Finding A Trade Show Venue That Works For You

A trade show manager operates on uncertain footing when planning an exhibition – there is the need to attract a dual audience made up of attendees and the exhibitors themselves, making venue selection an absolutely critical part of the planning process. A great band in the wrong concert hall can leave attendees with a bad taste in their mouth regardless of the talent displayed, a principle that can be applied to the trade show circuit. Managers should keep a number of things in mind when making their next event checklist to ensure that an appropriate venue is secured for an exposition.

Scouting a location
There are currently a number of options when scouting a location – websites like Expo Database offer a highly searchable interface where managers can view the size, capacity and pricing options of popular exposition sites. This is a terrific first step in devising a shortlist of places to investigate further, whether that be with a venue directly or by an in-person consultation.

Event Manager Blog, an industry web publication, recommends playing it old school when seeking out the perfect location for an exposition.

“Word of mouth seems to be the channel we rely on when looking for a venue or advice on selecting a venue,” writer Julius Solaris affirmed.

The blog indicated that trade show managers tend to put equal weight on Web research and the opinions of their peers in the expo community when making the critical decision, so splitting one’s attention between both is a fairly reliable way to go about narrowing down a list of venues to best serve your mission.

Making a location work for your budget
An important note for those working at trade shows is the awareness that a chosen venue may become a long-term home for the expo. A recent report from Expo for Event Innovators revealed that a trade show manager will rarely benefit from changing a venue that both exhibitors and attendees are used to.

“After analyzing an event’s demographics and identifying a city that will suit a show’s constituents, narrowing down and shopping for a convention center or venue is the next important step show organizers must undergo,” the news provider continued.

Analyzing the demographic of potential attendees is a critical part of finding an exposition’s ideal location – what are your potential attendees interested in that may be offered in the area? Are there any competing expositions that take place in the same region? What are other event solutions or advantages that this location specifically 2da5d580-5236-41a9-a77f-d0681b12c851offers? Especially at the trade show, the customer is always right, and for managers, everyone is the customer.

Once a venue has been chosen, an organizer must make it work with their budget – in terms of importance, right below a venue decision on an event checklist should be food accommodations, and attendee and exhibitor travel and lodging arrangements. In a way, a location is simply a first gateway decision to the myriad factors that lie ahead in the planning of an expo, but it’s a critical element.

Not All Trade Show Crowds Are Created Equal

Did your mother ever tell you that you need to hang out with the right crowd, and more importantly, you need to avoid hanging out with the wrong crowd? Not only was your mother right, but her sound advice applies to trade show exhibiting as well … there is the right crowd, and there is the wrong crowd. Not all trade show crowds are created equal!

One of the biggest mistakes trade show exhibiting novices can make is thinking “the more the merrier” and believing that the key to having a successful trade show booth is just attracting the biggest crowd you possibly can in your booth.

Unfortunately, the biggest crowd is seldom the right crowd. The attendees you should want to attract are potential prospects, that is, people you can convert to leads or, even better, sales.

However, if an attendee has absolutely no need for your business, all they will do is take up your booth space and time, and potentially get in the way of real potential prospects stopping at your booth and talking to you.

Target the Right Crowd:

To target the right crowd with your trade show booth, you have to know why you’re exhibiting at a show and what your goal is, and most importantly, who your prospect is. As an overly simplified example, if you’re selling dog food, your prospects are likely people who have a dog, and not people who have fish, or no pets at all.

Once you determine why you’re exhibiting, what your goal is, and who your prospect is, you need to develop a brief marketing message that clearly states what you offering to your prospects.

Pre-Show Promotion:

Your pre-show outreach (via attendee email lists and social media, for example) needs to clearly state who should visit your booth and why). Don’t just say “stop by our booth”, tell attendees why they should stop at your booth, and be honest. Don’t make promises (or imply promises) that you can’t fulfill.

Your mindset should be that you only want to attract attendees who are prospects. Not only can vague or generalized marketing messages attract non-prospects, they can also miss attracting real prospects who instead allocate their limited time at the show to exhibitors who make it clear what the exhibitor can do for the attendee.

At The Show:

Your trade show display is critical for bringing in the right crowd. Your display graphics must have a clear message on them telling people what your company can do and for whom. If your trade show display doesn’t do this then your staff may resort to becoming trade show barkers, which is seldom a good thing.

Your trade show display graphics need to make your booth stand out from the other booths, but even more important, your display graphics need to entice potential prospects, and not draw in people who aren’t prospects.

