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5 Trade Show Display Purchase Mistakes

tradeshow display purchase mistakesInvesting in the right trade show display is a serious decision.  Like anything else, there are hundreds of options on the market.  However, it is easy to make an expensive mistake by rushing into a purchase without all of the knowledge at your fingertips. Don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain! Below are the 5 most common mistakes businesses make when purchasing a trade show display.

1.  Purchased the lowest priced display:

It is a sad but true cliché that if something looks too good to be true then it probably is.  A decent display does not cost a fortune, but cheap models will simply not compare to the higher priced counterparts in terms of quality, appearance, adaptability, and durability.  When exhibiting at a trade show, do you want to be perceived by attendees at a “Yugo” because of a poor quality graphic? (yes, I’m referring to the unreliable automobile…)  The presentation of your booth space goes hand-in-hand with the perception of your company by attendees.

Lesson learned: Don’t buy based on the lowest price.

2. Poor quality materials:

For the short term saving of buying a display made of cheap materials, the payoff is that it will be far less durable than better quality displays.  Your display will start looking shabby before long and you will find yourself burdened with unexpected repair bills.  It is far better to consider the best materials available when making your display purchase.  Before buying, think carefully about how many shows a year you plan on attending, and how many years service you want to get out of your trade show booth.  A very low upfront cost might be attractive, but a low cost usually means a sacrifice in quality & durability.  Paying a higher cost upfront for a display that lasts much longer is always a better option because the overall cost of ownership is lower.  Additionally, hardware that can be re-used with new graphics leads to a lower cost of ownership and longer term use.

Lesson learned: A penny saved might lead to many dollars spent in the future because of poor quality!

3. Did not consider modularity:

Fixed displays & custom exhibits without modularity are impossible to expand upon if you need a larger display area or if you wanted to merge your display with that of another department.  A custom-modular based display gives you this important flexibility. Take advantage of a custom-modular display so that you can easily make changes, add on with rental materials and keep up with new technologies as they become available.  For example, some old displays do not support video, which is now an important element of trade show displays.

Lesson learned: One size does not fit all.

4. Difficult to setup:

Choosing a display that is overly complex or difficult to set up is a false economy.  When you need help setting up your booth, especially last minute at the show, additional labor time and costs are incurred.  Also, who wants to be the person at the office that everyone complains to when they had a problem setting up the display at a show??

Lesson learned: Take a test drive before the show and make sure your account executive shows you the easiest methods for setup & take down.

5. Heavy to ship:

The bulkier and heavier your display is, the more it is going to cost in shipping.  Gas prices are on the rise, which means that transportation costs can be significant (and don’t forget drayage at the show too…).  Consider investing in light weight materials that fold down into small packaging areas.  You may pay more for your display initially for this convenience, but will save a fortune in the long term.

Lesson learned: You can save a lot of money shipping a modular exhibit and the savings will end up paying for the booth.

WWEAs you prepare for your future event and trade show planning, learn from your peers in the What’s Working in Exhibiting Benchmarks and Best Practices white paper. Learn how exhibitors have improved results, stretched their budgets, and reduced risk. Click here to request you free copy and learn more.

About the Author

Michael Flavin is a trade show strategist & exhibit consultant at Skyline Exhibits & Graphics Mid-America in St. Louis, MO. He works with companies & organizations to eliminate headaches from their trade show, event marketing & recruiting programs. Overall, he offers total, turn-key solutions, focused on creating memorable experiences, lowering operating expenses and increasing ROI. In addition, Michael consults & trains booth staffers and helps companies measure results from their trade show programs. He also helps exhibit marketers design St. Louis trade show displays.

2 responses to “5 Trade Show Display Purchase Mistakes

  1. Thanks for the post! It’s really important to get the best trade show exhibit design possible. Not only does it make an impression, but it can become a nightmare if not done right.

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