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September 10, 2019

How to Avoid 5 Common Trade Show Mistakes

Toni Sawilchik, Account Executive
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Mistakes can be expensive in event marketing. They can increase your trade show costs, hinder your exhibit’s effectiveness, and reduce your ability to generate leads.

Five common trade show mistakes can be prevented with some forethought and preparation.

1. Not Clearly Defining Objectives

Neglecting to identify your goals prior to the show can be a costly mistake, as well as properly measuring your results. To avoid a negative ROI, develop a marketing campaign for each show you plan to attend. Your campaign should include lead generation, pre-, during, and post-show marketing, brand awareness, and new product launches. Post show, create an executive summary report for stakeholders showing performance on goals and key metrics.

2. Failing to Evaluate Competitors

Your booth will be surrounded by exhibitors vying for the attention of your target audience. While you don’t want to be directly next to your competition, it is important to know what they are doing to grab people’s attention. You can gain valuable insight into tactics that work by walking the show floor and reviewing your competitors’ exhibits.

3. Poorly Designed Graphics

Your graphics are the first thing an attendee will see, and you have only three seconds to grab their attention. How can you make those seconds count? Make sure your graphics are vibrant, visible across the show floor, reinforce your brand, and deliver a compelling message.

4. Cutting Corners on Exhibit Design

A good rule of thumb is to maximize your investment on anything that directly affects the attendee experience with your brand. Your exhibit is the face of your company. It’s important to invest in quality graphics, use a reliable and versatile lighting system, hire a professional installation team, spend a few extra dollars on comfortable carpet and padding, and select quality giveaway items. Of course, it’s acceptable to try and save money and there are plenty of smart ways to reduce your event marketing costs. However, be sure to do so in areas that will not directly impact your brand perception.

5. Neglecting Lead Follow-Up

It is important to have a formal lead nurturing system in place for after your show. Without this, no one takes responsibility for calling qualified leads that expressed interest during the show. Some leads can be lost, forgotten, or pushed aside for higher priority items. Make sure your company has an airtight process for transferring leads collected at the event to the team that will follow-up on them and be accountable. A formal process for handling leads after the show moves a lead to a prospect, and ideally to a client. In the end, this directly impacts ROI for your trade show program.

Do you need help navigating around these common mistakes? Contact me for a free assessment of your current program.


Toni Sawilchik, Account Executive
tss@ttskyline.com| 630.376.1564
Toni has been in the B2B sales industry for more than seven years working with small, mid-sized, and large companies. Known for being an exceptional listener, clients feel confident working with Toni due to her detail-oriented nature and her consistent project updates and follow through. Toni approaches each project with fresh eyes as she believes there is not a one-size-fits-all solution and every clients’ challenges should be individually met.

About TradeTec:

Founded in Chicago in 1999, Skyline TradeTec produces innovative trade show exhibits with unmatched customer service and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING™ for clients. As an endorsed provider of Skyline products, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits and portable displays, as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Skyline TradeTec has 6 locations in 5 states, has served over 6,000 clients, and has completed over 50,000 projects worldwide. Learn more about TradeTec at SkylineTradeTec.com.