Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

January 2016

Meet Me at Expo West for a TradeshowGuy Button


Nothing like a shameless promotional plug, eh?

Given my recent propensity to do more promotion that usual (see, I had one of those middle-on-the-night flashes: GET SOME TRADESHOWGUY BUTTONS! And GIVE THEM AWAY!

Of course. Why not?

So if you see me at a show, ask. I should have a handful in my pocket. And in March, I’ll have a hundred or two at Expo West in Anaheim, handing them out to exhibitors and attendees.

Just for fun, you know. Want some? Tweet me for a free button at Expo West!


Find Your Exhibit with Exhibit Design Search [Video]

Need to get your hands on your next great tradeshow exhibit but don’t know where to start? Here’s a place that will give you so many choices your head will spin. However, the great thing is that once you narrow your choices down, it’s easy to share with your colleagues and team members. Check out this video:

Check out the Exhibit Design Search now!

Your Tradeshow Marketing Questions Answered [Webinar Replay]

It appears that our first webinar of 2016 went off with a hitch or a hiccup. At least that’s what it felt like! Here’s a replay in case you missed it:

Sign up for future webinars at Our next one is set for February 16 at 10 am Pacific, and will feature Hiett Ives of Show Dynamics, Inc. of Houston Texas. The title of his presentation is “Tradeshow Leads Guaranteed” so you’ll want to make sure to attend!

IBM’s WATSON: “You are heartfelt, and somewhat insensitive…”

One of my favorite weekly newsletters arrives every Monday morning. It’s called the Monday Morning Memo. Clever! Roy H. Williams of Austin, Texas, the Wizard of Ads, sends out an informative and entertaining missive every week that grabs my attention and makes me think. If only all writers could do that.

This past week he told the story of submitting several writing samples to have IBM’s Watson computer analyze them. He was noting that no matter what writing samples he submitted, the analysis was very similar. Conclusion? It’s pretty accurate.

Here’s what Watson had to say about the manuscript of Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level:

You are heartfelt and somewhat insensitive. You are calm under pressure… (click the image to see it a bit larger).

IBM Watson Tradeshow Success Analysis

Upload your own writing sample here.

Tradeshow Blogs and Articles – A Quick One

Time to wrap up a handful of recently spotted articles and blog posts about tradeshows.


Let’s start with the Huffington Post. Shuly Oletzky of Frigibar Industries posts this nice look at 9 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Appearance at a Tradeshow. Many great ideas here.

If you want some food for thought, check out’s The Death of Tradeshows by Dev Aujla, the Founder of DreamNow.

In the news, the White House has announced that President Obama is going to attend the world’s largest tradeshow for industrial technology. Here’s the Associated Press with the story.

TechCrunch believes that the recently completed 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is now a show for start-ups. Here’s their take.

David Saef at goes over The Secrets to Making Live Events Worth Every Penny.

Spark Pay details How to Get Prospects Flocking to Your Booth at a Tradeshow. Some great ideas here, such as investing in look and feel, the use of technology and getting the best location you can.

3 Common Mistakes of Tradeshow Exhibitors (And How to Avoid Them) comes from Contributing Writer Spider Graham at the Business Journals.

And finally Exhibitor magazine chimes in with tradeshow Budgeting: Stats and Formulas. Always a useful thing when preparing for a tradeshow.

Get Free Exhibit Quotes


Round-the-Clock Branding at Tradeshows

Tradeshows are a great opportunity to promote your company. Yeah, we all knew that already.

But are you promoting the company’s brand away from the tradeshow floor?

If you have branded shirts, wear them as you travel. Put the shirt on prior to leaving for the airport. There’s a good chance someone will be on the same flight going to the same show. If they’re familiar with your brand, it might prompt them to strike up a conversation with you. If not, maybe they’ll remember the logo when they walk the floor and see your booth.


At the show, you’ll have your show badge, but what if you had a personal name tag as well? Something like that would stand out a little, too, giving people another chance to remember your name and company name. Getting a name badge with your company name and your name costs only a few bucks, and you can wear it at all public events.

If your company throws parties for clients and prospects at the show, there’s another opportunity to show off the brand with embroidered shirts and name tags, not to mention some other item, such as a kiosk in the corner of the room that allows people to charge cell phones. If you have one of those branded charging stations for the booth, there might be other opportunities to use that away from the tradeshow floor. Think where you might find that opportunity.

