8 Common Trade Show Myths

At some point, you’ve probably heard one or two pessimistic trade show rumors. Trade shows take a lot of hard work and planning, so of course there will be some naysayers perpetuating myths about it being a waste of time or that it’s easier than it looks. At Evo Exhibits, we have an expert’s perspective and we’re here to bust those myths and make sure you go into your next trade show with accurate information and much-needed confidence.

1. Myth: You can hire anyone to staff your booth.

There’s a reason why trade show staffing agencies exist. You could definitely just pull some staff members off your own workroom floor and put them in the role of “salesperson” at your exhibit. But just because they are knowledgable on your product or service, doesn’t mean they have the sales ability to convince someone they need it. If you really want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your staffing buck, make sure you choose people from your company who have experience in sales. You might be tempted to choose someone off your team who’s “nice and friendly” but this person may not have the skills necessary to gather viable leads. Hiring from a staffing agency will guarantee professionalism, people skills, and sales experience. But if it makes more business sense to choose staff from within, just make sure you choose wisely.

2. Myth: Trade shows are a waste of money and time.

Trade shows are not a waste as long as you take to care to avoid common mistakes. Working with an exhibit design company like Evo Exhibits will assure that you make the most of your time and budget, especially if this is your first trade show. Thinking about your next trade show venture can seem daunting: Standing on your feet all day; Talking to people for hours who may not be interested in your business; Setting up and tearing down your booth; Training your staff; Deals with travel logistics like the inevitable long wait at the airport. It’s enough to intimidate even the most experienced business person. What’s important though, is that you go in with a positive attitude and if you’ve prepared properly, you should have nothing to worry about. The opportunity to present your products or services to a large group of pre-qualified prospects, is virtually unavailable in any other marketing channel. If executed properly, you’ll find that your trade show experience was actually well worth the time and money.

3. Myth: Every trade show is the same.

If you approach every show the same, then this myth might hold true. But if you take the time to find out who’s coming to the show and what kind of exhibits will be there, your marketing plan can be tailored specifically for the opportunity, increasing your chances to make a splash. It’s always a good idea to contact the show manager and find out as much information as you can about the show you’ll be attending. This will have a huge effect on everything from the size of your exhibit to your post-show marketing campaign. Consulting with an expert at Evo is a great way to get a leg up on establishing a plan that fits the trade show you’ll be attending.

4. Myth: Small brands don’t get noticed.

This is absolutely untrue, especially when you consider that 81 percent of trade show attendees have the authority to buy. That means 81 percent of the people walking around are looking to make a purchase right then and there. Being a lower-profile brand might make you feel like a bit of a wallflower at a big show. But you still have the power to attract buyers who are actively looking for new and exciting companies to partner with. Having an exhibit that makes a bold statement is a great way to get noticed. If you can’t afford to go all out this year, signing up for a regional or “niche” trade show is a great way give your small brand a chance to really stand out.

5. Myth: Collecting business cards in a fishbowl is a great way to generate leads.

You might be tempted to go with the classic, business cards in the fishbowl trick to collect leads, but this method has been proven time and time again to be impersonal and moreover, unmemorable. People drop their cards into these bowls without even thinking. They just see a sign that says “iPad giveaway” and walk over like zombies. The reason why this method of generating leads isn’t 100% effective is that there’s no interaction involved. A better way of getting the contact info of prospects is to host a giveaway, but instead of a fishbowl, have a staff member with an iPad nearby for people to enter their info into. This way, you open up the doors to a potential conversation about your company every time someone signs up.

6. Myth: Trade show marketing is the same as any other type of marketing.

You might be thinking that trade show marketing is just well…marketing, but that’s simply not true. You don’t want to end up wasting time and money on marketing methods that don’t end up working. It’s always better to go to the trade show marketing experts, just like you’d do with any other type of marketing. Looking to tackle it yourself? Check out our Trade Show Planning Timeline for some great pre-show marketing tips!

7. Myth: Everyone’s just there to party.

This is a half-truth. It’s true that some companies really are there to party. They’ll take prospects out for drinks and treat the whole weekend like a Vegas getaway. Although some trade shows do harbor a fun, party atmosphere, it’s still important to stick to your plan and not get tempted by the excitement that’s going on around you. Just remember that you’re there to make sales. When you get back to your home-base, you’ll want to find out that your trade show experience actually made you money, not wasted it.

8. Myth: Pretty soon, virtual trade shows will be taking over.

Virtual trade shows have been the “next big thing” since the 1990s. Obviously that revolution hasn’t happened just yet. That’s because nothing can truly replace a face-to-face interaction. Most prospects want to actually hold your product, taste your food, or talk to the staff in-person. There is and always will be value in actually being there as opposed to watching it through a 2-dimensional screen.

So, there you have it. Our top 8 trade show myths, busted. Remember, don’t take everything you hear about trade shows as absolute. In the end, you have the power to make your trade show experience worth it and at Evo Exhibits, we’re 100% committed to helping you get there.

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