I’ve been immersed in the world of trade shows for more than two decades, and it’s part of who I am. I live and breathe trade shows every day, and I’ve spent my career as an Account Executive learning and building relationships while delivering many, many successful projects. But what really makes a successful trade show delivery? To me, it’s all about relationships and trust.
Trade shows are complex, and come with high stakes. Companies that exhibit put forth a significant investment of time, money, and manpower – and I don’t take that investment lightly. I personally value the trust my clients put in me, and my team, to manage their trade show program. So, I would like to share some thoughts on what makes a great trade show partnership.
Often, people choose an exhibit company based on a booth design. It’s a VERY important part of the investment. The presentation of your brand, the functionality, and the versatility of an exhibit hit many of the key requirements that exhibiting companies need to consider. But I also challenge you to think about what happens AFTER the design phase?
Choosing a well-designed and well-functioning exhibit is only the first of many steps in forging a successful partnership with your exhibit company. Do you know WHO is going to manage your project? WHO is your main point of contact for EVERYTHING? What is their background and level of experience? You need to be able to trust them and communicate effectively with them. Asking these questions up front could help ensure you are setting your program up for success and that your exhibit company is in tune with your expectations (and can meet them.)
Your exhibit Account Executive should really play the role of a strategic partner, understanding your goals and providing ideas that help maximize your trade show results. And yes, when something unexpected happens on the show floor, they are your immediate go-to. They fix, they find, they take responsibility. They are your advocate, and they have a highly effective support team to get it all done for YOU. As an Account Executive my goal is to be a one-stop resource for my clients. They call me for anything and everything, and I’m okay with that! It shows that they trust me and they know I’m accessible.
So, back to the original question, who’s running the show? You are calling the shots, and this is YOUR trade show. But, you need to be in the starring role, not the Director’s chair. Your Account Executive and project team should be “running the show” to your expectations. They make it all happen behind the scenes so you can perform to your full potential. If you can trust them and empower them to effectively manage your program, with a strong (and fun) working relationship, that makes it a GREAT show every time.