Are you ready for the big show?

Scott Ellenbecker is Editor-in-Chief of multiple in-house publications for Atlas Copco, and the president of Ellenbecker Communications.

Atlas Copco’s booth at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.

Atlas Copco’s booth at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.

We’re talking about CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014, which will be held March 4-8 next year in Las Vegas, so the answer is probably “no.”

Sure, you have your booth space reserved, and you’re probably working on some booth details, but this is the Big Show. This deserves your “A” game. Here are a few things to keep in mind—because I can almost guarantee you that, before you know it, you’re going to look at the calendar and say, “Oh-oh, I’m running out of time! CONEXPO is next month!”

Brand awareness is an important part of the planning for any big trade show, and CONEXPO is no exception. In fact, it is even more important—because there is one truly enormous crowd of exhibitors from which to distinguish your company! And the sponsorships that can help you create awareness are being snapped up; a lot of the most popular ones are already gone, as show management decided to open up sponsorships to buyers several months earlier than they have in the past.

Of course, you are giving attention to your booth. For the Big Show, many companies will create a completely new booth, giving a lot attention to visual appeal, and that is a good thing. Excellent visuals and visual storytelling can bring prospects into your booth that had not planned to visit you—and these can turn into new customers. Great visuals will attract existing customers as well, and subtly encourage them to spend some quality time with you.

Planning traffic-flow through the booth is also important, as is adequate staffing—both are projects that require plenty of time to plan properly, and should be done well in advance of opening day.

But in all the important work of designing a booth, sometimes the pre-show marketing is missed or scrimped on. We always remind our clients that exhibiting at a trade show without going all-out to invite customers and prospects is like throwing a party and forgetting to invite anyone.


We recommend trying to create an event within your booth, something that customers and prospects alike would be interested in. A wine-bar at the end of the day, or a cappuccino bar in the mornings, are good general interest attractions. Or perhaps product demonstrations would be appropriate if they are dramatic enough or would generate sufficient interest in the mind of the invitee. In short, try to give your expo-weary target audience something to look forward to, and then make sure that your marketing effort reaches them well ahead of the show.

But to really make that pre-show marketing work, you need that great idea—an event or series of events that will captivate your target audience. Unfortunately, that takes time. Fortunately, as of today—early in the month of June—you have sufficient time. Just don’t let it slip away!