If the biggest words on your display are the vague tagline “Imagine what we can do” (and believe it or not, this trade show booth graphic tagline is a real example), most people more than likely will be scratching their heads as to what your company does, while busy potential prospects just pass by and the wrong crowd with time to kill stops to ask what the heck you do. Don’t be vague with your display graphics. Be clear with what benefit you offer and to whom.

Trade Show Contests and Entertainment:

Contests, giveaways, and entertainment are very popular on the trade show circuit, but they are a quick and easy way to flood your booth with the wrong crowd. If you have raffle to give away a new 80” flat screen TV, will you only draw potential prospects, or will you pull in everybody and their cousin? If you have Kate Upton signing autographs in your booth, who do you really expect to show up?

If you are going to have a contest, make sure it doesn’t clog your booth space with people just looking for a freebie. If you have a contest, it needs to be geared towards potential prospects, and it needs to be brief and limited so your trade show staff has time to talk with prospects and generate leads or sales.

In summary:

Think through your trade show booth promotion tactics, and be skeptical of them. Always ask yourself, who will this promotional tactic bring to my booth? Will it bring a real potential prospect, or will it just bring somebody who will get in the way and keep me from attracting and talking to potential prospects.

Nobody like an empty booth, but it’s generally better to have no crowd than the wrong crowd. With proper trade show planning and a clear marketing message and trade show goal, you should be able to draw the right crowd and let the wrong crowd go somewhere else.

May 25, 2014

Steve Peterson

Steve Peterson is the marketing director atPinnacle Displays,  a trade show display
company that specializes in portable displays for new and smaller trade
show exhibitors.

Proud to be a Super Connect Partner with The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

10295753_10152542817410769_3628720762341393961_n arizona-sbhcProud to be a Super Connect Partner with The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces the

“Super Bowl XLIX Business Connect Program”
Presented by CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company and Freeport-McMoRan
SCOTTSDALE – The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announced their first community program today titled “Business Connect”. The Business Connect Program, presented by CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company and Freeport-McMoRan, will inform and engage Arizona-based small businesses on procurement opportunities associated with Super Bowl XLIX.
Business Connect, an NFL Program executed by the Host Committee, is in its 16th year and provides an opportunity for local businesses looking to support and capitalize on the upcoming game. Small businesses that participate will be included in the Business Connect Resource Guide, a database of available services that the NFL and their affiliates use for Super Bowl related events and activities. The services needed include everything from catering, security and transportation to audio visual services and many more.
About the Business Connect Program
Businesses interested in participating in the program must first apply for SBC (Small Business Concern) Registration, and meet the Small Business Administration size standards for their particular industry. Then they complete a simple application process available in both English and Spanish on the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee website at
Business Connect will feature two workshops designed to help participating businesses expand their networks, enhance skills and build resources. These workshops will give participants a better understanding of the Super Bowl procurement process and will feature NFL & Host Committee executives, and other notable speakers from Arizona. Registration for the first workshop, scheduled for February 27th at University of Phoenix Stadium, is open on the Host Committee website.


“Most apps don’t have customer service integration. We want any company to play like Amazon does.”


BY ERNIE SMITH / APR 25, 2014(via ZDNet)

The company’s customer service platform, Service Cloud, is about to unleash an SOS button into the world of mobile apps—and that button could help your association get some face time with a member in distress.

The future of customer service is just a button-press away.

That’s the promise of a new tech offering from Salesforce called Service SOS. The company’s Salesforce Service Cloud already offers a strategy for giving users access to help when they need it. But Service SOS takes things further, allowing users to hit a button within an app and get a little help from a live person, videoconference-style.

It’s a riff on Amazon’s Mayday service, a proprietary system the retail giant offers to users of its Kindle HDX tablet. But unlike Mayday, Service SOS allows other companies—say, enterprise users—to apply it to their own customer support systems through an API that works on iOS- and Android-based devices.

Your support demands probably should be at a certain scale or pricing level before you jump in with both feet.

The system, which works through both 3G and 4G wireless networks, allows for customer service to annotate or highlight something that’s happening on a screen—but only within the app where the service is provided.

“It’s really the Mayday experience brought to market for any company,” Service Cloud’s vice president of product management, Larry Robinson, told ZDNet. “Most apps don’t have customer service integration. We want any company to play like Amazon does.”

But before you get hopping onto those webcams to give your members some help, the concept may require some adapting. For one thing, Amazon tends to answer its Mayday calls in 10 seconds or less, which might mean higher staffing needs if you plan to follow suit. As a result, your support demands should probably be at a certain scale or pricing level before you jump in with both feet.

But the Service SOS platform helps with this, allowing the videoconferencing platform to turn on and off on the fly as support is available, and making it easy for organizations to target the service, with data such as call logs made available to staff, according to an IDG News Service report.

