Trade Show Seniority – High School All Over Again

11/30/12 by Bev

No matter which clique you were a part of in high school or what yearbook label you were stuck with, everyone knew that the seniors ruled the school.  Remember that first day of your senior year?  You walked through the doors of your school feeling invincible, knowing this was going to be the best year of your life.

Now, everyone’s high school experience is different, so that senior year may or may not have been all you had hoped.  Disappointingly, too, you found out that the adult workforce (and social circles) has much of the same hierarchical politics.  It seems you cannot escape the reign of seniority.

So it is with the world of exhibiting at trade shows, as well.  If you’re the new kid on the block, you won’t get the prime real estate or the preferential treatment of the show organizers.  Based on point systems and seniority, the more involved and veteran companies associated with the show will get the best location, booths, etc.

When considering trade shows at which to initially begin exhibiting, consider these three important questions.

What is the ROI for me?

If this is just a conference or event that you want to “make an appearance” at and is not expected to produce many results for you, perhaps you should reconsider your investment.  The amount you put into your exhibit at these events may not be what you get out of it.  In these situations, those “seniors” who are invested and have a history at the show or within the organization will be the ones producing maximum ROI.  If you are just there on a whim or because it’s “worth a shot,” you may end up very disappointed in your return on investment.

How can I gain points?

Points are assigned to those exhibitors who have been long-standing members of the association or repeated participants at their events – in other words, those with seniority.  It is not a lost cause if you are a newbie, though, as there are other ways to gain points to up your chances for a decent booth space.  Talk to the organizers about the size of your exhibit.  Oftentimes, the bigger it is, the better your spot.  Also, there are many ways you can earn points by being a food sponsor, a registration sponsor, or other options for supporting the event.

Is this a long-term partnership?

Another important question to ask yourself is if you see yourself wanting to be in it for the long haul.  Granted, there are some events that are a one-time occurrence making this concern irrelevant.  However, for the recurring shows, it is wise to choose an organization that will be the best match for your company to accomplish your exhibiting goals, and stick with it!  Since seniority rules, get your company on a track to establish this for yourself to gain the best spot for your exhibit in the future.

Just like back in high school, there are methods of climbing up to the top of the food chain.  If you need help jumping into the exhibiting scene, talk to one of our experts here at Exhibit Edge.  We’ll happily advise you as to the strategies that will get you ruling the school before you know it!

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