Tips for Attending Your First Trade Show

Tips for Attending Your First Trade Show

Trade shows are full of opportunities. They bring so many potential clients, business partners and investors together in one space. They’re great for growing awareness of your brand, gaining insight from customers, promoting your products and services and getting leads. They pay off, too. U.S. companies earned $12.81 billion from trade shows in 2016.

And all you have to do is show up, set up a booth and let the money roll in, right?

The truth is, how you approach a trade show has a massive impact on how much you get out of it. With so much going at these events, though, getting it right can feel overwhelming — especially if it’s your first show.

With the right trade show tips to help you prepare, you can attend the event with confidence. Here’s what to do if you’re going to your first trade show.

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How to Attract Customers at a Trade Show

If you’re like most trade show exhibitors, you are always looking for ways to improve booth traffic and generate more interest in your products or services. While creating an eye-catching display is an excellent start, you can do more to draw attendees in and hold their attention. Use the following ideas to attract visitors to your booth:

1. Inform Trade Publications of Your Show Attendance in Advance

Trade journals and publications can provide an effective platform for publicizing your presence at an upcoming show, enabling attendees to plan to stop by your booth. Sending a press release or contacting an editor to pitch a new product can lead to an article where you can mention your promotional plans.

2. Hold a Contest

Everybody likes to win something. A trade show exhibition is a perfect venue for a game, quiz or contest that engages visitors and makes them want to spend more time at your booth. Of course, you will want to offer prizes as a way to entice attendees to stop and play.

3. Offer Better “Swag” Than Your Competitors

Most trade show attendees expect to accumulate a sizeable collection of giveaways. While pens, mugs and T-shirts are the preferred option for many exhibitors, veteran trade show attendees may view them as uninspiring.

You can stand out from the crowd by offering more imaginative giveaway items such as laptop skins, headphones or novelty gifts emblazoned with your logo or marketing message. The word will spread quickly among the attendees that your booth is the place to visit for the best swag!

4. Be a “Politely Aggressive Host”

Most exhibitors sit back and wait for attendees to stop by their booth. Taking a more proactive approach can generate additional visitors and make them feel like invited guests. Use a friendly costumed character to greet passersby and escort them to your exhibit. The character can also roam the floor and hand out product samples or giveaways, too.

Pedestal Source can offer additional ideas that can boost trade show traffic and maximize your return on investment. Contact us to learn more today.

How to Design an Impressive Trade Show Booth

Are you a regular trade show participant or attendee? Does it seem like there are always one or two displays that attract more attention than the rest?

Knowing how to set up a trade show booth that stands out from the crowd can make a significant difference in your show results. The following trade show booth design tips can help you create that “wow” factor that will make a memorable impression on visitors and help you achieve your marketing objectives:

1. Create a “One-Of-A-Kind” Booth

The best trade show booth designs are the ones that exude creativity. Gather the most imaginative people in your organization and brainstorm for unique trade show booth ideas that will set you apart from your competitors.

2. Integrate Bright Colors

A bland trade show booth that is devoid of color will fade into the background and probably won’t get a second glance. Using bold colors is an excellent way to attract attention on a crowded exhibit floor.

3. Make Your Display Interactive

Trade shows provide an opportunity for attendees to get a break from the daily routine and have some fun. Using tools such as monitors where visitors can play interactive games related to your product or staging product demonstrations can attract more people to your booth and hold their attention longer.

4. Incorporate Brand Messaging

If yours is a startup company, most visitors probably won’t know who you are and what you do. Trade show exhibits provide a golden opportunity to get the message out by prominently displaying your brand, logo or marketing slogan all over your booth. Giveaways also enable you to deliver your branding message — and allow attendees to take something with them.

5. Use Tradeshow Display Stands to Highlight Your Products

The effective use of attractive stands, pedestals and tables can draw more attention to the products you wish to feature at the show and help you project the desired image.

Pedestal Source is your headquarters for beautiful, well-constructed trade show stands that can help your products get noticed. Contact us for more information and to receive additional trade show booth design tips that will improve the results at your next exhibition.

