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On With The Show

Make the most of your next trade show.
August 1, 1998

When i think about the last trade show I attended, I'm reminded of those "Where's Waldo?" cartoons--where there are so many people and so much going on that you'd have trouble finding poor Waldo even if you had a map and a bloodhound.

Trade show sponsors are good at marketing their shows to a wide range of exhibitors. But because there are so many exhibitors, you risk not being able to realize a payoff for what is likely an expensive venture. Booth space, display equipment, products, giveaways, transportation, personnel, etc., can really add up. These events offer incomparable marketing opportunities, but they won't get you anywhere if you don't plan ahead.

So before you jump on to the trade show bandwagon, here are a few things to ask yourself:

You can also personally call key individuals to remind them that the date of the show is approaching or to extend invitations to receptions or hospitality activities.

Many employees think working at a trade show falls somewhere between jury duty and walking the plank. The wise employer, therefore, sells the experience as an opportunity for professional growth. Let your workers know how important this effort is and what's expected of them. Know the kind of personality a staffer should have, and do some in-depth training on how to manage booth traffic, greet people, generate and qualify leads, and present a positive first impression. Remember, people who are reliable, knowledgeable, friendly, professional and energetic are crucial to a successful return on your trade show investment.

With a little preparation and training, a trade show can be one of your best marketing tools.

Leann Anderson is the owner of Anderson Business Resources, a Greeley, Colorado, company specializing in customer service, marketing and business etiquette. E-mail her at

Next Step

*Exhibiting at Tradeshows by Susan Friedmann (Crisp Publications), (800) 442-7477

*Expert Exhibitor: The Annual Guide to Successful Trade Show Strategies & Tactics (Exhibitor magazine, Exhibitor Magazine Group), (507) 289-6556