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What is a Trade Show?

Committing your company to trade show exhibiting is more than signing up for space. It means understanding what you are doing there and making the most of it. By understanding what makes trade shows work, you can be more effective. You will gain an edge over most exhibitors who peddle their wares.

Most of us think that trade shows exist for the exhibitors to reach a defined audience. Trade shows exist for one reason and one reason only -- to serve the buyers.


How it Works?

The purpose of Trade Shows is to bring in generic audiences with similar buying needs. But it is the exhibitor’s responsibility to find the buyers that comprise his/her personal target audience. Assuming prospects will be there and will come to the booth and will talk with you is leaving too much to chance.

Do not get caught up in the show producer’s numbers. Show producers are in the real estate business, selling space at their particular show. So they are going to make the numbers sound as good as possible. Many savvy trade show producers offer exceptional shows. But your success at a show is not up to the show producer; it is up to you. You are responsible for selecting the right show, attracting buyers to your exhibit and doing what is necessary to make the show a success. If you expect this from the trade show producer, you are setting up yourself for failure.

Your job is to find those "target" people and invite them to our booth. And by targeting a specific group of people (prospects and customers) before the show, you can be pro-active, rather than re-active.

Before you get involved with a trade show, you need to do two things:

  • One of the first things to do is look at the numbers. Not statistics of how many exhibitors and attendees, but numbers that relate to what you can accomplish at a show.
  • The second is goal setting.

These two pre-show exercises will help you

  • Determine whether or not you should be at a show and if it is worth your time and money, and
  • Focus on your pre-show/at-show promotion, your booth signage, how you are going to talk to prospects and customers, and how you are going to listen to what they have to say.

Trade shows are a place to learn as much as you teach, inform and sale.


What it does?

According to the Trade Show Bureau, "Trade show exhibits impact purchases six times more than any other medium." The reason this is true is that show venues offer something no other sales or advertising medium offers -- the ability to comparison shop. Attendees today plan their trade show visits. Often, they have narrowed down a purchasing choice to 3 or 4 companies. The show floor lets them compare the select few quickly and easily. Your goal is to get on the "must-see" list of these attendees.

If trade shows are a sales medium, it does not mean that the only thing you can do at a trade show is sell. There are as many reasons for doing trade shows, as there are exhibitors. But unless there is a real purpose, a defined goal or objective, you could be wasting a lot of time and money.

You have a booth where people can come to find out more about your company, what you do, your products, you talk to prospects, and you hand out literature. You may even build awareness of your company by delivering a seminar on some important topic. That is why so many companies invest large sums of money on trade show exhibits. They know that show participation build brand awareness and generates leads.

It is also one of the best lead qualifiers marketing tools compared to the other expensive marketing tool: advertising, for example. Advertising is used to tell a story and, in doing so, (hopefully) gain interest. It is one-way communication outward. You hope the message is being received, so that when the time comes to make a buying decision, your name and company is remembered.

Trade shows, on the other hand, are two-way communication. They provide an opportunity to get immediate feedback to your message. They reduce the time and cost of qualification and sale cycle.


Are There Alternatives to Exhibiting at Trade Shows?

Mining for leads at Trade Shows:

  • Share booth space
  • Share leads
  • Leave literature in a public space
  • Prospecting and tips for prospecting at trade shows

If there is no time, or money, to be an exhibitor, you can still use trade shows to develop good sales leads. Here are some ideas:

* Share booth space: If there is an exhibitor at the show that sells to the same kinds of prospects, but is not a competitor; ask whether you can pay a modest fee to set a rack for your brochures in their booth.

* Share leads: Similar to placing your literature in someone else's booth, arrange to have access to their sales leads. Perhaps you can get their leads by agreeing to share the leads you receive from one of your own marketing campaigns.

* Leave literature in a public space: Nearly all shows have literature tables out front. At the top shows, these are strictly reserved for paid exhibitors and regularly policed to remove non-exhibitor materials. At most local shows, the rules are looser or are not enforced. At these, consider leaving a few copies of your brochure on the table, and return a few times a day to make sure your pile is neat and visible.

