5 Questions to Ask before Designing a Trade Show Display

August 3rd, 2016

When you decide to participate in Austin, Texas, trade shows, you may want to jump right into the process of designing your display. However, by answering just a few questions for yourself first, you and the exhibit company you hire can approach the design process with a clearer picture of what you need to succeed at the show. Following are a few of these questions.

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Who is the target audience?

In order to reap the most benefit from your time at a trade show, you will need to direct your marketing efforts at a specific audience. Ideally, this audience will be the people at the trade show who are most likely to generate profit for your business. In order to get their attention, you need to design a custom trade show booth with them in mind. That is why your first step should be to define who your target audience is.

Once you know who you want to speak to with your display, you and your exhibit company can begin to pinpoint certain design features that will specifically attract their attention. For example, if you are trying to target nurses at a health care symposium, you might choose to use images of nurses instead of doctors. Or, if you want to attract radiologists, you might choose to display your latest imaging equipment instead of your newest surgical tools. By knowing your audience, you can send the right message with your display.

What does this trade show display need to accomplish?

Closely related to knowing your target audience is knowing your goals for your trade show display. For example, do you want to showcase certain products? Do you want to hold meetings? Do you want to give visitors an immersive experience? Do you want to hold presentations and events? Do you want to create leads or close sales?

These goals will dictate many of the specific elements that you build into your custom trade show booth. If you want to showcase your products, you need beautiful, eye-catching displays. If you want to tell visitors a story, you might need to create a museum exhibit. If you want to close sales or meet with contacts, you might need private meeting rooms. If you want to give presentations, you might need to incorporate some high tech media. Once you know what you want to do with your trade show display, you can work with your exhibit company to achieve these goals.

What are your five-year goals for the trade show display?

When you are deciding what you want to accomplish with your trade show display, you also need to think about what that display will need to do for your business over the next five years (the average life of a custom trade show exhibit). This requires you to take the long view when it comes to designing your booth. Instead of simply deciding what you need this year, you should try to anticipate your needs for several years into the future.

For example, maybe your start up business only needs to establish some brand awareness among its competitors this year, but you foresee rolling out some exciting new products in a few years. In that case, you should design a booth that can be modified to display those products when they are ready. Or, perhaps you only want to display some products this year, but in two years, you want to hold a product launch. Creating a booth that can be expanded or modified to accommodate this kind of event might be a smart move. By planning for the future, you avoid the need to purchase another costly display in a year or two when your needs change.

What brand elements do you want to communicate?

The most unique trade show displays work because they communicate the business’ brand clearly and effectively. This means that they showcase those elements of the business that are different from their competitors’ brands. If you want to create a unique trade show display yourself, you should try to identify the unique elements in your own brand and then decide how to communicate them through your trade show display.

SEE ALSO: 6 Tips for Standing Out from Your Trade Show Competition

For example, perhaps you are joining a dozen other solar energy companies trying to attract new customers at an energy trade show. You could design a booth that touts the energy saving and money saving benefits of solar energy, but chances are all of your competitors will do the same. Instead, you might want to design a booth that highlights the fact that your business is run on solar energy, that you have been in the solar energy industry since the beginning, and/or that you have won x number of awards for your work.

What is your budget?

The amount of money you can spend on a trade show display is limited only by your budget. That is why determining your budget is an important element in designing your trade show display. Before you even begin designing your display, you need to decide how much money you have to spend on it. Once you have that number, you can work with your exhibit company’s design services to craft a display that is both high quality and affordable.

If you find that your budget is too small to achieve an impactful and unique trade show display built from the ground up, you may want to consider other options, such as rental displays. These displays can be customized to achieve your goals while remaining low cost enough to fit with smaller budgets.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be ready to begin hashing out the design of your custom exhibits. At ImageCraft, we sit down in a meeting with you to help you answer some of these questions. At the end of the process, you and we have a clear idea of what your exhibit needs are. With these answers in hand, you and we can proceed with creating a custom trade show exhibit that combines your goals, your budget, and the right design choices into a display that is truly designed to succeed.