Trade Show Exhibits 101

Your trade show display is a vital component of your company’s marketing strategy. An artfully crafted exhibit provides an effective way for your company to make impactful connections with customers. It is a powerful way to engage prospects and let them know everything your company can accomplish for them. True, a trade show booth calls for a financial investment, but your team also must invest the time required to weigh your options and choose an exhibit that’s right for you.

With combined decades of experiential marketing, Apogee’s event experts are uniquely qualified to guide you through the process. We will work closely with you to come up with a world-class trade show solution that fits your goals and wows your prospects. Here’s how the process works.

Before You Begin

The journey to an effective trade show exhibit begins like any great journey: forming a plan. At the onset, the decision makers on your trade show team should look at a few basic questions. The answers will get your trade show strategy started on the right foot.

What’s your budget?

It is important to determine how much money you have and are willing to spend on your trade show exhibit. Consider the big picture—you’ll need to figure in exhibit-related costs, services, promotional expenses, and labor required to operate and staff the booth. A good rule of thumb: Read here for more information on how to budget for an upcoming trade show.

Who is your audience?

Any sales and marketing pro is aware that “know your audience” is a cardinal rule. As it turns out, that’s also a good rule to follow when planning a trade show display. Understanding what booth visitors will be looking for when they visit your exhibit helps ensure your display will attract and engage them, and deliver what they want, how they want it.

What are your goals?

Determining what your company aims to achieve through sales and marketing efforts at a show can guide your trade show display planning. Your team could be laser-focused on one goal, or you might have several targets in your sights. Whatever your ambitions, it is smart to design your tradeshow exhibit with these goals in mind. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Unveiling new products
  • Increasing awareness of existing lines
  • Strengthening relationships with existing customers
  • Forming relationships with key prospects
  • Generating solid leads
  • Increasing brand exposure
  • Seeking out emerging trends
  • Drumming up press coverage

Your goals are apt to change from year to year, or even event to event. As your goals change, it might be beneficial to consider an exhibit configuration flexible enough to change with them.

Trade Show Tools

Trade Show Timeline Generator

If your trade show team needs guidance while they're planning for your next event, check out our custom timeline generator tool.

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Trade Show Timeline Generator

Booth Options

When it comes to trade show exhibits, one size does not fit all. There’s a good reason Apogee offers an extremely broad array of configurations, features and services for our trade show clients. In our mission to match you up with a display that fits your precise needs, there is a wide range of possibilities.

We offer a number of different booth design models. Which suits your company best depends on your industry, sales and marketing goals, budget and a host of other aspects.

Custom Displays

If your company wants to stand out, your best bet might be a custom trade show display. An exhibit designed and built from the ground up with your company in mind ensures differentiation from the booths around you. Our consultants will work with you to craft a multi-dimensional representation of your brand that visitors will remember long after they leave your booth. View some of the custom booths we’ve created for clients here:

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Modular Booths

Modular and portable exhibits appeal to trade show planners for a number of reasons. They are easy to set up and operate, even for non-technical staff. They require lower operating costs than a larger-scale trade show exhibit. Additionally, they are flexible enough to reconfigure if your goals shift or an event calls for a change. Whether intended to supplement your trade show strategy or serve as your primary display, modular displays are a powerful marketing tool. Learn more about these solutions here:

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Hybrid Exhibits

These unique trade show booths combine the best of both worlds. On the one hand, they enable trade show decisionmakers to realize significant cost savings compared to a ground-up solution. They also are more portable and easier to set up than many custom displays. At the same time, the display can be customized with your brand’s graphics and a range of options to make the unique impression your company requires to connect with customers. Check out some of the hybrid displays Apogee has created here:

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Off the Shelf Solutions

There is something to be said for incorporating tried-and-true trade show display design and features in your exhibit. These elements have proven time and time again to engage event attendees, drawing them into a booth for deeper discussions about the solutions your company offers. The Apogee catalog features more than 1,800 components ready to incorporate into a crowd-pleasing display, such as islands, pop-up displays, dynamic lighting, device charging stations, luxurious flooring and more. Browse the catalog of classic options here:

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Case Study

Iredale Cosmetics

See how Apogee designed a visually forward space for Iredale to showcase their stunning artistry and talent as makeup artists.

View the Project

Next-level elements

Special touches and premium features can provide the added draw your show exhibit needs to convert a visitor from prospect to customer. The design experts at Apogee have at their disposal a complete line of enhancements to engage event attendees and elevate their experience.

