In many companies the people responsible for buying the exhibit also use their exhibit when their company goes to a trade show or exhibition.  But in a large number of instances, the people who use the exhibit are a very different group than those who oversee the design and production of the exhibit.  What happens when the goals of the buyers don’t meet up with the goals and needs of the users?  In all likelihood the investment in the show will not see its potential return fulfilled.

Let’s see how the goals of the two groups might diverge, starting with the buyers.  When it comes to acquiring new exhibit properties, the responsibility falls onto marketers, sales people and increasingly other functional areas of the company.  These other areas may be purchasing or procurement staff with little or no familiarity with exhibit marketing.

The main drivers for the decision-making process may vary widely from building brand to achieving the lowest cost per square metre – and everything in between.  Typically the main factors are:

  • Creating marketing impact
  • Cost savings in production
  • Low operating costs

Major concerns from those who work the trade show floor tend to centre around meeting their objectives for the show:

  • Stimulating visitor traffic with targeted appeal
  • Creating effective workspace
  • Easing problems associated with installation and dismantling

A key element of the solution to this misalignment of goals is communication.  There are questions that can open up topics and provide answers that close that gap.  Outlined below are some essential questions and discussion points that need to be shared by each group:

What Buyers Should Ask…..

  • What is the exhibit trying to accomplish?
  • Do the objectives vary from show to show?
  • Does the work environment created in the booth support the reasons for exhibiting at the show?
  • Who are the booth staff, and what is their role in setting up and tearing down the exhibit?

What Exhibit Users should share….

  • How can we change the appeal of the exhibit to more closely match the interests of our target segment at each show?
  • Do you know how we spend a typical day in the exhibit?
  • Can we get the most out of our design without bankrupting our I&D budget?
  • In smaller shows can we have a sharp looking booth that I can set up easily in a short time?

Have you got more ideas on how best to close the gap between those that buy your exhibit and those that man the booth. We would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

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