MODEX 2018 - supply chain, manufacturing, distribution trade show
Georgia World Congress Center
  Atlanta, GA | April 9-12, 2018
  • MODEX the leading trade show for supply chain, manufacturing and distribution industries

Exhibiting Tips

The best advice comes from those who have "been there and done that." The following information represents a compilation of tips and tricks from a variety of trade show exhibiting experts. Next time you find yourself asking "why is this on my 'to do' list," chances are you'll find a compelling answer within the opinions of experts.

Exhibit Planning

Train Your Staff

Just because sales reps are effective in the field doesn't mean they already have the mindset and skills that will make them effective in the exhibit. According to Exhibitor magazine, your representatives need to understand that selling and exhibiting differ in four main areas: intent, planning, execution and outcome.

Intent: Unlike a field sales call, the intent of exhibiting is to be an effective selling tool. Exhibit staff should focus on opening opportunities for closing sales, rather than going through the entire sales process on the spot.

Planning: Because a sales call is lengthy and focused, it can be driven by the client's objectives. A client discussion on the trade show floor should be driven by your objectives.

Execution: The goal in an exhibit is to get the attendee's attention, rather than on getting an appointment. Your booth staff should take a time-rationed approach to sales, rather than employing their arsenal of full-sale field tactics.

Outcome: A name and number isn't enough. A properly trained exhibit staff will deliver useful sales information that includes specific details about a prospect's needs, budget and time frame for purchasing.

Plan for Comfort

All Feet are Equal on the Show floor ... they all hurt. It is a known fact that everyone's feet hurt on the tradeshow floor - exhibitors and attendees alike. Think about double padding the carpet in your booth - and never consider not padding or using carpet alone. Tired feet know a good thing when they feel it, and this "feel good" message is telegraphed to the mind. The message - let's stay awhile here! Try it at your next show. It works - not only for prospects, but also as a bonus for your booth staff!

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-6555

Booth Design

You Can't Score Without A Goal. What does your company expect to happen when you exhibit at a trade show? Many exhibit managers say their bosses just seem to want them to "fly the corporate colors," and are likely to choose a trade show booth design based on pretty pictures.

But without objectives, you may be inclined to toss your booth prematurely when something slicker and prettier comes along.

So how do you start determining your goals? Booth design companies say objectives should not be limited to one or two items. They should cover anything and everything that will impact success. Here's a list of the kinds of questions you should take into consideration:

  • How many sales leads do we want?
  • How many orders do we hope to take at the show?
  • How many visitors do we expect over the run of the show?
  • How many people do we want to be able to comfortably gather in our booth at one time?
  • How much space will we need for demos?
  • Do we need defined spaces where sales people and booth staff can talk with prospects? Do we need sit down conference space?
  • How much storage space will we need?
  • What kind of lighting will best emphasize products and our brand?
  • Do we have established font types and sizes we want to use?
  • Have our other marketing efforts (i.e. web site, brochures, etc.) defined our brand? If so, how can we use the booth to build our brand?

If you're a smaller company that's more production-driven than marketing-driven, resolving overall marketing/branding questions may be Job 1 before you approach an exhibit design company. Advance preparation and goal setting will help you look beyond pretty pictures to make sure form meets function in your new booth design.

Unbreakable Rules

Breaking the rules - it really never pays. In my tradeshow life I have read a minimum of 150 exhibitor's manuals and I can safely say that no two shows have ever had exactly the same rules. If you don't get to know your show rules, and unintentionally break them, show management may make you change your exhibit at the last minute, fine you, or even bar you from exhibiting. On the other hand, if for example your exhibit does not meet the exact show rules as set by show management and you are aware of this situation in advance - most show management companies will work with you and give you some leeway with written permission for compromises on the show floor.

Don't look for compromise when it comes to installing your exhibit. Read the rules and know that if you are in a union hall - those are the rules. This is not a show management issue - this is a union issue and there is no getting around union rules and regulations. Another example - how many clients have I experienced that refuse to order electricity for their small booth, figuring they will just tap into their neighbor? This just does not work - and you will sit in the dark in your 10' inline booth and watch attendees pass you by all day. All for $100 - and what did you pay to be on the show floor?

