There’s nothing more difficult than roofing in July.
However, if you’re the type of contractor that enjoys the rich pleasure of working with your hands, then sitting at the computer and attending endless meetings about marketing probably bores you to tears. Yeah, yeah, IRE is a great show and brings in leads for the business, but how much time do we really need to plan for the event? The answer: Not much at all—if you have a great exhibit design checklist.
The IRE website already has a helpful marketing opportunities checklist that covers the basics of raising awareness of your booth before the show. It includes items such as E-blasts, brochures, website pages, and direct mail, each accompanied by a brief description explaining what they are. But what’s missing is an exhibit design checklist, which is what defines your presence at any show.
A quick note: Some items on the checklist will seem obvious, and others will require some of those pesky meetings for brainstorming. Another thing to note is that the order of the tasks is also essential. For example, don’t start planning your exhibit design until the goals and budget are settled.
IRE 2023 exhibit design checklist
For many, next to booking flights, hotels, and dinner reservations, designing the exhibit is the next most fun thing to do. But there are steps to follow to ensure you get the biggest return on investment for your exhibit and show strategy. Follow this IRE 2024 exhibit design checklist for an improved exhibit experience.
1. Meet with sales and execs to define goals for the show
This point can’t be stressed enough. You must know your target audience and set realistic expectations for how many prospects you can meet on the show floor. Consider these stats from IRE’s 2022 prospectus:
- Over 10,000 roofing professionals attended the show
- Roughly 63% of attendees are actively involved in buying decisions
- There are 16 hours dedicated to exhibit hall time
Ten thousand attendees seem like a lot, but that number includes many people outside your target audience. This is good and bad news. The good news is that the 16 hours is more manageable if you focus on attracting your ideal customer. The bad news is there may be more work to qualify leads upfront.
The exhibit design process should always begin with an initial meeting with sales to develop business objectives from the show. Topics should include:
- How many A, B, and C leads need to be captured
- How many people need to staff the booth to hit these numbers
- What will the budget for the exhibit need to be to support sales
There are plenty of bad reasons to build an exhibit. For instance, building an exhibit because the CEO will think it looks cool or because it just feels like it’s time for a refresh. The purpose of design and booth copy is to improve sales, lead generation, and raise brand awareness.
2. Research exhibit design ideas online
Once the goals are settled, and the booth space is reserved, it’s time to start researching design ideas. Booth space may be the most critical factor when it comes to design. There are 10×10 custom exhibits out there, but they’re severely limited. For example, regulations generally prohibit hanging signs. Plus, it only takes an attendee 4.8 seconds to walk past a 10×10 space.
It’s better to keep things simple for smaller booths and add custom elements. Generally, every effective booth you see online has three things in common:
- Large format graphics
These three basics are helpful guides when brainstorming booth design ideas. While researching, you should actively follow the next step in the checklist.
3. Write a design wish list
It’s handy to have such a list not just for this show but for future reference, too. Some items may cause you to go over budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add them later in the future. Most design wish lists have the following items:
- Hanging sign with backlighting or rotation
- Custom counters with changing LED lights
- Interactive monitors with educational materials
- Glass display cases and models
- Enclosed lounge area for private client meetings
The list goes on and on. The question at the back of the mind should always be, “how will these elements support the business objectives?” Some items will be “nice to haves,” and others will appear as “must-haves.”
Deciphering which items will best support your goals sometimes requires consultants. After running through this list, contacting a knowledgeable exhibit house is the next step. These companies design and build exhibits for trade shows. They usually build for companies in diverse industries and have a firm grasp of trends and what’s working.
4. Contact a reputable exhibit house
There are a lot of different kinds of exhibits. There are also a lot of manufacturers producing them. At a big show like IRE, it’s ideal for putting your best foot forward, which means contacting professionals who not only have design talent but can fulfill necessary logistics like shipping, installation, and storage.
When searching for a reputable exhibit house to partner with, look for these characteristics:
- Do they provide strategic insights into trade show marketing?
- Can they design and construct materials in-house?
- Are they experienced in exhibit management?
- How long have they been in the trade show industry?
- What is their response time?
The last question may appear odd, but it’s of tremendous importance. In an industry where deadlines are written for yesterday, and there’s around-the-clock movement, having the ability to improvise the day of the show is a massive benefit.
5. Review exhibit designs
Congratulations! You’ve picked an exhibit house, and they have handed over renderings for review. Make sure to show the renderings to relevant team members (the keyword is “relevant” because everyone has opinions). Cover these details with the exhibit house if you go with a custom exhibit or modular that requires show labor.
The Trade Group is known for its award-winning exhibit designs and is one of Event Marketer’s top 50 fabricators. We not only provide exhibits that set businesses apart but provide complete turnkey services for trade show programs. And there’s something special we have to offer for IRE exhibitors this year.
A special opportunity for IRE 2024 in Las Vegas
To say we are excited this year’s IRE is coming to Dallas in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is an understatement. The Trade Group’s headquarters is in Grapevine, TX, which means there is the potential to build your exhibit in our facility and save on shipping costs.
To learn more about this opportunity and how you can design an effective exhibit, contact one of our design consultants below. We’ll take you through the IRE 2023 exhibit design checklist.
The Trade Group is a full-service trade show and event marketing company. We will work with you to create an exhibit or an event that brings in leads and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us here or give us a call at 972-734-8585.