Interactive Museum Exhibits

Interactive Museum Exhibits

More than 850 million people visit museums in the United States every year. Museums cover a diverse range of exhibits, including art, natural history, science and technology. People keep coming back to museums because they are a trusted source of information and valuable touchstone for the growth and accomplishments of human society. In 2016, 7.4 million people visited the Louvre in Paris, and another 7.01 walked the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Museums like this draw millions of visitors because of their amazing collections, and because they continually strive to connect with the people who keep their doors open.

Interactive Museum Exhibits

Museums are increasingly becoming aware of how digital technology is revolutionizing our daily lives. People have limitless information at their fingertips at all times. They can watch a video of the latest dinosaur fossil being unearthed. They can tweet at a professional who restores priceless works of art. They can go to Google Earth to virtually walk anywhere in the world. Those capabilities do not take away from the joy and value of seeing ancient artifacts and modern technology in person at a museum, but it does leave people wanting more than a “look-and-see” experience. People want to engage with the information museums have to offer, which is why interactive museum technology is becoming invaluable.

Here is a comprehensive look at the technology that goes into creating interactive exhibits, how the design process works and what role digital technology has to play in the future of museums.

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Why Trade Show Exhibits Are Important for Your Business

Creating the most attractive, practical, technologically advanced or innovative product won’t mean a whole lot if no one knows about it. Getting the product in front of the people who are most likely to purchase it is an essential component of a well-crafted marketing strategy.

Trade show marketing is a powerful promotional tool that brings buyers and sellers who share a common interest together in one location. Knowing how trade shows work can have a positive impact on your business in so many ways.

What Are Trade Show Exhibitions?

A trade show is a gathering of company representatives in a specific industry for promotional purposes. Usually held in large exhibit halls or similar facilities, the typical trade show setup consists of rows of individual booths.

Each company uses its allotted booth space to create an eye-catching display to attract visitors, giving the representatives the opportunity to pitch their product or service and generate interest. Exhibitors can demonstrate their products if applicable and hand out free samples or promotional giveaways.

Understanding the Importance of Trade Shows

Attending trade shows and understanding their importance can provide numerous benefits for your company:

  • Access to your target market: Because trade shows are industry-specific, they offer the perfect opportunity to reach the people who are most likely to purchase your product or service — trade shows often provide the biggest bang for your marketing buck.
  • Networking: Trade shows enable you to meet and interact with customers and “players” in your industry, which can set the stage for future business opportunities.
  • Promoting your brand: The trade show forum can help you generate brand awareness and trust, which is especially important if your company is a startup venture.

Trade Show Marketing Tips

Tips to help you maximize your trade show results include:

  • Consider paying extra to get a prime booth location that will heighten your visibility.
  • Make your display as interactive as possible.
  • Staff your booth with friendly, sales-oriented people who have a thorough understanding of your products and company.
  • Use samples, giveaways, contests, demonstrations and the like to capture and hold visitors’ attention.
  • Gather contact information and follow up after the show.

Contact Pedestal Source to learn more about trade shows and how they can help you reach your business goals.

Modern vs. Contemporary Design

Modern vs. Contemporary Design

A lot of people use modern and contemporary interchangeably to describe a design style. Although there are plenty of similarities between the two, modern is not the same as contemporary.

So, what exactly sets modern and contemporary design apart? In this piece, we will look at the differences between modern and contemporary design as well as the similarities. We will also explore ways you can create a contemporary or modern look in your home. Continue reading “Modern vs. Contemporary Design”

How to Display Art Like a Pro

When it comes to art, there’s usually no right answer. When it comes to displaying art, however, there are some tried and true principles that can mean the difference between showing off a sculpture and showing off your ignorance of sculpture.

A few posts ago, we shared some tools for designing a pedestal for your piece at home. We decided to zoom out a little further and talk to the experts—curators and exhibit designers from some of our favorite galleries and museums—to find out more about displaying art at a pro level.

Whether you’re curating an art gallery or just looking to up your game when it comes to interior design, give this a read first.

Ask yourself, what story do I want to tell?

Lisa Hatchadoorian, executive director of the Fort Collins Museum of Art, explained that before designing a new exhibit, she considers how works of art interact and what story they will create in relation to one another and across the museum. To help foster this vision, she asks herself, “What story am I creating with the artwork? What do I want to say with this particular grouping of work and in what order do I want to say it?”

Lighting is crucial.