To some people it is all about the game and what you can get away with on the show floor. However, no matter who you are you have spent a considerable amount of your marketing budget to be at that show and gambling on saving a few dollars could cost you hundreds if not thousands in lost opportunities.

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-6555

Electricity in Booth

Take into account having available a fully stocked electrical gang box - a few dollars at home can save hundreds on the show floor.

Believe me, stocking your entire electrical box will be less expensive than renting one T-plug at the convention center. Make your local Home Depot man your friend - bring extension cords, power strips, electrical tape, an xacto knife, pliers, screwdrivers, extra light bulbs, cable ties and fishing line.

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-6555

Lighting Needs

If your exhibit is not lit properly, let's face it, no one will notice it. Lighting will add depth and excitement to your exhibit while capturing attendee attention. Having just attended two tradeshow industry related shows, Exhibitor Show and GlobalShop, where the exhibitors should be savvy, I was truly amazed at how many exhibits were either improperly lit - or not lit at all. Here are a few lighting tips:

  • Use accent lighting to define the areas of importance in your exhibit with well directed lighting.
  • If you are in a larger booth space consider having the overhead exhibit hall lighting turned off and provide your own lighting effects, rather than competing with the ambient light from above. Yes, they do charge you not to have lights!
  • Use backlighted graphics - those are the ones that really stand out on the show floor.
  • As well as you have thought out every nuance of your exhibit design - be certain that your lighting effects bring out its drama.
  • Small exhibits do not have to suffer a disappearing act - lighting coming from two or three directions can give even a small exhibit a "dimensional quality".
  • Motion attracts attention and moving lights grab interest quickly and economically.

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-6555

Overloaded Exhibits

Overloaded Exhibits Chase the Crowd Away! Is your booth space a retail store - or are you trying to bring your new product to the marketplace? Don't overshadow your true message with copious amounts of old products. Your booth space is an exhibit, not a catalog. Your goal should be to open a conversation with your targeted attendees about your company's product or service. You don't have to exhibit your company's entire product line.

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-6555

Save Paperwork

You Must Carry Show Paperwork to the Show Floor. Realizing that your show paperwork now takes a full file drawer in your office, you must weed through and gather only the most critical papers to have at the show.

Bring your exhibitor's manual - to back up your claims that you do know the show rules and your booth space contract along with your proof of payment. Any paperwork that you have received granting special permission issues on the show floor and all of your service order forms must be with you.

Duplicate copies of set-up drawings and photos of your exhibit should be considered, along with phone numbers and emergency phone numbers for your shipping company, exhibit house, and I&D company. It's a little bit much to lug around - but if you need any part of it this will save you hours of frustration.

Articles furnished, courtesy of Absolute Exhibits. Please contact Kyle Moeller at kmoeller@AbsoluteExhibits.com or 888-706-655 5

Get More for Your Money

By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge
When you compare the cost of putting a rep face-to-face with a customer or prospect in the field to the cost at a tradeshow, even in this economy, tradeshows are a still an extremely cost-effective channel. That being said, many exhibit managers are under pressure to do more with less. Below is a collection of 29 cost-savings practices in a checklist format. Cross out the ones you are using, put a checkmark by the ones you plan to use, and plan now to get more bang for your tradeshow buck.

  • Reuse, refurbish or extend the life of your exhibit
  • Evaluate renting versus owning your exhibit - you can save a lot here
  • Replace your exhibit with a lighter weight, easier to install and dismantle your exhibit
  • Get distribution channel partners to invest in the show with you
  • Take advantage of all show vendor deadlines and discounts
  • Negotiate everything
  • Book travel early
  • Consolidate freight shipments
  • Avoid rush charges by planning ahead
  • Ship to the advance warehouse
  • Ship small, lightweight, carry in items to the hotel
  • Store exhibit properties in your most exhibited show city
  • Negotiate volume shipping/freight contracts - go out to bid
  • Buy reusable crates
  • Have freight reweighed before return shipping
  • Right size your exhibit - a complex topic - call me at 800-700-6174
  • Evaluate the viability of a virtual product presentation
  • Send less people - only those who need to be there
  • Bring your own cleaning supplies
  • Bring your own trash cans and liners
  • Bring your own cordless vacuum
  • Bring your own surge suppressor power strips and flat extension cords
  • Send less literature - print on demand
  • Create a roommate lodging program
  • Dine with pre-set meals
  • Save money on giveaways by using them properly
  • Be sure all leads are followed up
  • Audit your post-show bills
  • Measure and report savings and ROI and you may not have to reduce costs after all

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the "Tradeshow Turnaround Artist". Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results. Mr. Davis is a featured presenter at the ShowPro Tradeshow Workshop. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or Jefferson@tradeshowturnaround.com.

