The Small Exhibit: Evaluating the Opportunity


Sometimes it happens: you have a small space in a weird part of the hall. Perhaps it’s because you’re exhibiting at a new show, or perhaps it’s because through no fault of your own, you can’t match the priority points of the big guys. Maybe you don’t have the budget for more space. Or maybe it’s because you are making a strategic decision to stay away from your competitors, and rather than be near them, you opt for taking what might appear to be an undesirable location.

All of these scenarios are rooted in real life. But don’t despair! Trust the power of marketing to make your face-to-face program successful no matter the size of your exhibit or your location in the hall.

The worst thing you can do is to believe that because of size and/or location your presence can be minimal, one step up from pipe and drape. Face-to-face marketing is more than just showing up: it’s a series of tactics that build engagement—and the size of your exhibit has little to do with how well you provide your target audience with a brand experience.

Let’s get some preliminary questions out of the way:

Do you know why you are going to this show? Good answers include:

  • Our target market will be there
  • We are entering this specific market for the first time,
  • We want to generate interest in our product or service which isn’t available yet.

Bad answers include:

  • Our competitors are all there.
  • The show organizer called and offered us a deal.
  • My team wants to go to Las Vegas.

One way to determine if going to any given show is a promising idea is to look at the show audit. Usually, you will find it as part of the exhibitor prospectus. You will learn who and how many people attended the previous year, where they are based, and what percentage of the total represents your audience. There might be additional helpful information depending on your industry. If no audit is available, reconsider the decision to attend the show, no matter how good the deal the organizer offered. Even a small space at a show represents an investment—in exhibit structure and services, travel and entertainment, and time away from normal responsibilities.

Assuming you’re doing the right thing for the right reason, how can you make your small exhibit compelling?

Part two of this post will give you some tried and true methods.

free guide download questions for exhibit planning