According to Hatchadoorian, in purely art exhibitions (as opposed to history or interactive exhibition) you want to use lighting to highlight the artwork to its fullest without calling attention to the lighting itself. The lighting has to be subtle and unassuming and vibrant, all at the same time. You have to make sure everything is smooth, no dark spots or hot spots on the work or the walls, no reflections, no halos, nothing that can distract from the work.

Consult the artist.

Often times the artist knows how their piece is best displayed and may have thoughts (or in some cases, requirements) for how best to display their artwork. They’ve spent more time than anyone looking at their piece and should be considered the expert when it comes to making big decisions about how it should look. Sage Sommer, the exhibition manager and registrar for SITE Sante Fe, always starts by collaborating with the artist and/or lender to come up with an art display solution that both fits the space and stays true to the vision of the artist.

Keep it clean.

If you don’t maintain your art display furniture and gallery, it can set the tone for the art itself. According to Sommer, a dirty, worn out or otherwise unkempt pedestal detracts from the piece it holds and can be very distracting for the viewer.

When possible, stay uniform.

When you have multiple pieces to display, it’s best to have a standard pedestal option that you try and stick to whenever possible. Dave Kerber of Taglialatella Galleries said that they use a uniform size and color (white) to keep the bases from standing out or becoming a distraction from the art itself.

Be practical.

Before ordering 18 new art display pedestals for a new exhibit or collection, know and understand the practical limitations of your space. Kerber said that at Taglialatella, their standard pedestals are all collapsible so that they can be easily stored in their limited space when not in use.

Size is important.

At the end of the day, it’s all about feel and the proper height and footprint are crucial. Too large a pedestal and the artwork will disappear, too small and safety becomes an issue. Generally speaking, you want a footprint at least 1.5″ larger than the base of the artwork itself, though this gets complicated when adding a turntable or lighting.

We’ve consulted on tens of thousands of art displays over the past decade, so give us a call. We can’t wait to talk about your art display!

Hatchadoorian summed up the advice in one simple sentence: Let the art do the talking, and get out of the way.

Free design consultation!   M-F 8am-5pm MST


5 Great Uses for a Modern Cube Table

Designers agree: in the world of furniture, the cube is both an eye-catching yet pleasantly familiar shape, and has the additional super power of saving space—one of the many reasons it is a favorite among Japanese designers, who often work within the confines of dense, urban environments.

Our cube tables are useful in both residential and commercial spaces as functional furniture with a growing variety of uses. We’ve collected a few of our favorites to inspire you for whatever your decor project may entail.

Shape-shifting coffee tables. Rather than one large, immovable table, putting a few of these smaller cube tables together creates a dynamic space that can easily be manipulated for different activities and functions. Push them together for a board game, pull one aside for the perfect mug stand or scoot one closer to the couch as a footrest.

Sculpture display stand. Elevate your favorite piece or vary the height of your collection to add interest and depth to any display.


Plant stand. Bring the outdoors inside this winter with a cube table plant stand—try using one to create a more stunning feature with a taller plant, or as a coffee or side table stand for your succulent collection.

Side table. The perfect size to sit in that corner between your sofas, next to the chairs in the waiting area or beside your bed.

Lamp stand. Lighting is everything. Don’t let an inconvenient space keep you from getting the light right.

Our cube tables come in every finish and are fully-customizable. Order today to get yours in time for the holidays.

The 9 keys to event planning success

Advice from the experts for your next event

Whether planning a fundraiser, office Christmas party, networking event or wedding, there are some tried and true methods for ensuring your guests leave happy, and you leave having met your goals. We spoke with 5 event experts about their keys to event success—you may be surprised at what they had to say.

Define a clear call to action and measure your success. Do you want your guests to donate? Join the organization? Host an event themselves? Engage in some other way? Define what would make your event successful and come up with a way to measure it. Madisen Golden,  Resource Development Manager for United Way Larimer County, suggested comparing the number of attendees to the number of attendees that converted.

Know your audience. According to Mary Douglas, partner at Corinthian Events in Boston, understanding your ideal attendee influences all other planning. For instance, if you’re inviting world-traveling luxury foodies, skimping on the refreshments may not be a good idea. If you’re hosting a networking event, you don’t want the hired entertainment to be so loud or distracting that people can’t easily mingle. Know who’s coming and plan the event accordingly.