Branded Environments

Your trade show exhibit is an extension of your brand. When an attendee enters the space, they should feel like they are being welcomed into your company’s culture and brand, not just another squared-off space of the convention center. You have limited opportunity to attract, engage and keep their attention; these singular elements can help make that connection. Choose from numerous value-added features, including:

  • 3-D logos: a flat-surface sign marks your space, but a multi-dimensional sign makes a stronger impression
  • Wall murals: large-scale art and displays provide a powerful draw for the visitor’s eye.
  • Light boxes: these eye-popping elements brighten your space and highlight your company’s branding efforts
  • Custom reception areas: offering a set-apart area for pitches and conversations reinforces that you value your prospect’s time
  • Product displays: choose from a range of configurations that give your products the special attention they deserve
  • Signage and Wayfinding: messaging that informs and directs trade show booth visitors helps them navigate your space
  • Furnishings: tables, chairs, couches and other features create a more welcoming space for customers to get to know your company.

Learn more about features to enhance your brand environment here:

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Digital Displays

From modest booths to large-scale exhibits, most trade show displays feature technological elements. Adding digital displays and interactive elements to your both offers advanced engagement, and a way to keep visitors in your event space for a longer stretch. Here are a few dynamic options to consider:

  • LED video wall: a big-scale video presentation utilizing light and motion effectively attracts eyes and communicates your company message.
  • Interactive wall: build upon the dynamic draw of a video wall with a touchscreen display that invites visitors to engage with your brand.
  • Interactive kiosk: these components enable you to harness a booth visitor’s curiosity to share your brand’s messaging, leaving them wanting to know more.

Find out more about digital display possibilities here:

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Top Trade Show Trends

Our free guide, “Top Trade Show Trends” highlights the most effective ways to market your business at trade shows.

Read the Guide

Execution at the show

Once your trade show exhibit is in place, it’s time to make the most of your investment. Every professional out on that show floor is a potential customer; don’t let the opportunity presented by a booth visit go to waste. Check out the tips below, then download our free e-book on maximizing your trade show ROI.


Your booth technology should not be the only interactive feature in your exhibit. While more than 75% of people polled by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research seek out interaction with products and information, more than 90% want to be approached and engaged by a booth staffer. When someone enters your trade show booth, make your best effort to welcome them, answer their questions and strike up a conversation—hopefully one that leads to a sale.


In-person events like trade shows give your sales team a unique opportunity. Most of a salesperson’s time is normally spent reaching out with cold calls or traveling across the landscape going door to door. At a tradeshow, however, the prospects literally come to you. Encourage your sales staff to use your displayed products and technology as props while they’re telling the story of your company to attendees and bringing home how your company can benefit their business. Gain more on-site sales advice here:

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Not everyone who wanted to attend the show you are exhibiting at will be able to spend the time and budget to make it there. A strong social media strategy can extend your trade show branding efforts by sharing on-site stories with the people that stayed back at the office. Use photos, videos and messaging on various platforms to share the technology happenings in your booth. If the show organizers and other exhibitors are incorporating hashtags in their posts, use those to make it easier for interested prospects to find your posts. If it makes sense to thank a visitor for stopping by, or to brag about a contract signed at the show, go ahead and post. Review more social tips here:

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Educating Your Staff: The Key Ingredient to Increasing ROI

Download our free Ebook to learn how to maximize your tradeshow ROI

Educating Your Staff: The Key Ingredient to Increasing ROI

Staffing and Services

Even if you arrive at a convention center with the most well-designed, stunning trade show exhibit on the planet, you still need one element to make it work. People. In addition to your display, you need the right staff to make your investment pay off. Apogee can supplement your trade show plan with a range of human services. By turning to an expert to execute and operate your booth, you will be free to focus on what you do best: engage your customers.

Program management

Engaging with a trade show specialist for your program management needs empowers you to focus your resources on serving your customers, communicating with customers and other top-priority items. Choose from a range of world-class services provided by experienced trade show staff:

  • Logistic coordination: trust our staff to direct your trade show resources to the right place, and ensure they arrive on time.
  • Show site service: personnel such as booth greeters and appointment coordinators help keep your show schedule running smoothly.
  • Storage and transport: hiring staff to store and retrieve your products, supplies and other items minimizes the amount of time your employees spend off the show floor.
  • Online services: offload your inventorying, online ordering and other digital needs to IT staff, so you can focus on meeting with customers and prospects.
  • On-site support: if your booth requires maintenance or repair, our technical staff can correct the problem quickly.

Find out more about our management capabilities here:

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Global services

An effective trade show strategy consists of countless moving parts. It’s a complex process that becomes significantly complicated when an event takes place overseas. If your team is tasked with planning and executing your trade show exhibit for an event taking place in another country, the services of an experienced partner can help. Apogee offers the broad experience and the worldwide connections necessary.

Our complete suite of global services and relationships in nearly every country provide the necessary pathways to streamline the process. Using one point of contact to drive your global activity ensures your communication and brand efforts are kept consistent, while your project stays on time and on budget. Learn more about our global capabilities here:

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