Spark's Presentation & Public Speaking Blog

Trade show booth ideas: Create a traffic jam at your booth


October 10, 2013

by Ken Newman
guest blogger

You’re driving down the highway. You see a billboard. You glance at it. Then, your eyes are back on the road. You don’t slow down and read the fine print.  You don’t pull over and climb the ladder to get a closer look. You just glance at it and it’s gone.

Those advertisers know what they’re doing. They KNOW their audience is a moving target with a very small window for impact and success.

Spark trade show presenter magician Ken Newman

Ken Newman, trade show presenter and magician

So, that message has a powerful graphic. It’s simple, with a memorable message. It brands the company and it’s evocative. It’s the classic example of effective high-speed advertising.

And your booth better be the best damn billboard you’ve ever seen!

Imagine your trade show attendees weren’t just fast-walking down the trade show aisles; they’re traveling at 65 mph right past your booth—that booth where you’ve invested so much time and money.

The reality is, you don’t have to IMAGINE it. If you’ve ever witnessed that staring-at-the-carpet, “don’t-even-TRY-to-talk-to-me-I’m-busy,” look, they might as well be going 65 mph, ’cause they sure ain’t stopping to talk to YOU!

So what do you do?  What can you put on a sign? What single message will make people slam on the brakes and cause a nice little pileup right in front of your booth? It has to convey: The most incredible thing in the world, THIS exit! But how in the world do you come up with THAT?

You want a showstopping billboard? Lead!

PUSH your marketing people. PUSH your sign designers. PUSH for something that’s not like everything else. Evoke unusual graphics. Demand a distinct style. Reinforce that your brand is more than just a marketing message with a large typeface and some clip art.

Then, trust your team to execute without feeling like the Sword of Damocles is hanging by a thread over their heads, ready to drop if something doesn’t match the typical exec-approved aesthetic. If they don’t truly believe they have the latitude to create outside the box without getting smacked down, they’ll simply recycle the type of nondescript signage that soars through approvals.

There are really only two criteria: Does it favorably reflect your brand? And … does it make people STOP?

Those attendees are whizzing by at 65 mph. Make them pull off at your exit.


This post was written by Ken Newman of Magnet Productions and originally published in Magnet’s “Hey Newman” blog. It was reprinted with permission from the author.

Visit “Hey, Newman” for more insightful posts on surviving your trade shows and maximizing your booth ROI.

To reprint this blog on your site, please contact Ken Newman.



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