* Prospecting and Tips for Prospecting at Trade Shows: There are many ways to prospect at shows.

1. Decide What You Want To Accomplish At The Show: Some of the prospecting possibilities are:

  • Meet and speak with show attendees who may be prospects.
  • Learn more about exhibitors who may be prospects.
  • Talk with consultants who may refer you to their clients.
  • Identify editors from the press who might write about your company.
  • Network with other sales people and organizations to share leads.

In addition to prospecting, you can listen to competitive presentations for ideas on how to sell against them and you can listen to the types of questions prospects ask these exhibitors to give you a better idea of what customers want. Since there are so many different ways to prospect at shows, you have to decide first what you want out of the show.

2. Select A Trade Show Where Your Prospects Are Likely To Be: After you have set your goals for the show, your next decision is which trade shows to attend for prospecting purposes.

The easiest type of show to prospect is one where potential customers are themselves exhibiting. You know exactly where to find them. And they have a whole booth filled with information about themselves, their products and services.

3. Set An Agenda For The Show: Your next step is to determine exactly what you are going to accomplish at the show. Think in advance about whom you are trying to prospect and how you are going to reach them in this show. Set some goals for how many contacts you are going to make.

4. Go After Attendees Through Seminars and Presentations: Not all of your targets are exhibiting. Many may be attending the show for their own benefit. Attendees go to shows to see the exhibits and attend the sessions. Your best way to meet these people is through the seminar and presentation sessions. Take a look at the trade show agenda and try to determine the most popular sessions. Plan to attend them.

During the formal presentation, take good notes on areas that apply to your selling. Before and after the presentation, talk to as many of the people around you as you can, and collect business cards.

5. Follow-up With Attendees: After the show, start following-up with each of the people you met at these sessions. Use the content of the presentation or something you spoke about with them as the focus of your conversation with each of these attendees, finishing up with some question you would like to explore further in your next conversation. That conversation is, of course, the first appointment.

Always be prepared to sell: Whether in the back of a seminar room, in a corner of the hall or at a table in the food concession area, you are constantly going to meet people. At all times be prepared to pull out your card, samples, brochures, your flip presentation -- whatever you need to turn a chance meeting into a selling opportunity.


How To Do Trade Show?


Your prime objective at a trade show is to qualify the needs of a target/prospect so that you can effectively follow up after the show with a call, letter, or offer that leads a qualified prospect to an appointment and a sale.

  1. How to pick a show?
  2. How to evaluate the show you have selected?
  3. Pre-Show promotion?

I. How to Pick a Show?

Selecting which shows to attend is the key to trade show success. While there is not a single universal equation for selecting shows, if you think about a few critical issues, you can pick shows that are winners.

I.1. How To Find Shows That Work: Before you can select a winning show, you have to define your needs.

What, specifically, do you want to accomplish at the show?

  • If you wish to expand your market, you want a show that targets your new market segment.
  • If you want to do market research, you need a show that attracts the market you want information about.
  • If you want sales, you want shows where buyers of what you sell go.

I.2. Your Customer Knows Best
The best way to find the best shows is to ask your best customers what shows they go to when they need to make critical buying decisions. When you want to expand into other markets, ask people you want to have as customers what shows they go to.

I.3.Which Show?
There are three basic types of trade shows:

  • Public shows.
  • Industry trade shows.
  • Association shows.

* Public Shows: All are invited to public shows. These shows are local shows. The shows target specific cities or small regions and broad lifestyle appeal, are held on the weekend, and attract a wide variety of visitors, from the curious to the ready-to-buy-today. Find these shows by calling the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) of your target city.

* Industry Shows: Industry trade shows are produced by shows promoters but tend to be sponsored by industry trade magazines and journals. The shows are rarely open to the general public. Good for well-qualified visitors. Most directories have extensive cross-references so you can find shows by geographic location, markets served, industry affiliation and key words.

* Association Shows: Association shows are usually held in conjunction with national and regional meetings of an association. Since there are 22,000 associations in the USA and 85,000 associations worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities to reach highly targeted groups of prospects. In many cases, associations are the best way to target a very select group of buyers.


