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16 Embarrassing Signs You Need A New Trade Show Display

need a new trade showboothYou can tell when you really need to buy a new car:  Small rust holes merging into bigger rust holes; the billows of smoke from burning oil; the engine that is so loud you have to shout to be heard.

But what about your trade show displays?  What similar clues hint that it’s time to send your display to the junk yard and start over?  You’ll know it’s time if you’ve experienced any of these:

  1. The colors on your trade show booth are out of fashion – again.
  2. All the people in your exhibit photos have big 80’s hair.
  3. Your booth staffers wear bags over their heads.
  4. Your booth staffers keep their backs to the aisles.
  5. Your booth staffers try to stay in the aisle the entire show.
  6. Your booth staffers arrange for all their at-show meetings to take place in the coffee shop.
  7. Visitors to your booth say, “Wow, what a cool retro look!” when that actually wasn’t your design intention.
  8. There is a bird nest in the tower of your trade show booth.
  9. The lights on your trade show display use technology that is no longer available.
  10. Your trade show exhibit uses more duct tape than MacGyver.
  11. Some countries that no longer exist are included in your bulleted list of countries where you have distribution.
  12. The words “keen” and “neato” appear in your exhibit graphics.
  13. You have multiple layers of white-out used to change text on your graphics.
  14. There is more carpet-like fabric than graphic images on your backwall displays.
  15. Your exhibit architecture has a Soviet-era feel.
  16. Attendees to your booth only compliment you on your rented carpet.

If you’ve had to endure any of these embarrassing moments, or experience other similar awkward episodes, perhaps it’s time to investigate purchasing or renting a new trade show exhibit.

Value of Trade Shows White PaperIn a recent research survey The Value Of Trade Shows, exhibitors shared that buying a new exhibit was one of the most effective ways to improve their trade show performance. Click here to learn more and request your free copy.  


Want a new exhibit you can be proud of? You can see dozens of photos of the latest ideas in exhibit design in our tabletop, inline, and island exhibit brochures.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

6 responses to “16 Embarrassing Signs You Need A New Trade Show Display

  1. Mike, these points really do not reflect the real reasons why a company’s booth is in serious need of updating. What are the real factors that reveal your trade show booth and reps are out of date and out of touch? One area is in designing lead capturing and qualifying as part of the system design. Out-of-date: reps writing names and questions on the back of a business card vs. Up-to-date: Lead management station for scanning and managing lead via iPad CRM. Or, the need to design an area within the booth to sit with a rep to discuss questions and do demos on the booth monitor or iPad. Or perhaps include a jumbo monitor with looping videos that get the attention of key prospects with relevant content. Just some ideas .. but I also think you are exposing an important issue.

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