Trade Show TalesBlog

Smarter, Faster, Cheaper Solutions for your Trade Show Program

February 13th, 2012 COMMENTS

Recent Trade Show Trends


Earlier this month, I attended a Distributor Open House where over 200 customers came to see the latest exhibit trends and services. I was fortunate to participate in a 45 minute panel session entitled Smarter, Faster, Cheaper Solutions for your Trade Show Program. I thought I’d share those trends with you. The first five (Show Floor Trends) came from an Independent Labor Contractor. The next five or so (Design and Manufacturing Trends) came from Classic Exhibits. The last five (Smarter, Strategic Behaviors) came from the Distributor.

Let me know if you would like more information. Just send me an email, and I’ll connect you with the appropriate presenter(s).

Show Floor Trends

1. The Importance of Taking Immediate Action When You Receive Your Show Manual. (In order to Maximize Discounts)

2. The Top 5 Operating Cost Budget Busters to Watch — Freight, Labor, Drayage, Rigging, and At-Show Additions.

3. Exhibitors are providing shorter lead times to display house vendors, and it’s costing you more money on the show floor. (A foot soldier’s perspective from the front lines)

4. Thirty Things on the Show Floor that Conspire to Destroy Your Beautiful Trade Show Experience.

5. Understanding General Contractors, Exhibitor-Appointed Contractors, and the Labor Unions.

Design and Manufacturing Trends

6. The New Kid in town is Hybrid Exhibits. They offer more than Traditional Portables (Banner Stands and Pop-ups) while approaching the Look and Function of Custom Exhibits.

7. Tension Fabric is the BIG Beast in graphics. Fabrics dominate the show floor with vibrant colors, lighter weight, durability and small packing.

8. Versatile Engineered Aluminum is the BACKBONE of most design centric inlines. It looks great, can be shaped, is durable, and plays well with custom wood construction or basic banner stands.

9. Customized design is no longer for the 1%. You can tailor your exhibit space with the help of extrusion, fabric, and computer aided design without a six-figure budget.

10. Packaging, Assembly, and Sustainability have come a LONG, LONG way. Most exhibits now are easy to assemble, pack smaller, and include post-industrial and post-consumer materials.

10a. Don’t forget rentals. Rentals have gotten OH SO SEXY. Take a look. You’ll be surprised how rentals have shed their MOO-MOO for Upscale Designer Wear.

Smarter, Strategic Behaviors

11. Begin to plan the show with the end in mind. Create a Trade Show Marketing Plan that includes Pre-Show, At-Show and Post-Show Marketing.

12. Establish Specific Objectives. What do you really want to get out of the show and how do you get it?

13. Technology awareness and possible sharing. Who/what synergies are available to use at the show as a resource?

14. Secure Qualified Leads that will generate sales after proper follow-up.

15. Train and Schedule Staff. Your staff needs to effectively convey your sales message and ensure the booth is staffed properly.

15a. Create a WOW Exhibit that attracts people and conveys your brand in the best light.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

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