II. How To Evaluate The Shows You have Selected

Scrutinize every show you go to every year. Is the show's target audience still your market? Just because your competitors are at a show does not mean it is a good show for you or for them.

Key Information You Need To Make A Decision

  • Who is there? Who are the show attendees? What are their buying needs and interests? Where do your target buyers go when they want to buy?
  • What is their buying authority? Some visitors can insist on a purchase; others influence or recommend to a purchasing team. What is the economic health of their industry? Do they have money they can spend or must spend? While pre-show visitor rosters are usually available, do not rely too heavily on them - they are not always accurate.
  • Where is the show? Some cities attract visitors, and other cities are avoided by visitors. Show location does drive attendance.
  • Where will your exhibit be? What is your location on the floor in relationship to the educational sessions and other proceedings? What will promote a steady stream of visitors into the exhibit area? Where do people have to go to eat and drink in respect to the exhibit hall?
  • What are the exhibit hours? This is particularly important with association trade shows. What other activities and programs conflict with your show time? If conference attendees do not have a time to come and see your products, you will stand for long hours on the floor and waste your time.
  • What are the costs? What are the booth space rental, utilities, freight and handling? What attendance fees are required by exhibitors? What are travel, hotel and entertainment costs?
  • How can you get attendees into your booth? Are there pre-show mailings? Are the exhibits actively promoted during educational sessions and with program materials? Can you place signs outside the exhibit hall?
  • How responsive is the show management? Will they make sure all the support systems are in place? Can they solve problems quickly and professionally?
  • How many other exhibitors will be there? How does your company fit in with the rest of the exhibitors? What direct competition will be there? Where is your competition located with respect to your booth? Can youequest to keep away from your direct competition?
  • How many attendees are expected? What are their buying habits and qualifications? Do not just be interested in numbers, though. You want good, qualified leads, not just exhibit traffic. You are better off going to a smaller show where there is little traffic with great leads over a larger show where there is lots of traffic and few buyers.

Smart associations and show producers go a long way to facilitate your trade show success. Ultimately, it is up to you to select the right show.


III. Pre-Show Promotions

If the purpose of a trade show is to generate leads, you must promote your exhibit beforehand.

Why? How?

Pre-show promotion has only one purpose: getting the people you want to visit your booth. Therefore, each and every aspect of your promotional strategies has to contribute to making this happen.

There are six factors that contribute to a promotion:

  • Objective
  • Target audience
  • Budget
  • Deadline
  • Theme
  • Call to action

For each promotional medium you decide to employ, each of these six factors should be determined. Each part should contribute to the impression, message and theme of your exhibit so that, in the end, you bombard your audience continuously and from lots of different directions.

1. Objective: Successful promotions always begin with the most important factor -- your promotional objectives. We often place print ads, send out direct mail and purchase giveaways with no solid understanding of what response we want. If you are not clear on the end result, the recipients will not be, either.

What action do you want to take place?

2. Target audience: Next, define your target audience. Start with the number of people you can see in the booth.

You have to know what your numbers are. Your numbers are how many prospects or customers you can physically see at a trade show. Or how many of the attendees are your targeted audience. For example, if a show has 1,000 attendees but your target group is 80, do not waste your time or money on the 920 who are the "wrong" people.

Conversely, if the attendance is 10,000 (and they are all prospects), but you can physically see only 2,500, you have to decide whether or not to increase staff and space to meet that need.

Here is how we do it: To get a reasonable approximation of how many contacts you can see at a show, multiply the number of show hours times the number of staff times 5. This is a simplistic way of doing a "guesstimate." If you have done the show before, your own numbers are always a better measuring stick. But for new shows or new exhibitors, this is a good beginning.

For example, XY Trade Show has 20 show hours. For a 10' x 20' space with 5 staff members, the answer would look like this: 20 show hours x 5 staff x 5 = 500. Recommended staffing is 2 1/2 people per 100 sq. feet of space (10' x 10'). So if you want to reach 2,500 prospects and customers, your choices are to increase staff and space or lower your expectations. And if you want to reach 80 people, a smaller presence would make more sense. One other thing: If you have a large staff, the numbers are per shift, not total people for the booth.

