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

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Are you one of those people that gets caught up in bright, new shiny objects? It’s easy to do. We’re all easily distracted.

When it comes to tradeshow success, are you guilty of doing the same? Getting caught up in bright and shiny objects instead of focusing on the prize?

Are you overdoing it with technology, for instance? Yes, technology has a place in tradeshows, more today than ever. At this year’s NAB Show, for example, the video walls were overwhelming. But was it worth it? Not up to me to make that judgment. For some, it might have been the best thing they could have done. For others, it might have been overkill.

Technology also shows up in the use of Virtual Reality in tradeshow booths, although I don’t see an overwhelming presence on the show floor. And the few times I’ve personally experienced VR in a booth, it left me underwhelmed. Does that mean you shouldn’t yes VR? No, what it means is that if you decide to invest in the equipment and a VR experience, make it the best you can. Show your stuff. Tell a great story. Knock people out.

What about swag and other giveaways? Yes, giveaways have their time and place, and I have worked with some astute and insightful promotional products companies. But when I get emails from promotional product companies showing off all of their new swag, I can’t help but think “what’s the point?” Many of the new items don’t seem to be a fit for tradeshows or other branded giveaway opportunities. That’s not to say that you should stick with imprinted pens, printed pads and letter openers. Find the middle ground. Make a judgment about what works best and go with that.

And do you really need the newest, brightest, best tradeshow exhibit that money can buy? Probably not. If you decide to do that, great! All of us tradeshow salespeople and fabricators will applaud! But it’s probably not necessary. A good basic tradeshow exhibit that is built for your specific needs – nothing more, nothing less – means you’re saving money for other ancillary marketing efforts, like pre-show mailers, post-show follow-up, social media engagement and more.

The glitter that catches your eyes could be the best thing, the right thing for you. But before you commit the dollars, ask yourself if it’s going to effectively communicate a message, show off your products, reach the right people and bring in results. Once you’ve determined that, you’re on the right track.


  • Bob ,

    This is so very true of exhibiting companies selling product. Buyers come to see, smell, touch and test. I’m been telling our clients to forget the glitz and focus on their products.

    • Tim Patterson ,

      Good advice, Bob. Thanks for chiming in.

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