Go Green

By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge
We know that the face-to-face contact created by tradeshows is absolutely vital to the success of commerce. But did you know that the average tradeshow releases hundreds or thousands of metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere?

With these two facts in mind, we all need to take a closer look at how we can create greener exhibit programs. Greening our exhibit programs is not just good for our environment, it's also good for our corporate identity and it may even help us win more business. Did you know that some corporations are now giving purchasing preference to companies with green business practices? As you can see we all have a lot to gain from greener exhibiting.

Below is a collection of 22 strategies for executing a greener exhibit program. Cross out the ones you are already using, put a checkmark by the ones you plan to use, and get busy now on creating a greener exhibit program.

  1. Reuse, refurbish or extend the life of your current exhibit
  2. Consider renting versus buying your next exhibit to reduce material use and transportation emissions
  3. Choose and use recycled materials whenever and wherever possible
  4. Recycle as much as you possibly can to help avoid landfills
  5. Label leftover products for donation
  6. Reduce the weight of your exhibit and everything you send to the show
  7. Buy locally and store locally
  8. Print literature at the destination or on demand in your exhibit versus shipping and throwing it away
  9. Print on at least 30% post-consumer recycled paper
  10. Use vegetable or soy based inks for printing
  11. Choose eco-friendly giveaways
  12. Avoid PVC it takes 100 years to decompose and releases a lot of VOC's
  13. Choose wood from Forestry Stewardship Council certified forests
  14. Consider replacing wood with Plyboo - it renews 5 to 10x faster than trees
  15. Replace fluorescent, incandescent and halogen lights with LED's
  16. Use water based paints and finishes
  17. Use recycled carpet made from plastic bottles - not synthetic carpet which takes 100 years to decompose
  18. Limit the use of Styrofoam and plastic wraps by choosing more eco-friendly packaging materials
  19. Reuse packaging materials as much as possible
  20. Choose freight carriers that use biodiesel fuel
  21. Choose freight carriers that buy carbon offsets
  22. Use local staff whenever possible

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the "Tradeshow Turnaround Artist". Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results. Mr. Davis is a featured presenter at the ShowPro Tradeshow Workshop. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or Jefferson@tradeshowturnaround.com.

Your Exhibiting Dollars

By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge
Tradeshows can be an big expense (i.e., spend a lot of money and get little or nothing in return) or an investment offering a solid return. It all depends on how you view shows and how you manage the exhibiting dollar.

A wise and prudent perspective is to view exhibiting as a sales and marketing investment. As with any investment, you should expect a return on your investment. How much? My ROI target is three to five dollars back for every one dollar invested in a measurable manner over time. Let's look at budgeting and cost control.

The first budgeting area to look at is the percentage of your company's total sales and marketing budget allocated to exhibitions. A Tradeshow Week study found that the average company spends 31.6% of their marketing budget on exhibitions. How do you compare?

The second budget area to look at is how much to spend on a specific show. To establish a specific show budget, multiply floor space cost times three if you have a small exhibit without a lot of set-up labor costs, drayage and show services. For example, if the floor space costs $3,000 you should be investing at least $9,000 in the show. However, if you have a larger exhibit with a lot of installation and dismantle labor, drayage and utility services, then budget floor space times five.

The third budget area to look at and manage very carefully is the areas where money is being spent. Here is a listing of the major exhibit spend areas along with the percentage of the dollar spent on each area:

  1. Space rental 32%: The cost of the floor space.
  2. Exhibit design 20%: The design and construction cost, refurbishing, display materials, furnishings, graphics, storage, installation and dismantle costs, insurance and so on.
  3. Show services 14%: Electrical, plumbing, janitorial, security, telephone, carpet, equipment and furniture rental and so on.
  4. Transportation 9%: Freight, drayage, customs, brokerage and so on.
  5. Travel and Entertainment 18%: Staff airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation, temp staff fees, training, staff attire, hospitality events, client and prospect entertainment and so on.
  6. Advertising & Promotion 6%: Print advertising, sponsorships, public relations, direct mail, list rental, literature, promotional products and so on.
  7. Other 1%: Anything that doesn't clearly fall under the above six categories like lead retrieval system rental, lead follow-up costs and so on.