Let’s assume that xy Trade Show attracts about 8,000 attendees. If our goal is to see each and every one of them, you are going to need a space about 3,200 square feet with a staff of 80 at all times. Really ridiculous, isn’t it? That is why you need to decide in advance whom you want to see and how many of those people will be attending.

There are many measurable objectives for exhibits. This contact objective is simply a place to start. Other objectives that can be measured are sales, sales resulting from show contact (more sophisticated), responses to pre-show/at-show promotions, marketing or needs surveys (prior to product introduction or new niche marketing) and more.

If a show has 8,000 attendees but you can see only a thousand, then focus on that finite group.

Be aware of tim: If you see one prospect every three minutes for nine hours, that is only 180 prospects per day. If 5,000 people per day attend, that is less than 4% of the audience. Every second is valuable.

3. Budget: When you set your budget, have a picture in your head of what your client or prospect looks like.

What is client worth to us? If your average sale is a few hundred dollars, you are looking for quantity versus quality.

Since your average sale is tens of thousands of dollars, a few hot sales will pay for your exhibit program for the year. And you are far better off spending a little more money on the right people than going the cheap route and hitting anyone and everyone.

4. Deadline: Date of the show drives most deadlines.

For print ads, including that all-important free listing in the show directory, you have to commit months ahead of time because of copy insertion dates.

Promotional products need to be ordered at least six weeks before the show.

Direct mail has so many parts, including copy design, print, labels, and collation and the time it takes for delivery (either bulk or first-class mail), you have to plan ahead for everything to come together in a timely fashion.

5. Theme
In selecting a theme, reinforce it with booth signage. Each ad, giveaway and mailing should repeat the same concept.

6. Call to action
Last, decide on your call to action. Figure out in advance what action you want the attendees to take. Obviously, a booth visit is the primary purpose, but do you want more than that?

Remember that, no matter what, a successful promotion works when it causes the audience we want to act in the way we want. Do not leave your booth traffic up to chance.

Here are some practical ideas for pre-show promotions:

* Your sales force invites customers and prospects to the show during sales calls.

* Telemarketing reminds callers that you will be at the show.

* Your space advertising includes a show mention.

* Your top management personally invites special customers and prospects to the show for a VIP product introduction.

* Your PR centers on show participation and special events at the show.

* Pre-Show Direct Mail

In creating effective pre-show promotion, by far the most popular and most doable is direct mail. Your options are endless, ranging from postcards and letters to packages, coupons and telegrams.

Remember that your main objective is for your pre-show direct mail to draw people into the exhibit. In order to do that, it has to gain attention, and more important, be read.

Start with something simple, such as postcards. They are inexpensive, mailed either bulk or first class and, according to the U.S. Postal Service, an average of nine people read a postcard before it is delivered to the addressee. They can come in almost any size, color or material.

* Two-Part Promotion: The most profitable promotion in terms of direct mail response is sending out the first half of a two-part promotion. Two-part promotions draw a prospective customer into your booth, and you can wait until you have trapped the information you need before the second half is delivered. Two-part promotions drew the highest response, almost double of any other promotion tested, in a study done by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) based in Bethesda, Maryland, in conjunction with the Promotional Products Association International.

Two-part promotions are actually a marriage of promotional products and direct mail. You select an item that has two components, mail one prior to the show and ask prospects to redeem the second part at the booth. Your choices here are infinite.

* Research other promotion ideas: Because the marriage between promotional products and direct mail is so successful, the distributors of these items can be good resources for creative, unique ideas.

* Trade Show Producer: Find out what promotional activity the trade show’s producer is planning:

  • How will the right visitors know to come?
  • What markets are targeted?
  • What budget is planned?
  • What promotional activity will happen for the next show compared with the previous show?
  • What special events will draw visitors?

