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4 Easy Mistakes to Avoid at Your Next Trade Show

It’s not hard to make mistakes with your trade show display, but it can be difficult to spot them before they happen. This can be because there are so many things to consider and so many decisions to be made. However, if you make a plan accordingly, avoiding some of the most common mistakes can be easy — especially if you know what to look out for. Here are some of the easiest mistakes to make, but also how to avoid them so you make sure that you have a successful experience with your trade show display: 4mistakes

Mistake #1: Bringing Your Trade Show Display to the Wrong Show

By attending the wrong show, I don’t mean that you showed up at the wrong convention center or something. You show up at the right convention center, but is this the right show for your business? Exhibiting at the right trade shows can really help your company find leads and connect with current customers, which is why it’s so important to attend the right ones. If you may or may not be earning a good ROI or even better awareness for your company, think again about the show. If you attend the wrong types of events, you could miss out on your customer base entirely! If you’ve attended a show recently and it didn’t produce the results you wanted or expected, think long and hard before planning to attend it again. Talk to the event organizer about the problems that you had and if there aren’t any steps taken to correct these problems, look for a new event to attend.

Mistake #2: Bringing the Wrong Booth Staffers

Next, make sure that you’re bringing the right booth staffers to work your trade show display. These employees could be your most experienced sales representatives or they could be the ones who are most passionate about your business. Whatever you do, don’t force an employee to staff the booth.  Surprisingly, not all extroverts are the best staffers. Whether an employee is an extreme introvert who is uncomfortable talking to strangers or just isn’t confident enough in their sales abilities, now is not the time to test them. Instead, work on training them in the office so that they’re ready for the next time you’re planning on exhibiting.

Mistake #3: Not Tailoring Your Message 

If you’re used to bringing your trade show booth to events, it can be tempting to just use the same marketing message for each one. However, the best companies will tailor their message to fit each individual event. After all, each event obviously has a different goal and audience, so you can’t expect to use the same message. Different shows can have completely different sets of attendees and a one-size-fits-all marketing message typically doesn’t make any sense. Instead, think of your marketing message as a job resume and modify it for each individual audience. Match your message with your objectives.

Mistake #4: Not Calculating Your Return On Investment After Your Event

Lastly, make sure that you’re calculating your return on investment for each event or trade show you attend. (In fact, use our Measurement Made Easy! CD full of helpful calculators and tools to analyze your trade shows). If you’re not figuring your ROI, you might never know if you’re spending your marketing dollars wisely, which can lead to a blown marketing budget, and a very blurry marketing objective strategy.

While some of these mistakes might seem like they’re common sense, they’re not always easily avoided, both for newbies and veterans. Take a critical look at your company to determine whether you’re making these mistakes so you can focus your efforts on bettering your overall trade show experience.


Bringing the wrong booth staffers to your next trade show can destroy all of the effort and dollars you’ve put into the event. After all, they are the face of your company. Get your hands on the Better Booth Staffing for Great Trade Show Results white paper to improve the performance of your trade show program. Click here to request your free copy.

About the Author

Eric has been the President at Skyline South Florida for over 10 years. Skyline South Florida produces a variety of exhibits ranging from small banner stands to large island exhibit environments. They service the entire South Florida area, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach & the Caribbean. For more information on trade show displays, trade show booths, and trade show exhibits in Miami, please visit

5 responses to “4 Easy Mistakes to Avoid at Your Next Trade Show

  1. There are more than 14,000 trade events in the United States and Canada alone. “Which shows in this haystack offer the richest opportunities to meet your company’s sales and marketing goals?”

    First, gain an in-depth understanding of your company’s markets, products, services, along with its marketing strategy, objectives, and goals. Then go ahead and select the right show to maximize ROI.
    Learn more:

  2. Hello Eric, i just read your comments about companies attending the correct shows to get the best bang for the buck.
    I guess you are familiar with the Lake Home and Log Cabin Show in Chicago.
    I wasn’t sure if this was a good fit to display my product.
    I figure people that have lake homes also have garages and many patios which we do patio, balcony screens as well.
    Take a look at my website and I’d appreciate any feedback you may have.



    1. Hello James,

      The Lake Home and Log Cabin Show may be a good fit for you, as the attendees should all be homeowners who could use your product, and also people who want to improve it. Also, they are more likely to really need your screen because their cabins are more likely to be in a place with more bugs. If you can make enough sales to the attendees to cover the cost of exhibiting, go for it. You may also try shows where the attendees are people who could buy from you multiple times, such as contractors or others who work on garages for homeowners.

  3. This is an excellent list – number three is a special pet peeve of mine. You’re absolutely right, people do take a one-size-fits-all approach to their message, and obviously that’s not the best way to get it across!

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