Do your event research. Mary said that understanding the history of the event can help you avoid previous pitfalls and/or prevent new ones. Talk to people who attended in previous years and find out what worked and what didn’t. Was the location too cramped? Did people leave early because it was just too long? Change what didn’t work and stick to what did.

Organize a killer team. Between your speakers, venue, food, marketing, etc., no single person can do it all (at least not well). According to Wild Apricot, the most successful events have a single event manager as well as a team of individual chairpersons to head up each subcommittee.

Just like mom’s house, everything revolves around the kitchen. Food and beverage have the power to make or break an event, according to Lindsey Dienstbach, owner of Bello and Blue Events. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but should be well thought out. Lindsey recommends having a variety and taking into consideration how people access it to avoid bottlenecking or long lines forming.

Don’t forget decor. You don’t have to break the bank to make a space look festive, match a theme or evoke a feeling. We’ve worked with hundreds of event planners on a range of budgets to come up with the perfect event display, event furniture, flower stands and bars to set the stage for event success.

Don’t be ready on time. Be ready early. Regardless of start time, there will be attendees that arrive early. It’s just a fact of life. With that in mind, Madisen recommends having everything ready 45 minutes ahead of time so you can be relaxed and poised for the publish when the early birds start to show.

The old adage is actually true this time: Communication is key. Every event planner we spoke with for this article agreed that this should be happening before, during and even after the event. The more engaged, directed and informed your audience feels, the more likely they are to have a positive experience which will translate to positive feelings towards your business or organization. Consider starting a Twitter feed, Facebook page or other social channel for disseminating all relevant information to guests.

Answer the question “What’s next?” Your audience may be moved, inspired, excited or energized after your event—make sure you put the momentum to good use by letting them know what they can expect next, whether that be a future event or a way to keep the conversation going online.

How the 14th Airlift Squadron Improved Culture With Sculpture

When Lt Col Adam Bingham took command of the 14th Airlift Squadron in Charleston, SC, the state of the building he inherited did not live up to the historically incredibly high standards of the squadron.

Besides the general maintenance and cleaning that needed to be dealt with, it was missing any representation of Pappy the Pelican, the squadron’s mascot since its activation in 1940.

Bingham had seen a story published in the Pensacola, FL newspaper about a city-wide art project to decorate pelican statues—statues that looked like the perfect representation of Pappy. He’d been trying to get his hands on one for the base for several years before finally deciding to call the city’s chamber of commerce to see if they had any idea where he could get one. Strangely enough, one of the pelicans had popped up on Craigslist just a few days earlier. It was meant to be.

Bingham purchased the sculpture and had it painted with the blue and gold of the 14th and a reference to their motto on the wings. It looked great—too great to live outside in Charleston’s predictably volatile weather.

So Bingham called us. He spoke to Steven Kroll, one of our customer care specialists  and pedestal design experts and was straightforward with what he wanted.


“I asked Steven if he liked Apple and he said he did. And then I explained to him that what I like about Apple is that I don’t even know what I need in one of their products until they give it to me. And I said Steven, make it like Apple.”

Bingham provided Steven with a few dimensions, and that was it.


With the help of Brad, our lead design engineer, Kroll put together  a custom cylinder pedestal finished in a shimmering black brushed aluminum with a motorized turntable and eight corner lights, giving the pelican an elegant glow visible from 360 degrees. The result was over and above Bingham’s expectations.

“I was instantly impressed,” Bingham said. “I really trusted Steven with it, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.”

The sculpture is now prominently displayed on their main floor, where every Airman, every visitor, every single person that walks through the building, can’t help but see it.

The pelican and inscribed pedestal most certainly elevated the look and ambiance of the building, but they did something else, too. For the squadron, the pelican represents its heritage, history, camaraderie, the brotherhood and sisterhood of people willing to go to war together. For Bingham, the squadron is an extended family, and Pappy the Pelican represents their unity.


This constant reminder of who they are is one of the ways Bingham has helped to build a winning culture.

“The changes we’ve made to the building, they really drive culture, and culture drives our performance,” he said. “Pappy the Pelican is now literally the centerpiece of the squadron, and it sets the tone—that we are the World’s Premier Airlift Squadron.”