To manage your budget you should have a spreadsheet with the seven major categories and specific line items listed under each category. This is your financial control center. It should have a budget and actual line along with a variance line.

Controlling exhibiting costs is critical to fiscal responsibility. Here are some specific tips to help you save money:

  1. Read the exhibitor service kit and pay careful attention to meeting deadlines.
  2. Order all booth accessories and services in advance.
  3. Request that show labor be done on straight time.
  4. Have as much work as possible done on your exhibit before it is packed and shipped.
  5. To minimize I&D costs, number your crates according to content, attach a diagram and instructions on how to construct the exhibit, along with electrical requirements and repacking instructions.
  6. If you do several shows use the same freight carrier and negotiate volume discounts.
  7. Take advantage of show advertising packages when available.
  8. Take control of your exhibiting dollar now by following the suggestions in this article.

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the "Tradeshow Turnaround Artist". Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results. Mr. Davis is a featured presenter at the ShowPro Tradeshow Workshop. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or Jefferson@tradeshowturnaround.com.

Create an Experience

By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge
One of the most important questions you can ask in planning your exhibit is "Who is our ideal visitor and what to do want them to experience, remember and do?"

A crystal clear answer to this question will help you create a unique and compelling exhibit experience that attracts more of the right attendees. An experience that helps your company, products and services stand out from the crowd, more effectively communicate your messaging and increase visitor recall.

There are basically two types of exhibits: static and interactive. A static exhibit does not fully immerse or engage the visitor. An interactive exhibit immerses visitors in a multi-sensory experience. The more a visitor can see, hear, touch and interact with your product or services the more impact it will be.

Exhibit Surveys, an independent tradeshow and event research firm, found that 69% of attendees rate product demonstrations and stage/theatre presentations as a key factor in influencing exhibit memorability and recall.

Here are six tips to help you create a successful live presentation or demonstration:

  1. Develop content relevant to your target audience-Think about who your target audience is, what their top-of-mind concerns and priorities are, and how your product/service addresses those needs.
  2. Be creative-The creative approach should match your audience's taste and your company's brand.
  3. Remember the message-The creative concepts used should always further your key messages and never obscure them.
  4. Show, tell, prove and get them to participating in any way possible by pushing buttons, holding things, answering questions, seeing before and after images or anything else you can think of.
  5. Keep it short-7 minutes or less. Give them the buzz not every detail.
  6. Have a strong call to action and pull through to the rest of the booth

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the "Tradeshow Turnaround Artist". Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results. Mr. Davis is a featured presenter at the ShowPro Tradeshow Workshop. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or Jefferson@tradeshowturnaround.com.

Exhibit Promotion

Maximize Exposure, Minimize Cost

There are ten very simple ways to attract your target audiences' attention and get them to your booth. And best of all, most of these opportunities are free of charge and included in those massive Exhibitor Manuals that you haven't had time to read. So, for those people who don't have the time or inclination to peruse their Exhibitor Manuals here are ten simple steps to booth bliss.

  1. Direct Mailers Those free Direct Mailers really work! You should be sending them to all of your current customers and prospects at least once every few weeks before the Show. Some companies make two or three mailings. In addition, your sales force should be handing them out during all of their calls. The Direct Mailer could make an offer to win something at the booth! The more incentives you give them to visit your booth, the more likely they are to visit. Be creative!
    Learn More Download Direct Mailers Order Form

  2. Free Web Links On The Show Website Here's another freebie that is a very effective marketing tool and great traffic generator. I've had many exhibitors tell me that they receive tons of traffic to their Web site from prospects that click through from the show Web site. Isn't this what you spend a lot of your marketing dollars on - trying to drive people to your Web site? Now that you've got all these hot prospects clicking through to your site, what are you going to do with them? How about offering them an incentive to visit your booth! These incentives can range from a chance to win a free product, a free foot massage or just about anything else that peaks their curiosity and drives them to your booth.
    Learn More

  3. Pre-Show Publicity/Promotion Since the vast majority of attendees visit a trade show to see new products, wouldn't it make sense to promote your new products as frequently as possible? There are several ways you can promote your product in advance of the show, most of them free of charge. Of course, you can include info with the Direct Mailer mentioned previously and you can feature them on your Web site. In addition, some shows publish pre-show New Product Guides and many trade magazines also publish show previews. Some shows also publish attendee newsletters prior to the event that feature hot new products.