Pricing for the Service SOS platform hasn’t been announced yet, but Salesforce’s Service Cloud starts at $65 per user per month.

CEIR STUDY: EDUCATION IS NO. 1 REASON EXECS ATTEND SHOWS Posted on April 21, 2014 by Michael Rondon

More than anything else, your highest-level attendees are at your show to take advantage of educational opportunities, according a recent study on attendee preferences conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. The same goes for attendees at all levels, across every industry—but that’s about the only thing attendees with different job titles seem to agree on.

“Learning” was the most common reason for attending an exhibition, according to 400-plus respondents at the executive, upper, middle and lower management and staff levels. “Shopping” came in at No. 2, with “buying” a distant third.

The study, aimed at improving exhibitor experiences, took a closer look at shopping in particular. Seeing new technology was a near-universal choice as the top shopping reason to attend—as it usually is in similar surveys—but things got muddled across job titles further down the list.

Upper management put a stronger emphasis on novelty—new products and ideas—than executives did, while those at the middle and lower levels tended to focus more on immediacy—having questions answered on the showfloor and finding solutions to current problems.

While each management level has its own priorities, events are doing a better job at catering to high-end attendees. More than 80 percent of the executives surveyed say their needs are being met, compared to just 71 percent of lower-level attendees.

That disparity is understandable, the report notes, but it could potentially be shortsighted as those in lower positions will have more decision-making power later on in their careers.

The report also delved into the reasons why attendees choose to attend a particular show. Reputation of the event and quality of the speakers were cited as top factors across each level surveyed, while e-mails from colleagues, word of mouth and personal invitations from vendor salespeople were universal contributors from an information-gathering standpoint.



If your office meetings have turned into snoozefests, here’s how to bring the creativity back. Also: A celebrity event planner offers her trendsetting, customer-focused tricks of the trade.

The days of mind-numbing, never-ending, unproductive meetings are over.

Fast Company contributor Sam Harrison says stuffing a legion of unenthusiastic employees into a room while attempting to squeeze every ounce of inventiveness out of them is completely counterproductive.

Instead, he suggests keeping discussion groups to a small number of participants, appropriately allocating the amount of time spent during the session, and ensuring all contributors have a thorough understanding of the topic at hand, among other tips.

“Another time-saving tactic is to get folks on their feet. When meetings I facilitate start droning on, I’ll often call for a 10-minute break—just long enough to haul away all chairs. Creative energy goes up and soliloquies go down when everybody stands throughout a meeting.”

BY ALEXIS WILLIAMS / APR 25, 2014(iStock/Thinkstock)

Did SB 1062 kill Phoenix’s bid to host the GOP convention?

A few numbers may explain why the 2016 Republican National Convention is not coming to Phoenix: 120, 55 and 1062.

The Republican National Committee announced yesterday Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio were out of the running for the GOP presidential christening.

There was no reason given for Phoenix’s demise, but there is plenty of speculation.

Some top political consultants in town believe Senate Bill 1062 and the national political controversy that surrounded the religious business owners bill played a role in the GOP’s decision. Gov. Jan Brewervetoed SB 1062 after outcries from LGBT groups and businesses worried about losing the Super Bowl and other big events such as conventions.

But some think the damage was done well before the veto. Why would the GOP risk controversy in Arizona when they could land the convention in another market.

“SB 1062 – plain and simple,” said one top political and business consultant in Phoenix when asked why the convention wasn’t coming to the Valley.

Arizona’s controversies around SB 1062 and SB 1070 immigration measure might hurt Republican brand problems with younger voters and Hispanics. Two groups were key to Barack Obama’s wins in 2008 and 2012.

Others say the scorching Sonoran Desert summers conspired against Phoenix hosting the summer convention.

“Have you been to Phoenix in August?” said another consultant familiar with the regional bid for the convention.

In case you didn’t know it gets a little warm here. The average high temperature for Phoenix in the summer is 105, degrees with records hitting around 120 degrees.

But Las Vegas (which is just as hot as Phoenix) is still in the mix for the convention along with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City and Dallas.

That brings us to the last number: 55, as in $55 million. The GOP wants a host city to raise $55 million to host the convention. By comparison, the $9 billion National Football Leaguewants the Valley to raise $30 million to host the Super Bowl.

An official familiar with the situation said the Phoenix bid effort was confident it could raise the $55 million for a convention with an estimated $400 million impact, but other cities may have given site selectors more confidence.

Mike Sunnucks writes about politics, law, airlines, sports business and the economy.

