A few years ago, conventional marketing wisdom was that trade shows and live events would die out as remote and virtual technologies enabled events to be live-streamed to your laptop; saving the time, expense and hassle of attending events in person. Well, that didn’t happen. Not only have large scale trade shows proved remarkably resilient, but there has also been an explosion of small scale events – for example, meetups – that are now an essential part of most marketers go-to-market plans.
The savvy marketer will build an annual event calendar that balances presence at large-scale awareness building events against participation at smaller-scale, more sales-oriented events. They will also have a plan to use pre-registration lists, drawings, private invitation events as a way to get one-on-one with their target buyers at even the largest event. But, from a design point of view, what are the key things you can do to make events of any size as productive and successful as possible?
- Relevance – most events these days have a theme and attract buyers based on their interest in this theme. It’s important to adapt your messaging to the theme of the event and to play off it in your pre-event mailings, catalog listings, booth messages and graphics.
- Visibility – from a design perspective, you need to use graphics and messages that are bold and eye-catching. While some attendees will research an event and know exactly who they want to talk to, many more will scan booths from a distance and, if they can’t understand what a booth is about or how it’s relevant to them, they will pass it by. Your booth messaging must therefore be visible and easily understood. In our experience, far too many booths graphics panels feature cut-and-paste text from corporate brochures in a font size that can’t easily be read and, even if it is read, contains dull, generic messaging.
- Engaging – Designworks’ view is that the purpose of a well-designed booth is to draw potential buyers onto the booth and into a conversation. As such, booth graphics and messaging should be about questions not answers. These questions should challenge or intrigue the buyer and encourage them to visit you to find out more information. Your booth staff should be well-briefed and have messaging that flows from the overall event and booth messaging so that when the inevitable “so what do you do?” is asked, they have relevant and engaging answers.
Your Booth Is A Piece of Collateral
A booth is like any other piece of collateral and it should be designed for maximum re-use. A well-engineered booth will be designed so that it can be configured into different shapes and sizes and to have graphics panels that can easily be changed or updated depending on the event and the audience.
At Designworks, We Love Trade Shows
Tradeshows and live events are an essential part of the marketing mix and they need to be integrated with all of your other marketing activities to be effective. Developing a theme and messaging; having a well-designed booth; using email, SEM and social media to spread the word before, during and after the event all require planning. Designworks can help with all aspects of trade show and event design. Put our experience and expertise to work, and together, let’s maximize your trade show success.