  4. Awards Competitions Some magazines conduct New Product, technology or individual distinction award competitions that are presented at the show. What can be a better way to attract your prospects' attention than to have your product selected as one of the "Best in Show?"
    Learn More

  5. Media Meetings/Press Conferences If you have an interesting new product, technology or corporate news, be sure to contact the editors and try and arrange for a meeting at your booth. Editors are always interested in hot new products but here again, you need to contact them weeks in advance as their schedules at the show fill up very quickly. Not only will you have a good chance of getting post-show coverage, you may get mentioned in their pre-show coverage as well. If your new product or technology is truly a unique industry breakthrough, you may want to schedule a Press Conference at the show. Press Conference Room are available free of charge, based on availability, but you should only schedule a press conference if your news is truly exciting to several editors. These editors are very busy and if it isn't of great news value, they won't come. There's nothing more embarrassing than being the only person at a press conference.
    Learn More Download Press List

  6. Put Your Press Kits In The Press Room The editors may not come to all the Press Conferences but they all come to the Press Room. They visit the press room to review the press kits that are placed there by the savvy exhibitors. The editors use this information when they write their post show wrap-up reports.
    Learn More

  7. Talk To The Show Daily Many shows have a Show Daily newspaper and most Show Dailies are looking for news. Ask show management who is doing the Show Daily (or look in your Exhibitor Manual). Contact the editors several weeks in advance and pitch them on your product or news. If the story is big enough, they may even be able to interview your president or other representative for a feature story. A favorable story in the Show Daily not only attracts people to your booth, it makes for a great reprint to send to prospects after the show.

  8. Do Social Media And E-Mail Blasts The most effective method of communicating with most people is to tell them once and then tell them again as frequently as possible. And the most effective way of communicating with many people these days is through e-Mail and social media. In today's busy workplace everyone can use a reminder or two. Just think about the last trade show you visited as an attendee. If you received a reminder with an interesting incentive for visiting the booth wouldn't you be more inclined to do so?
    Learn More

  9. Show Merchandising Opportunities Show management usually offers a variety of excellent opportunities to maximize your exposure to attendees prior to the show and on-site. Ranging from banner ads on their Web sites and mobile app to banners and signs on the show floor, there are a number of great ways to get attendees to your booth. These merchandising opportunities do cost money but they range from getting your company name put on the lanyards (those loops that go around your neck to hold the show badges) to sponsoring different events that the visitors attend. If you have the budget for extra promotion, it is something you should definitely discuss with show management.
    Learn More

  10. Trade Publication Advertising Although trade publication advertising costs money, it can be a very effective method of reaching your target audience with highly targeted messages. Several of the trade magazines and Web sites offer show specials that allow you to advertise in these special pre-show issues for less than you would normally pay. Some of them also publish the Show Daily and can give you a special rate for advertising in both. If you've got the budget, it's a great way to attract attention and drive traffic. Ask show management what publications are publishing special pre-show issues - or look in your Exhibitors Manual.

Roger Halligan is CEO of H+A International, a Chicago-headquartered integrated marketing communications firm specializing in trade show event marketing. You can reach Roger at 312-332-4650, ext. 22; or via e-mail at rhalligan@h-a-intl.com.
This article is reprinted by permission of H+A International, Inc.

Press Release Details

Details, Details, Details
Take this tip from top editors. Press releases that have the most useful, specific, factual and substantiated information are the ones most likely to see print. Here's a quick checklist to make sure your release includes the right stuff. Include the following:

  • Name and model number of the product you're introducing.
  • Actual and potential uses of the solution in the material handling and logistics industry.
  • Details of design and construction that may be important to the user-omit those that only excite your chief engineer.
  • How the product operates or is applied.
  • Features/benefits, i.e. "Our new widget has six sides, so it performs more efficiently."
  • Sizes, weights, ratings and other relevant factors.
  • Where the product may be purchased-direct sales offices, dealers, etc.
  • Where to get more information.
  • Date when the product will be available, if not already available.