Between an effective pre-show promotion to your customers and prospects, and the trade show producers pre-show promotion, you will have plenty of buyers at the show. No matter what method you select, remember that a qualifying dialogue with a prospect in your booth is still the ultimate goal.


Making the Show Pay Off

Most of us understand that trade shows are primarily venues to generate sales leads. Trade shows are an expensive proposition. Trade shows are intended to generate leads that will yield qualified prospects and eventual sales. Sales are seldom launched and closed on the trade show floor. Rather, it takes time, preparation and good follow-through to establish the dialogue, relationship and agreement needed to win a sale.

There are actually a few simple and cost-effective steps that will leverage your trade show investment in achieving your sales targets. They are the seven points of trade show follow-through.

1. The trade show booth can help you qualify prospects: Trade show attendees walk large convention centers with little time to assess who you are and if they should visit your trade show booth. This is, of course, particularly true if you do not have a household-name brand like IBM or Microsoft.

Attendees do not want to be flooded with promotional premiums from non-qualified companies. They are looking for some guidance. Display that guidance right at the booth.

2. Determine a strong visitor profile

  • Establish your initial qualification criteria in advance
  • Define your ideal prospect profile
  • Decide what you are looking for before you head to the trade show, and take the time to train your team to pursue only those prospects who fit your profile.

3. Capture the information from your lead qualification: There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Scanning badges or swiping cards provided by the trade show sponsor
  • Developing your own qualification forms or kiosks
  • Collecting business cards and writing on the back

The advantage of business cards is that the contact information is guaranteed to be accurate. You cannot count on this with scanning badges and forms. In addition, for the best follow-up, you need to start with an effective way to trap the information you collect at the show, one that details information rather than relying on a scrap of paper.

4. Be aggressive
If the sales cycle is complicated and lengthy, you cannot sell prospects at the trade show. But you can capture the information needed to follow up and produce a valuable sales opportunity. Therefore, the trade show is not the time for small talk. Talk to as many people as possible and attempt to initially qualify them. If they meet your initial criteria, take the conversation to the next step and probe further to determine if your ideal prospect profile is achieved.

The prime objective at a trade show is to qualify the needs of a target/prospect so that you can effectively follow up after the show with a call, letter, or offer that leads a qualified prospect to an appointment and a sale.

5. When it comes to collateral at the trade show, more is not better: Some companies bring all their sales collateral to their booths -- boxes and boxes of it. When prospects express interest, the trade show team gives them the whole stack. If you do this, you not only make prospects carry around your materials (while also carrying your competitors'), but you also take away a valuable follow-up opportunity.

A study done by the Trade Show Bureau says 60 to 85 percent is thrown out -- another way of saying it is never read, looked at or even filed for future reference. There is another, even greater benefit, to not giving away catalogs. By collecting names (and needs) of prospects and customers, you have another contact opportunity. You get a second chance to talk with them. Or if you mail the catalog, you get another chance for them to see your name.

For qualified prospects, it is better to get their contact information and then follow up with only the most necessary collateral in a timely manner.

6. Speed counts: Move quickly. Process leads each day of the trade show. Send prospects fulfillment kits that will be on their desks when they return from the trade show. Several days later, follow up with calls to make sure prospects got the materials, and begin to nurture them through the sales cycle. Include these basic questions in your follow-through:

"What is your role in the decision process?

"Is there a current need?"

"Who else is involved?"

"What solution do you currently have, and what else are you looking at?"

All this information needs to be centralized in ACT system to enable follow up and to measure results.

7. Build an integrated response management program: You should use an integrated system to capture leads from trade shows. It also works for your ads, direct mail, etc. The result will be one central response marketing database that helps you nurture prospects through the buying cycle, get more sales and close the loop. That way, everyone wins.

True success lies in doing effective follow-up after the show has shut down. Trade shows do not end until the follow-up is done.

The goal of any trade show should be to get sales, not to get visitors. Often, trade shows are not the end of the sales process; they are just a key part of the sales process. To get sales, you need a follow-up system designed to build relationships and nurture them through the buying cycle.


How to measure Trade Shows?