Senior Reporter-Phoenix Business Journal
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Women’s Black White Sweater – Rounded Neck

This (black and white sweater) is designed to be warm. It is also made to fit snugly against the woman’s body in order to accent her posture. The natural scoop in the sweater’s neckline provides an appropriate place to add a matching necklace. A simple strand of pearls or gold chain would add a classic elegant look, while larger pieces give the sweater a more bold look. The classic color scheme makes the shirt easy to pair with a variety of clothing options. With a pair of dress slacks and minimal jewelry, this sweater is appropriate for any woman’s professional wardrobe. On the other hand, a pair of jeans and relaxing shoes make this soft shirt ideal for a relaxing day at home or running errands. By accenting the sweater with matching jewelry and an equally well-fitting skirt, the owner has transformed the material into perfect club attire. This shirt is designed for women who favor classic colors and elegance over flashier designs. via (dress head)

You have only 6 seconds to get someone engrossed in your trade show booth. We have many great things to infinitely enhance your traffic.

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We are a qualified, full service sign graphics company providing custom signage solutions for all kinds of business and advertising. Over the years, we have fabricated and manufactured cutting-edge one of a kind signage solutions for a diverse group of clients including resorts, golf courses, bars, shopping malls, stores, arena’s, and several others. All our signs are cost-effective, influential marketing tools that promote detailed promotions and product information to your customers.

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Imaginative graphics under your feet will transform your trade show floor, Store, Special Event, Retail Space into highly treasured advertising space. Use these custom graphics to promote in-store events or draw attention to new products. These amazing Decal graphics supplement and support your marketing crusades tenfold. They are low tack non residue and safe, resilient and easily removable. They can be created in any shape or sizes. These amazing decals turn your walls, windows, floors and cars into your very own walking billboard!

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Signage Uses

  • Trade Shows and Meetings
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We are accomplished at manufacturing top quality signs in all categories, styles, shapes, colors, sizes, and finishes. Each sign is finished using a variety of substrates in a huge range of sizes and fonts; simple pictures and borders; and lettering in a selection of colors.

CSI etc. has local and national customers. Signage projects from our company are very eye-catching, easy to read and are very influential to highlight your business logos, business names, and special promotions. Our teams of signage designers are artists, and accomplished professionals who have knowledge in conjoining inspired ideas to appealing design elements. They know how to design and fabricate the finest quality custom commercial signs for any application.


CEIR Index Fourth Quarter 2013 Results Report Significant Improvement of 3.0% Increase for 14 Quarters of Consecutive Growth and Outperforms GDP by 0.3%

In line with our economists’ projection, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces the performance of the exhibition industry significantly improved during the fourth quarter of 2013 with a year-on-year increase of 3.0 percent compared to just 0.4 percent increase in the third quarter of the same year. This is an exciting and promising result considering there was only a 0.7 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2012. This marks the fourteenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth and the highest increase since the first quarter of 2012 which reported 3.2 percent at that time. Additionally, the exhibition industry turned the corner and outperformed the macro economy as real GDP gained 2.7 percent year-on-year during the same period.

“With the fourth quarter’s results and 14 consecutive quarters of growth, and our predictions closely matching outcomes, we are confident in the continued growth and progress of the industry. The exhibition industry has survived and emerged from the Great Recession and we are confident that the upswing will continue,” says CEIR’s economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “Additionally, in line with our expectations as published in the 2012 CEIR Index Report, the Total Index increased by a modest 1.0 percent for 2013 for the year as a whole, just slightly below the 1.1 percent forecasted growth.”

As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space Sold; Professional Attendance; Number of Exhibiting Companies; and Gross Revenue. The strongest metric in the fourth quarter was Professional Attendance, which jumped 5.8 percent year-on-year, the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2007. Exhibitors and Real Revenues rose 3.0 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Net Square Feet was the only metric that suffered a year-on-year decline, dropping by 0.5 percent.

The CEIR Index provides exhibition industry performance across 14 key industry sectors: Business Services; Consumer Goods; Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services; Education; Food; Financial, Legal and Real Estate; Government; Building, Construction, Home and Repair; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; Communications and Information Technology; Medical and Health Care; Raw Materials and Science; Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment; and Transportation.

CEIR President & CEO Brian Casey, CEM, noted, “Performance varied by industry, and the top performing sector was Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs (ID) where the index increased by 6.9 percent. In contrast, the weakest sector was Government (GV), where the index declined. This was not surprising since the industry was negatively affected by government budget cuts impacting trade shows.”

The full 2013 CEIR Index with three-year projection will be released in April. For more information about the CEIR Index, an Analysis of the Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook report or Predict – CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference, contact CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM at or             +1 (972) 687-9219      .

About CEIR
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit

Experience Flexibility Partnership