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March 28, 2017

6 Qualities to Look for in an Exhibit House Partner

Heather Bundgaard, Senior Exhibit Consultant
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If you know me, you know that I come from a marketing background, and I can’t remember a time in my career when I haven’t had a hand in trade shows or events.

Even though I’m currently on the other side of the fence, as a previous marketing director I remember the struggle to balance my workload. Trade shows were important to our bottom line, but I didn’t have the manpower to do-it-all. To be honest, it was important for me to be able to offload as much of these responsibilities as possible, and for my exhibit house to be an extension of my department.

Selecting the right exhibit house to partner with is an important decision to make sure your trade show program runs smoothly. Here are six qualities you should look for in a potential exhibit house:

1. They Take Responsibility

Yes, we are all human and things happen. However, when it does, you need an exhibit house to take responsibility and own the problem. I attended many trade shows with various size booths, and my carpet for the biggest show was only used once a year. When it was rolled out the next year, it looked awful. Apparently, it was not stored properly. So, my exhibit house bought me new carpet and stored it properly for future use. I felt as though I could count on them because they had my back.

2. On-Staff Designers

Many marketing departments have graphic designers on staff. My department did, but we were already overworked. Having the option of getting design help from your exhibit house is huge, so you can reduce your designers’ workload by keeping some projects in-house and giving others to your exhibit house.

3. Lead Generation Assistance

Timely marketing initiatives for trade shows is imperative, but many marketers are already doing so much that it’s nearly impossible to squeeze in pre-show mailers, post-show emails, calls, brochure follow-ups, etc. To fit in those projects, sometimes other tasks need to be pushed aside. So, you can imagine how happy I was to be able to push those projects off to my exhibit house. We were able to save a ton of time and focus on our other projects, while engaging with our trade show prospects.

4. They are Innovative

Marketing directors are like circus clowns, constantly trying to keep all the balls in the air. They are so focused on all the moving parts, that it is difficult to also keep one eye on innovation and forward thinking. It’s important that an exhibit house continuously be up-to-date on industry trends and bring creative solutions to the table. You want your brand to be relevant and appealing for many years to come with the ability to change and easily update to grow with technology.

5. They Fit Your Personality

Let’s face it, working with someone you like is important. You want to be comfortable calling someone after hours or on the weekend, and be welcomed with a smile and willingness to help. A jovial sense of humor helps make the work day less stressful too! Trade shows are not Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. So, knowing you can count on your exhibit house to be there for you any time makes the trade show world so much easier.

6. A Worldwide Presence

If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrase “this never happens” while standing on the show floor, I’d be a rich woman. Coming up with an immediate “Plan B” for a sheer graphic that a fork lift just went through or a last-minute idea to add more branding is a true talent. Having printers and hardware options at various locations across the United States and other countries is key. If you have an issue in Hawaii, chances are the office on the East Coast is either closed or just about to be. An exhibit house with a worldwide presence and vendor network to provide last-minute assistance to get things fixed is easier and a big safety net for marketers.

I’m happy to say, my marketing department was extremely talented and successful. Although, having the help from my exhibit house was an enormous relief. I’d venture to guess that you also have difficulties juggling everything you do, and want to do, in your marketing department. Be sure to lean on your exhibit house for as much as possible so you can focus your time and efforts on projects best left in-house. I guarantee you will be happy you did.

Are you tired of surprise costs after exhibiting at a trade show? TradeTec is the only exhibit partner to guarantee your estimate is your invoice. Click here to learn about our No Post Show Billing promise, if only for your peace of mind.

Heather Bundgaard, Senior Exhibit Consultant
htb@ttskyline.com | 630-376-1538
Heather’s marketing career started more than 22 years ago, ranging from marketing coordinator to marketing director, with a focus on trade show planning and execution. Her current role as a senior exhibit consultant allows Heather to work with various companies and industries on their trade show needs from design to implementation and asset management. Heather strives to provide the best customer experience, relieving her clients of stress, problems, and wasted time and money.

About TradeTec:

Founded in 1999, TradeTec Skyline produces innovative trade show exhibits with unmatched customer service and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING for clients. As a Skyline Elite Partner, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Located just west of Chicago, TradeTec has served over 6,000 clients and completed over 35,000 projects worldwide. They currently manage over 3,500 events each year. Learn more at ttchicago.com.