Propaganda Polluted Tradeshow Tables & Tradeshow Tips

I attended a small tradeshow this morning for the senior services industry.  Some of the businesses had very professional tradeshow booths that were well-branded and others had obnoxious “salesy” signs and unprofessional propaganda all over their tables.  It was quite the spectrum of bad to excellent.

I have to list some of my pet peeves with tradeshow exhibitors.  Now, they are pet peeves because they are wasting their time and money by doing these things.  I hate to see people waste precious marketing budgets on ineffective marketing.

1. Cluttered tables.  Simple rule here – less is better.  You do not have to fill up every inch of space.  Leave some white space on the table so the eye can flow through the signage and literature, and find something of interest.

2. A table full of propaganda.  Several tables I visited had so many stands with various brochures and flyers.  I would have to ask, “Which is your main brochure?”  One woman had four brochures on her table.  It was an in-home care company.  She then started to explain every brochure on the table.  I was only interested in one – the main company brochure.

3. Poorly branded propaganda.  Make sure flyers, brochures, signage and banners use the same fonts, logos, common graphics, colors, templates, etc.

4. Drawing entry forms requesting your email and without the proper notification they will be email marketing you.  If you are asking for email because you are going to email market them, tell them that on the form.  “By filling out your email, you agree to receive email marketing.” Or, have a check mark box next to a statement, “If you do not wish to receive email marketing of our promotions, check this box.”  I filled in some of these forms today and am curious to see how much spam I will get.  Then I will reply to them with a link to this blog.

5. People sitting on chairs.  I am a stickler for standing in the booth.  You are there to greet people and be friendly.  Sitting in a chair behind the table is a bad practice.  Wear comfortable shoes so your feet don’t get tired. 

6. Overly aggressive salespeople turn me off.  Overly cold salespeople also turn me off.  Be friendly, say hello as people pass your booth.  Point them to your drawing and ask a couple questions to get the ball rolling.

7. Cartoony, big letters in multiple colors look obnoxious and “salesy”.  In an industry tradeshow where it is about caring for our Seniors, a company should look professional and caring, not like they are after your money.

8. Unclear messaging.  You have to get to the point quickly - what do you do?  What is in it for me to stop at your booth?

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