in your booth when your co-worker decides they want to walk around
  20. Be shocked at how quickly your booth is to take down compared to when you set it up
  21. Stress because you can’t find your business cards then remember throwing them in the bottom of your the display case at the end of your last trade show