Tradeshows are full of competing companies, all vying to get their name out in front of their competition and in front of your eyeballs. Finding other opportunities to brand your company away from the tradeshow floor might give you that edge you’ve been looking for.

Exhibit Care for the Long Haul

Exhibits are a big investment. Tradeshows cost money, and one of the biggest costs is the initial outlay for a new custom booth. Even smaller, modular booths with little to no customization can put a big ding in your pocketbook. With such a big investment, it makes sense to care for the investment so that it lasts year and years, giving you a better return on your investment.

Keep it Running Like Your Car

A new car comes with a warranty, and often comes with free oil changes and maintenance for a set period of time, depending on how desperate the car companies are to sell you something. A new exhibit will usually have a warranty covering many items, but you’re still responsible for upkeep. Imagine your new car. Yes, you get the oil changes done regularly, but do you clean and vacuum the car often? Do you check to make sure headlights, turn signals and brake lights are all working? You’d hate to get stuck on a cold winter night with no headlights. It’s the same (and different) with your exhibit. It’s the same because it needs upkeep and attention. But it’s different because unlike a car which is driven virtually every day, an exhibit is seen only when it’s out of the cases or crates.

The next time your booth is set up, get there early and go over it with a fine tooth comb. Take photos of damages and make notes of changes you’d like to make such as graphics or layout.


Time for an Upgrade?

When driving a used car, after tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of miles, you might need a major overhaul. A new transmission, a new engine, of course new tires and brakes on a regular basis. With an exhibit that’s showing it’s age, you just might be ready for an upgrade. Perhaps your company is growing and you need a larger space. This might mean you have to either get a new booth or add on to your current booth. Adding on is the more economical route (usually), and it allows you to keep using the basic booth for a few more years.

Upgrades can also mean adding or changing graphics. And chances are, if your older graphics are at least a few years old, the newer graphics will be printed on newer generation printers with better substrates, which means a much better look.

Making the Case

One often overlooked area for maintaining the value of your exhibit investment are the shipping cases. Whether you have a custom-jigged wooden crate, or a series of smaller cases with custom-cut pads for the exhibit parts, it makes sense to take a close look at those items to make sure they are maintaining their integrity. Over the years those cases and crates are also open to wear and tear. Felt can come off, custom cut jigs can get broken – after all, the very act of setting up and dismantling exhibits is hard on them. If need be, engage somebody to make repairs, or send it back to your exhibit house for repairs.

Go to the Right Shows

The final thought on maintaining the long term viability of your tradeshow booth is to make sure you’re not going to shows that are no longer any good for you. After all, if it’s not a good show, and you’re making the effort to be there, your booth is going through the motions of shipping, set-up, dismantle and shipping back to the warehouse more than it should be. And that adds just one more show to the overall wear and tear.

Like your car, your tradeshow exhibit will last many years. And if you keep it in good shape with tune-ups, tender care and a loving touch on a regular basis, you’ll get even a few more years out of it.

Got a tradeshow exhibit project in mind? Submit a Quote Request with no strings attached.

Tradeshow Booth Photography is a Must

It’s nice to have a couple of snapshots of your tradeshow booth to show off on Twitter or your Facebook page.


But there are more reasons for taking pictures – a lot of them – of your booth.

Let’s start with the design and the look. Take snapshots of the booth from several angles so you get a good feel of how it looks from different directions. Next, take shots of the booth’s neighbors. No need to go crazy, just a few quick photos to see who’s next to you.

Now, take some close-ups. Tradeshow booths are only pulled out of their crates a few times a year, and if you have photos of details it might save you a trip to the storage area to open the crate. Take close-up photos of graphics. In fact, pull out a tape measure and take photos of all of the graphics so you have ‘real-size’ documentation of the graphics. You might be surprised at the difference between the specified size and the actual size. Good information to have on hand. Depending on the number of graphics, this might take awhile.

Is there any part of the booth that is damaged, worn, torn? Take photos to show exactly what’s going on so that when the booth returns home you can be specific about repairs that may be needed.

Professional photos

In some cases, you may want to hire a professional photographer to take photos of your booth. The best time to do it is prior to the show opening, so there are few people on the floor. A professional portfolio of your booth may come in handy for a variety of reasons. You can release photos to the media, send them out on social media where they’ll stand out from the crowd, and you may find that the exhibit can be entered in a design contest (like our friends at SoYoung last year).



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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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