Remember that sending a good photograph will also increase your odds of publication. The photo should show the product clearly, in sharp focus, with adequate depth of field. If you are showing special innovations, take close-ups. If the size of the product is important, show something to help indicate how big it is. For example, a pencil for something small, a person for a large machine.

Press Release Primer

Novice publicity do-it-yourselfers can produce professional communications by understanding a few basics. Start by securing some company letterhead or creating a template with your company logo. Make sure your document is formatted with double spacing. Then follow these format and content guidelines:

  • Company name, web address, location address and phone number, printed clearly at the top of the page.
  • The words PRESS RELEASE spelled out in all CAPS and centered in bold.
  • Contact person's name and numbers.
  • "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" on the left margin directly above the title in all caps.
  • Short headline or title, centered in bold.
  • Body of the press release, beginning with the date and city of its origination. Body tells who, what, where, when and why.
  • If release continues past one page, put Page Two in the upper right corner.
  • Three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release indicate the end of a press release.

Tips for Press Releases

  1. Make sure the information is newsworthy.
  2. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
  3. Deal with the facts.
  4. Ask yourself, "How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?"
  5. Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
  6. Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.
  7. Avoid excessive use of adjectives, jargon and fancy language.
  8. Provide as much contact information as possible: individual to contact, address, phone, fax, e-mail, web site address.
  9. Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release.
  10. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.

Give Away Promotions

Depending on other items in your marketing mix, advertising specialties may have a place in your trade show strategy. But, remember in choosing a giveaway that there's a good reason plastic bags are a dime a dozen-they aren't unique. To stand out in the crowd, select something that will make your prospect think of you.

Personalization- In addition to your company logo, could you add the recipient's name? People have a hard time throwing away something with their name on it.

Perceived value- make sure your giveaway is useful, so it's not perceived as disposable. Even something as simple as a pocket shoe polisher has a function for someone traveling to a trade shoe and walking around all day.

Limit distribution- Could you create something people will want year after year? For example, the green jacket at the Masters golf tournament gives the wearer instant status.

Status- Give away something designed or created by a renowned person.

Match the status of the receiver- i.e. don't put a stick-on gremlin on an Armani suit.

Exhibit At Work

Improving The Quality of Face Time Raises Trade Show Success

Some exhibitors commit to trade shows to find the next lead that will become the next sale. Others have more complex objectives for exhibiting that revolve around marketing communication and branding. But no matter what their objectives, most agree that the main reason for exhibiting is to get "face time" with a wide variety of prospects in a wide variety of industries, at a fraction of the expense of traditional field sales calls.

Two major factors have made face time even more important now than in the past: specialization of job functions and the proliferation of technology. Prospects who approach a trade show booth need very specific information to perform their jobs. Attendees don't go to shows so you'll hand them a brochure. They come to obtain immediate answers that impact the decisions they are under pressure to make. Today's more intense and serious prospects want quality discussion time, especially when solutions involve evolving technologies.

Changing Your Approach

Today's changing attendee behavior may require that you re-engineer your trade show approach. In the past, exhibits designed around showcasing your product and message worked well. Today, it's more effective to plan your exhibit around how you will interact with visitors, rather than just around what you want to demonstrate and display.

Cross-Selling To Your Customer Base

Estimates show that more than 80 percent of salespeople only mention one product during a sales call. Exhibiting offers you a more cost-effective venue for cross-selling products to existing customers. Many of the world's biggest companies now say that devoting face time to increasing their base of business with current customers is their primary goal at shows.

Targeting Your Efforts

Targeting specific segments of customers will help ensure your trade show message hits the mark in an era of more specialized job functions. Trade show organizers such as MHI help you achieve your goal of segmenting attendees. For example, MODEX 2018 offers exhibitors space in four specific Solution Centers-Manufacturing and Assembly Solutions, Fulfillment and Delivery, Information Technology, and Knowledge Center. By adding "Centers" of interest, MHI has ensured that there is a good "fit" between your company and the interests and needs of each vertical attendee segment.

