Trade Show Exhibits: Details Add Up To Big Impact
When it comes to customer engagement, lead generation, and brand awareness, trade shows pack a punch. Nearly 13,000 trade shows occur in the US each year, and more than 20,000 internationally, according to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events.
But the decisions, deadlines, and deliverables involved in planning and producing a trade show exhibit can overwhelm even experienced marketers.
Exhibit Planning: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
A trade show presence that stands out from the noise requires meticulous planning for the right mix of sensory experience and customer engagement. This can be even more challenging for smaller booths that compete for foot traffic and attention.
Each company that turns to Lightspeed for planning assistance is unique in their needs. Some want us to take on everything, which we’re happy to do.
Others want to handle some show aspects themselves and pick-and-choose from our menu of planning and production services, which fall under four main categories:
Exhibit Production Including Rental or Custom-build
Creating an exhibit requires strategizing how it will be warehoused, shipped, and used at each trade show. Standard rental sizes in the smaller range run 10’x10’ or 10’x20’.
Companies with a small-footprint exhibit typically participate in four-to-six trade shows a year. They want to attract potential customers, encourage conversations, and make the most of the space without feeling cramped.
Some companies also want the flexibility of modular add-ons so they can expand or shrink depending on their event goals. Others want custom builds to accommodate specific booth activities.
Designing an exhibit booth goes beyond simply following corporate brand guidelines. Graphic designers accustomed to print or digital creations have to wear a different hat for three-dimensional booth design.
“Our designers think in physical spatial terms of the overall experience of customers approaching and entering the exhibit,” says Briana Fahmie, Program & Events Lead at Lightspeed. “What visual line will someone have as they walk by? What will be happening in each section of the booth? If there’s going to be a TV to loop a video, you don’t want text around it competing for focus. Booths designed with those types of factors in mind will be more successful.”
Management, Logistics, and Execution
“Where do I start?” and “What do I do now?” are two questions we often hear from our clients who have been tasked with handling their company’s trade show presence. The checklist to produce an exhibit makes even the most experienced project manager lose sleep.
Management and logistics cover everything from completing forms, shipping the booth to the right place so it arrives on time, and procuring and overseeing on-site labor, to printing collateral, producing briefing documents, ordering refreshments and team apparel, and assigning staff member responsibilities.
Maybe you’ve got all the on-site staff you need. But what about all the pre-show decisions and details? That’s where consulting services lighten the load and become an extension of your marketing team.
Consulting helps you identify the goals for your exhibit and how to meet them – all the way down to knowing you’ve ordered the right swag to entice prospects into your booth.
Match Company’s Goals With Exhibit Needs
Whether a bigger footprint or small, Lightspeed partners with companies to ensure the best fit for their exhibit goals.
We start by asking the right questions and bringing our combined decades of exhibits and trade show experience to address any need. Recent examples include:
- Wealth management software company Addepar chose Lightspeed to manage logistics and execution for a smaller footprint at least once a quarter in addition to one or two large shows a year. We produced a modular, expandable exhibit that provides a 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ footprint. Lightspeed also produces banners, handles booth shipments, procures rental furniture and on-site labor, and orders electrical and other essentials.
- “For one show, we provided a branded coffee cart and baristas to serve lattes and cappuccinos,” Fahmie says. “Everything that’s happening in the booth, we manage and oversee.”
- OrbitalRX turned to Lightspeed to produce the healthcare technology start-up’s first tradeshow booth including signage, digital screens, and 10’x10’ exhibit setup – all part of developing their overall brand identity.
- Reltio asked us to produce a simple but distinctive 10’x10’ booth that would attract leads and spark conversations. We provided an exhibit durable enough to withstand foot traffic at multiple shows for at least two years, yet easy to ship and set up on their own. Modular options are adaptable for multiple setups and purposes.
Event Planning Through Partnership
Requests for smaller footprints tend to come from marketers who have been tasked with overseeing events for their company, without an in-house events team to support them.
Those are the individuals who tell us, “I couldn’t have done this without you.”
Fahmie says, “It’s a partnership. Lightspeed becomes an extension of that individual. They call us and whatever they need, we’re doing it. The biggest feedback we get is, if Lightspeed isn’t doing it, it’s not getting done.”
Ask Us About These & Other Services For Your Next Trade Show:
- Booth production (custom build or rental for 10’x10’, 10’x20’, 20’x20’, 20’x30’)
- Creative booth design, print collateral, and social media images
- Shipping and warehousing
- Consultation and strategy
- Management of deliverables, deadlines, and order submissions
- On-site logistics, labor management, set-up, and dismantle
- Briefing documents for booth staff
- Customer engagement including booth entertainment, refreshments, and swag
- Booth staff apparel
By alleviating all the logistical noise and busywork for our clients, they can focus on important things like knowing their products, practicing their demos, and making their lead generation successful – instead of worrying about shipping swag.”
– Briana Fahmie, Program & Events