"We gave out a lot of catalogs." "We collected 1,000 business cards." "We talked to 300 people on the first day of the show." Good results? I do not think so.

How many of the people with whom you spoke were really potential prospects or customers? Was your time spent at the show really used in the best possible way? How many actual qualified leads resulted?

The purpose of a trade show is to generate leads and the measurement is based on cost per lead: total cost/total leads, total cost/qualified leads and, when sales are in, ROI.

There are other measurable objectives for exhibits, they can be measured responses to pre-show/at-show promotions, and more.

The answers really lie in your pre-show planning: When setting objectives, if they are quantifiable, the numbers will speak for themselves. The objectives could also be more qualitative, such as introducing a new product, how many demos were completed? Was part of the booth contact a questionnaire to be completed and turned in for evaluation? How integral and beneficial was the show contact? Did the action-taking place at the show help move the buying process forward toward a satisfactory conclusion?

Your bottom line question should be whether you really made "the most" out of your exhibit space -- the most qualified contacts, the most sales, the most of a uniquely positioned sales, marketing and advertising opportunity.


Reference Materials

Associations

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), formerly known as the Trade Show Bureau, is devoted to producing and coordinating research on the industry. Publications help coordinate marketing strategy and trade show participation. Custom reports available; also a source directory. 4350 East West Highway, Suite 401, Bethesda, MD 20814; Call 301-907-7626, fax 301-907-0277, or go to http://www.ceir.org.

Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA), formerly known as the International Exhibitors Association (IEA), serves both "active" members-corporate sales/marketing professionals who manage exhibits-and "allied" members-suppliers of exhibit-related services. Offers a monthly newsletter and other publications, an online service and educational programs. 5501 Backlick Rd., Suite 105, Springfield, VA 22151; Call 703-941-3725, fax 703-941-8275, or go to http://www.tsea.org.

Key Suppliers

  • Trade show consultants and trainers provide information, advice, and training on how to plan and execute successful trade show strategy.
  • Exhibit designers and producers design exhibits and accessories.
  • Exhibit services suppliers provide a vast array of services to enhance exhibit displays, such as audio/visual production, interactive multimedia, lighting, and live presentations.
  • Trade show managers/producers operate trade shows /expositions.
  • Convention facilities are the convention centers and hotels where trade shows are held.
  • Decorating companies contract with the trade show manager to provide all exhibit installation/dismantling services for the trade show.
  • Transportation companies handle the shipping of your exhibit to the trade show and can provide storage between shows, if needed. They include airfreight companies, common carriers, van lines, and brokers.
  • Convention bureaus and local chambers of commerce can supply extensive free information about their locality and sometimes offer special travel discount coupons.

Supplier Directories

Tradeshow Week publishes the Tradeshow Services Directory separately from the weekly magazine but included in the subscription. Available to non-subscribers. Call 800-375-4212, fax 310-978-6901.

Annual Membership Directory and Product/Service Guide lists all Trade Show Exhibitors Association members (exhibit managers and suppliers) by company and by product/service category, regionally cross-referenced. Free to TSEA members. Call 703-941-3725, fax 703-941-8275.

Supplier Finder. To find a supplier, go to www.SupplierFinder.com.

Key Research

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research publishes research on the industry. Call for their complete catalog of publications. Call 301-907-7626, fax 301-907-0277. Titles include:

  • The Power of Exhibitions provides data on the value of trade shows in the purchasing cycle, and profiles of attendees. Available in its entirety or broken down into industry categories; prices vary.
  • Cold Facts/Hot Tips is a booklet that is short but packed with facts about trade shows assembled from many research studies, plus proven ideas for successful show participation.
  • Pre-Show Promotion Tips That Increase Exhibiting Results reports on attendees' opinions of what method of pre-show promotions attract their interest in visiting a booth.
  • Tradeshow Week's annual Data Book, a massive compendium of statistics on trade shows, is considered the major reference on the industry. Call 800-375-4212, fax 310-978-6901.

