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    Exhibitions: Common Mistakes That Exhibitors Make

    “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes” - Oscar Wilde

    Not a single individual on the face of this planet was born with a mastered skill, perhaps a talent yes, but not a skill. According to the BusinessDictionary.com, a skill is an ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carry out complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills). Exhibiting IS a skill…and an Art.

    The art of exhibiting, like most activities in the marketing realm, requires the implementation of cognitive, technical, and interpersonal skills; of which can only be better understood and perfected through repetition. Marketing professionals, when first tasked with the organisation of an exhibition activity, often don’t get it right the first time. When you make mistakes, you learn. And this is what we ALL regard as experience.

    Herewith are a few common exhibition mistakes that exhibitors tend to make:

    1. Just displaying your Logo and Tagline on your exhibition stand isn’t a branding strategy

    Branding is more than just about the company name; it's about how you think, how you solve problems, and how you interact with your customers. The overall experience customers have on your exhibition stand is as much about brand recognition as the logo itself.

    2. Putting only your company name up on your exhibition stand isn't an engagement strategy

    You often see companies with just a backdrop with their company name (no theme, no "we do this", nothing.) The message you communicate on your exhibition stand needs to do something to engage - tell the attendees something you do, come up with a theme, something. You have a little over 2 seconds to engage the attendee and grab their attention to ensure that they do not walk past your exhibition stand.

    3. Having a boring slide presentation on your exhibition stand isn't a demand generation strategy

    Appointing one of your exhibition stand representatives to stand in front of a crowd, literally reading off a PowerPoint presentation is not going to win you a single second glance. You need to ensure that your presentation is memorable - these attendees are potentially going to see something like 50+ presentations while at the exhibition. This means that your presentation and presenter need to be impactful, energetic and effective at conveying your message quickly.


    4. Getting lots of scans on your exhibition stand isn’t a lead generation strategy

    Through the show organisers, exhibitors usually book scanners that they use to scan the barcodes of attendees who visit their exhibition stands, which then translates into valuable information about the individual, such as: name, company name, position, email address, and contact number.

    The number of scans you collect on your exhibition stand does not necessarily determine success if you only used gimmicks and giveaways that have nothing to do with your entity to attract a crowd. There needs to be a lead generation strategy in place that will ensure that the scans you collect actually mean something. There is no harm in having 2 people on your exhibition stand at a time if it means that these individuals have shown a genuine interest in your brand and service offerings.

    5. Not monitoring progress during the exhibition show

    Tradeshows and exhibitions usually stretch for 2 – 5 days, or more at times, and such timelines grant each exhibitor the opportunity to tailor their exhibition marketing strategy when needed. It is important that each exhibitor consistently remembers the purpose of their participation in the tradeshow or exhibition: to meet pre-determined marketing objectives. If the strategy after Day #1 is lacking in any manner, re-visit the drawing board, spice it up, and re-brief your exhibition stand staff the next day. It is as simple as pie.

    With the common exhibition mistakes discussed above, marketing professionals can at least try avoid a few humps and bumps in the journey of perfecting exhibiting as a skill, and as an art.

    SSQ Exhibitions is a design and project management agency that is dedicated to creating targeted brand experiences, especially customised for YOU! If you would like to contact the SSQuad to discuss your exhibition stand requirements or for any other project, you are more than welcome to contact us on: 011 792 1241 or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Information retrieved from the following source:

    - “5 Strategy Mistakes Exhibitors Make at a Trade Show” – by Nick Cavalencia



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    EXSA enables connections through the networking and communication of our Forums and via our website (www.exsa.co.za).

    Besides providing EXSA’s directory of members, an exhibitions calendar and news feed, the EXSA website also offers a wealth of knowledge and industry guidelines available to its members.


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