If your company is shopping for a new trade show supplier, you’ve probably already noticed that it seems like there’s an infinite number of choices out there, but it’s important to start with the understanding that not all trade show houses are created equal. Before you contract with a trade show supplier, make sure that they’re able to meet all of your needs today, and well into the future. You can make comparing trade show suppliers easier by starting with some baseline information and questions to ask each one you talk to.
Current Needs And Future Demand
You may already know what your immediate needs are. If you’ve already developed a visual branding package with your logo and acceptable variants, approved colors and fonts, and other critical details spelled out, you’re ahead of the game. If you need a visual branding package, make sure that any trade show suppliers you’re talking to have a branding specialist you can work with, because this provides the basis for your exhibit design. Consistency is key in branding!
Do you have a trade show marketing plan with specific objectives and paths to achieve them? If not, you should make sure you’re working with a trade show house that offers marketing consulting and training, so you can plan an exhibit that will give your team everything they need to meet and exceed your goals.
How often do you plan to change the graphics or floor plan of your exhibit for new campaigns, product rollouts, or seasonal promotions? Are there any key shows where you plan a specialized exhibit? Make sure you’re satisfied with the production timelines a trade show supplier is offering you, and that they can reliably keep pace with changes you will need to make. Will they work with you to find ways to lower costs by planning ahead? For example, can they print two-sided graphics that you can reverse for a second campaign?
Variety And Quality Of Exhibit Materials
When it comes to designing your exhibit, one of the early questions you’ll need to answer is whether purchase or rental will work best for your marketing plan. For many exhibitors, customized rental makes good sense. If you’re one of those companies, be sure to ask the trade show suppliers you’re considering working with about the kind of variety you can expect from them, and how many of their available rental pieces can be customized for your exhibit.
Whether you plan to purchase or rent, ask to see the equipment you’re considering in person. Look carefully at any graphics on the examples: Is the material and printing top quality? Are the colors bright and the images clear? Do the edges of the text appear clean or blurry? If you want to rent, do the structures and frames seem sturdy and well maintained? If you’re in the market for a DIY exhibit set-up, be sure to ask how much the pieces weigh and how large the container is. Does it have wheels for easy transportation? What’s involved in setting it up?
Service And Support Network
Where will your show schedule take your team and exhibit? If they’ll be attending shows outside your local region, ask what support your prospective trade show suppliers offer for long-distance domestic shows or international shows. Can they save you money on freight by sending the heaviest components of your custom trade show exhibit from an office nearby your shows? Do they have local expertise to your show venues, so you get correct and compliant I&D, no matter where you go? This is especially critical if you’re traveling internationally to exhibit. Chose a trade show supplier with a network large enough to cover you with full service everywhere you need to exhibit.