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What Your Exhibit Designer Wished You Knew

You know which company you will trust to bring your brand to life at your next conference or trade show and you’ve even got a call set up to talk to the designers about your vision for the show. Here’s what you will need to bring to that initial meeting.

I asked Stephanie, Amy, Aaron and Adam (all exhibit designers at Skyline) their advice on what should be brought to the initial discovery meeting, what will be discussed, and how to best prepare for an initial call:

Why are you going to the show? It’s a simple question, but your answer is the most telling to an exhibit designer. Are you going to the show to connect with as many people as you can? Are you hoping to host executives of long time partners with coffee & a conference space? Before you talk with exhibit designers, determine with relevant stakeholders the specific objectives you’re hoping to achieve by going to the show, and what your company hopes to leave the show with.  “Define what you want to do at the show, what you want the customer to experience when they visit your booth, and what you as a company want to take away from the show,” Adam Deming, Exhibit Design Manager and 10-year Skyline designer, advises. If you can’t answer why you’re going, think critically about why you are investing in going.

What is your Budget? It’s also helpful to have a pre-approved budget determined before you get knee deep into the touchscreens, video walls & virtual reality climbing walls. The designers will create based on what makes sense for your company and objectives for the show. Not having a predetermined budget ahead of time will likely mean design revisions and approvals from your director or leadership team, adding precious time to your trade show timeline.  Technology is new and constantly changing, but think about the best way to incorporate that into your booth space. Just because it is cool, new and exciting, doesn’t mean you need to include it. It’s no secret that events are a big marketing investment. Having an agreed upon budget helps the designer provide an option within the realm of possibility, and ensures your timeline is kept smooth.

Who you should involve and when? In a productive design discovery meeting, the conversation will naturally flow, but should be driven by you as the client. You have the best knowledge of what you are trying to achieve at the show, and will oversee your company presence at the show, so this conversation is your time to make that known.  Here’s who we recommend including in that initial meeting with the designers:

  • The highest level of approver- this keeps everyone in the loop and on the same page.
  • Someone who will be at the show, or who has been at the show in the past if it isn’t you.
  • The creator of the content produced, or the creator of the product that will be announced at the show or conference.

Making the time to have everyone involved at an earlier point will save you time and help you hit your budget.

There’s no doubt managing an event presence is stressful, however, being prepared ahead of time will save you valuable time and money.

Regardless of your prior exhibiting knowledge your exhibit house and designers should be able to take your information to create an exhibit to meet your needs.

 

tradeshows timeline sheet calucaltion roi
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)

Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items. Also included is; budget planning information, a booth staff schedule, typical show services deadline list and a budget calculator perfect for trade show veterans and those newer to the industry.

Kayla Goeman
About the Author

Kayla is a Senior Marketing Associate at Skyline Exhibits, based at Skyline’s International Design Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, is an avid runner and a 7 time All-American in Track & Field.

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