Weekly Insights: How to Know When It’s Time for a New Display

Photo: FreeImages.com/edmondo dantes

Photo: FreeImages.com/edmondo dantes

Let’s face it – we all tend to resist change to some degree. Whether it’s getting stuck on wardrobe or hairstyle choices (lose the mullet!), or always driving to work the exact same way, we each have tunnel vision when it comes to certain things. And that likely includes your booth display … when did you last update it? If your answer involves a date from a previous decade (or even worse, last century), that’s definitely too long.

One of the most frequent excuses for not updating is lack of budget. But often an update can be as simple as switching out your graphic for a fraction of the cost of an entirely new display. There are also rental options, where you can take a new whole new design for a test run without making a long-term commitment.

So how can you tell if it’s time for an update? Here are five tell-tale clues:

  1. You’re seeing signs of age and battle scars on the display. Packing and unpacking, shipping, and even time spent in storage can all take a toll on exhibit materials. Once the dings and dents (or duct tape) become obvious to not only your staff but also attendees, your company image also has a ding or two in it.
  2. The images in your graphics are definitely outdated, giving the appearance that your company may be as well.
  3. Your display configuration no longer works for your needs and you’re trying to adapt in a way it was never intended. This is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – you simply can’t make a 20-by-30-foot island transform into an inline booth unless it was specifically designed with that type of flexibility.
  4. Your exhibit messaging is no longer working to draw people in. Like with outdated images, this can often be updated by simply replacing the graphic panels or signage.
  5. The technology (or lack of it) in your booth is sending all the wrong messages. This is not to say that you have to include all the latest shiny gadgets, but if all the tech elements are obviously from a previous decade, attendees will assume that you can’t possibly help them.

Once you admit it’s time for a change, don’t delay. Start exploring options and get help before you embarrass yourself any further at a future show!

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.