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It’s been an ongoing argument between fans and critics of The Simpsons, but some are of the opinion that the animated sitcom has lost its way after more than 520 episodes (has it really been that many?). In an undeniably classic episode from the fourth season (Mr Plow), Homer ends up buying a snowplough that he first spots at a trade show, which is depicted as a clichéd idea of such an event- all gaudy displays and bright lights. Homer even inspects a car with a buxom blonde model standing next to it which is being offered as a prize (the car, not the model!), because of course a buxom blonde model is as important to a car as tires and an engine.

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When displaying your products and services at a trade show, it can be immensely difficult to stand out from your competitors, so it’s no wonder that many stall holders attempt to stand out by having a stall with more lights than Las Vegas, and yes, even buxom blonde models. So with all this competition, how exactly can you stand out at a trade show?

Location is Key

Having unique and high quality wares would seem to be the most important aspect of promoting your business at a trade show, but unfortunately it’s not that easy, and it’s certainly not a case of the frequently used quote “If you build it, they will come” from the movie Field of Dreams. Since every stall at a trade show is battling for the attention of the attendees, it’s all about getting people to notice you, and much of that struggle is about positioning. It’s important to register as early as possible, to ensure that you get a good spot. Study the layout of the trade show and try to find a spot that you think would attract significant foot traffic. While the prominent display areas near the entrance might be very expensive and are often quickly snapped up by larger companies, you can perhaps be a little more creative in your selection. Having a booth next the bathrooms might not sound appealing, but it’s a spot that everyone will have to visit once or twice!

The Look of Your Display

Not every company has a need for permanent trade show fixtures such as a display booth, which now often come with video projection and LCD screens. If you only have the occasional need to display at a trade show, you can easily rent these booths for the duration of the event- they have all the bells and whistles, without costing you the earth. It’s a great idea to invest in a trade show banner, since you can reuse it year after year. It can also be possible to pool your resources with a business that compliments your own, without being a direct competitor. Sharing a booth reduces your costs, but it makes a trade show banner even more important, as it ensures that potential attendees are aware that you’re operating a unique, distinctive business, and not simply a division of your “booth mate.”

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