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Know Before You Go – 5 Questions To Ask Before You Exhibit

Your in-booth staff could be well trained, charming and amiable. Your exhibition design may stun and inspire with its elegance and grace. Your messaging might be so well crafted that readers are convinced it’s speaking directly to them. But if you chose the wrong trade show as a venue to display this collection of excellence, all of your hard work, time and money will be a waste. Bottom line – picking the right trade show is crucial to a successful exhibiting program.

By knowing what questions to ask and what to look for in a trade show of potential interest you stand a much better chance of picking the show that’s the right fit for your program’s objectives. The following 5 approaches can help you with the search for the right show:

Get some prospectus. By requesting an exhibitor prospectus from the show’s management, you should be able to get an immediate portrait of what the show is about and what to expect from show management. The prospectus should give you key figures such as attendance and demographic figures, past exhibitors, and attending media.

Do your customers care? This is a question that you need to ask of yourself about the show your looking at attending. If you can’t determine that the show is of any value to your client base, then it shouldn’t be of any value to you. Also, make sure that the location of the show is relevant to the markets your company sells to. If your company is national, does the show draw a national audience or a more regional one?

Ask for the audit. Don’t be afraid to ask show management for this. If they cannot wait to send it to you, that’s probably a good sign. If they’re clearly reluctant, you might want to be wary. When looking at the actual numbers, be discerning and make sure they seem to be in line with the marketing objectives that you’ve already identified for your program.

How is it being promoted? This is more important than it sounds. If show management is doing a lackluster job of driving attendance and promoting awareness, you’re likely to be sold-short on achieving your show objectives. Ask the show management about their own marketing and advertising approach and make sure they have a solid strategy in place for promoting the trade show.

Look at the competition. This might be the most obvious – and perhaps most decisive question you’ll ever ask. You should have no issues receiving a full and detailed list of past attendees from show management. If you see more than one major competitor in attendance, chances are good you want to be on that list as well.

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