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Using Trade Show Displays

Competition with your trade show displays

Date Added: December 14, 2012 10:16:09 AM
Author: Miguel Torres
Category: Business: Business Services: Event Planning and Production: Convention and Trade Show Services

    It would be easy to sum up how to beat out your trade show competition by saying “just watch what they do and do it better.” The truth is that there are more variables than you’d think, all requiring equal attention, to ensure your trade show booth runs silky smooth before, during and after the event.

    With so many details already on your mind, where should you focus? Start with a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is designed for checking out your place in the market and how you stack up against competitors. Who says their use has to limited to the boardroom or an annual report? Ask yourself the following questions, for yourself and your competitors.


  • Where in the market are you/they (i.e. industry leader, newcomer, alternative/substitute product, best quality or customer service, etc.)?
  • Who is the target customer? Do company policies/ethics match or contrast that market?
  • What marketing tactics are currently being (and historically been) used?


  • What product /line is most (and least) successful? Why?
  • Are logistics lining up (i.e. items shipped on time) and distribution channels effective?
  • Are suppliers running strong in the industry, or falling short?


  • What is the pricing strategy and are there cost discrepancies? Are you/they providing the best value, best quality or somewhere in between?
  • How much is reinvested into the company to sustain growth (a general indicator of future successes)?


  • When was the last time something new introduction or update?
  • Are current products positioned for recurring improvement or ‘sticking to the classics’?


  • Is the customer base satisfied overall? If not, what‘s the biggest complaint/concern?
  • Is there a market segment being ignored?
  • Are industry changes translating to changes for them? If so, how?


  • Which departments are highest (and lowest) performing? Why?
  • Are employees sufficiently motivated and given incentive to succeed? Is the work environment conducive to success?

    Look at your answers and determine how they translate into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for your company. Work your analysis into your trade show strategy and voila! It may sound like a lot of extra planning but you’ll thank yourself for it when yours becomes the most memorable of the trade show displays at the event.

    Even the best-made strategy cannot stand alone; it must be effectively put to use or it will fail miserably. You’ve got to set the stage for a successful show, ensuring the design and the flow of your presentation, as well as the best possible placement on the event floor. You’ve also got to be vigilant with your pre-marketing, using a multi-channel approach that covers everything from company newsletters to social media, to ensure high level attendance.

    On the day of the trade event, you must pull double duty by keeping an eye on the competition as you perform at your best. Are they engaging visitors effectively and professionally or is there a disconnect to take advantage of? Are they doing something you’re not (and can you leverage it)?

    Knowing what they’re doing is key, but more important is knowing what you’re doing is being done right. Is your staff communicating effectively and representing your brand in a professional and engaging manner? You’ve got to mix up the experience for visitors, offering a variety of marketing tactics and memorable moments, such as key speakers and amazing contests or giveaways.

    You want an easy summary? It’s this: know your competition well, plan everything in advance (cover for possible surprises or hitches!), perform at your peak and leave visitors with something special to remember about your brand!

    About Skyline Chicago

    Skyline Chicagois part of the global Skyline Exhibits network that includes more than 1,500 employees worldwide. Skyline Chicagois a leading provider of custom Chicago trade show displays and portable Chicago trade show booth. Founded in 1980, Skyline Exhibits is the source for unforgettable face-to-face marketing experiences. The company holds more than 100 patents and has been repeatedly recognized for its creativity, innovation and performance.

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