The Bottom Line

The amount and quality of face-to-face contact is the number one factor in raising any exhibitor's ROI. As you plan your MODEX 2018 exhibit, focus on finding ways to meet the "high value" expectations of today's trade show attendees.

Exhibit Follow-Up

Collective Review

When you came back from the last show, you were probably faced with a backlog of email and a big stack of mail. Now that you've had time to catch up, remember this: the most successful trade show marketers don't move on until they take time to look back. Take time now to schedule a meeting to review the Show!

Start by looking at your goals for the Show. Which ones did you achieve? Which fell short? If your booth reps don't work out of the same location, an e-Mail survey may be the best way to get good feedback. Ask each person what worked particularly well for them at the show? What didn't? Ask them what they saw competitors doing that seemed to be effective and attention getting. Give them a chance to comment on the workability of booth design and your lead tracking system.

If you don't ask, they may not tell. And ultimately, you will lose valuable information about lessons learned that could help increase your ROI at your next event.

Leads & Lessons Learned

What if you took 80 percent of the cash in your wallet right now and ran it through the paper shredder? That, in essence, is how many companies treat their trade show leads. A recent report by Sales and Marketing Management magazine indicated that "80 percent of the leads generated will never be followed up."

If you haven't already followed up on every single one of your past show leads, you could be losing sales by the second. Here are two suggestions to help initiate action:

  1. Re-qualify leads by phone
    In face-to-face booth conversations, leads may be less than genuine. Booth visitors who aren't good prospects may be falsely complimentary in order to "spare your feelings." Conversely, great prospects may have been suffering from information overload and didn't really listen to your pitch. A quick post-show phone conversation will ensure that your "A" leads are still eager to buy, your "B" leads have future buying interest, and your "C" leads really are poor prospects.
  2. Match interest to expense
    Send your best, most expensive literature and personalized cover letters to the A list. A basic cover letter and 2-color brochure will suffice for Bs. The quick and polite "thanks for stopping by our booth" card is the right follow-up for C leads.

If you find many of your leads are cold (bordering on frozen), make trade show lead management a hotter priority in the future. Assign a lead manager who doesn't attend the show so lead follow-up can happen immediately. Consider overnighting leads back to the lead manager when the show closes at the end of each day. Or enter them in a laptop database, email or fax them back.

Immediate follow-up lets you reach more than 40 percent more buyers!

Exhibitor Checklist

Download Checklist in PDF Format or print this page.

October 2, 2017
Bag Sponsorship Deadline
Lanyard Sponsorship Deadline
October - December 2017
Complete your Online Listing
Upgrade Online Listing to a Showcase
Order MODEX 2018 Direct Mail Postcards & Email Invitations
Place MODEX 2018 logo on your website via LeadLink Program
Plan pre-show advertising using MODEX 2018 Logo
Develop Marketing & Promotion Strategy
Consider MODEX 2018 Marketing Packages & Sponsorships
Determine Lead Retrieval Objectives for MODEX 2018
Become a MODEX 2018 Partner* for pre- and post-show mailing list to be sent to mailing house
December 2017 - February 2018
Mail MODEX 2018 Direct Mail Postcards to customers, prospects
Email MODEX 2018 Invitations to customers, prospects
Select Lead Retrieval Options & Order Equipment
Schedule Press Conference during MODEX 2018
Prepare & submit "1 Minute 2 Connect" video
January 12, 2018
MHI Innovation Award deadline
January 2018 - February 2018
Prepare Press Releases and Kits
Mail Invitations or Releases to Attending Press
Select and Train MODEX 2018 Booth Staff
Schedule Shipment of Press Kits to trade show
Determine Lead Follow-up Strategy
February 15, 2018 Deadline to be included online at the show, in Expo Guide and show app
Sponsorship Order deadline
Online Listing form final deadline
Pre-Show/Daily Newsletter Sponsorship deadline
Online Advertising Order Form & Materials deadline
February 27, 2018
Partnership Program deadline
March 2018
Review Show Strategy in Pre-Show Staff Meeting
April 2018
MODEX 2018 Post-Show Attendee Database
icon Begin Post-Show Promotions, Lead Follow-Up