Research Services

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) provides the primary clearinghouse for research on the exposition industry, including the effectiveness of trade shows and specific strategies. You can get over-the-phone advice for a fee, or you can obtain custom research. Call 301-907-7626, fax 301-907-0277.

Tradeshow Week's Custom Research service can provide customized information on shows (by industry category, geographical location, and month) and sites the same day you order it. Costs vary; quantity discounts available. Call 323-965-5317, fax 323-965-5304.

Books

A Guide to the U.S. Exposition Industry is a comprehensive overview for those who use expositions in their marketing programs and for anyone who wants to understand this medium. Call 301-907-7626.

Planning a Tradeshow Z to A is a complete how-to package which includes two books:

the Guidebook covers all the topics you need to help you plan for exhibiting at a trade show, step by step, including setting objectives, creating a timeline, defining your exhibit and promotion needs, etc.;

Worksheets include planning sheets and checklists to implement the steps in the Guidebook. Call 301-907-7626.

How to Get the Most Out of Trade Shows, 2nd edition, by Steve Miller, is a succinct and highly readable primer full of useful tips for exhibiting at a trade show, from pre-show planning and marketing, through working the show, and post-show follow-up. NTC Publishing Group, 1995. Call 800-323-4900.

Exhibit Marketing, 2nd edition, by consultant and writer Edward A. Chapman, Jr., is a completely updated version of the classic handbook that will guide you through every stage, from initial planning to post-show follow-up. McGraw-Hill, 1995. Call 800-722-4726.

Publishing Services

Tradeshow Week is a weekly magazine aimed at corporate exhibitors, show organizers, and suppliers. It covers all aspects of the trade show world, including articles on how-to's and advice, trends, costs of labor and materials, expenditures by exhibitors and show organizers, legislative and tax developments, as well as weekly and quarterly reports on trade show performance. Also publishes the annual Data Book of statistics. Call 800-375-4212, fax 310-978-6901. Go to http://www.tradeshowweek.com.

TradeShow & Exhibit Manager, a bimonthly magazine, serves trade show professionals. 6 issues and includes annual Buyers Guide. Call 310-828-1309.

Creative Expo Environment, aimed at exhibit managers, includes articles on such topics as exhibit design and management, transportation, lead management, working with show management, new products, industry trends, legal issues, etc. 12 issues, includes annual Buyers Guide (free to qualified recipients). Call 602-990-1101.

Online Services

The ExpoBase Web site offers efficient and user-friendly access to data concerning the tradeshow industry. Its primary feature is a multilingual Exhibition Databank containing more than 15,000 exhibitions worldwide. Updated daily, ExpoBase is a "virtual marketplace" where you can find information about the trade show and exhibition industry and its suppliers, register for exhibitions, conferences, and seminars, etc., and communicate with colleagues. Go to http://www.expobase.com.

EXPO magazine operates a useful Web site, EXPOweb, at http://www.expoweb.com, billed as "both an educational resource and an online marketing vehicle" for show organizers. Its Resource Center includes information about the industry (such as statistics, industry terms and definitions). Show Search is a worldwide index of trade shows, searchable by industry, date, location, official name, and acronym.

Places to Go provides links to most industry associations and other useful sites. The Site Selection Companion offers info about cities; there is also a directory of Web sites of CVBs that have facilities offering at least 50,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space.

Selected current and recent articles of EXPO magazine can be read online; the archives contain most features of back issues--all for free. The IAEM Industry Buyer's Guide is also free online. The Public Show Companion offers information on how to produce a public show. Classified ads include both career and business opportunities.

Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA) operates a site on the Web, with association information and links to other services, reference libraries, industry statistics, news, and other information: http://www.tsea.org.

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) operates a Web site at http://www.ceir.org.

International Association of Exposition Management's Web site is at http://www.iaem.org.

Exhibitor magazine's Web address is http://www.exhibitornet.com.

Exhibit Designers & Producers Association's Web address is http://www.edpa.com.

Never stop learning and thinking out-of-the-box... "The only sustainable competitive advantage a company can have is the ability to learn faster than its competition." Theodore Levitt

Remy M. Mauduit


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