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Opportunities abound for booth holders


Being an exhibitor at the annual Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO or any trade show can be one of the most important moves a business makes, especially during these trying economic times.  

“Having a booth gives us an opportunity to reach people north of the Coast and to tell them about us,” said Irvin Jackson, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Marine Resources.  “We’ve had a booth at EXPO for probably the past nine years, and it’s a great networking tool.”  

Designing an eye-catching booth can be time consuming and stressful, but by deploying strategies to maximize foot traffic, exhibitors have a greater opportunity to market, achieve objectives and ultimately increase sales, be it small business or a major corporation.

Attracting crowds is a matter of leveraging the power of natural human curiosity.  If a business owner can get just a few people to stop by a booth, the small crowd will naturally attract more and more people to a display.

Jackson says the best booths are the most simple.

“You don’t want it cluttered and where it’s not easy on the eyes,” he said.  “And, it’s very important to have plenty of giveaways to attract an audience.”

Typically, says Jackson, DMR personnel hands out everything from pens and seafood recipe books to logo pens and seafood directories during the EXPO.     

With so much competition in the Trade Mart, how does a company devise a strategy that makes an EXPO booth stand out from the crowd?  Here are some tips:

Total market

Be sure your booth covers the overall market areas of your company.  There is a market for every person out there, and whether it involves online marketing or normal sales, potential customers want to know all that is available to them.  

Everyone’s a Customer

Every person who enters the doors of the Trade Mart is a potential customer.  Even if they show no interest in the goods or services you offer, be polite and leave them with a great impression.  After all, those non-customers may send future business your way.

Promotional and Specialties

Ad specialties and promotional items are standard trade show booth ideas at any event. Because every booth and every competitor will also be giving away promotional items, it is essential that your ad specialties stand out from the crowd. To double the marketing power gleaned from ad specialties, choose promotional items that will be useful to people while they are at the trade show.  When you give away ad specialty items that fill an immediate need for EXPO attendees, they are much more likely to stop by and take one.  Some examples of past EXPO give-away items include canvas bags, promotional water bottles and even snacks labeled with company logos.  The sky is the limit.

Mingle…but not too much

Most sales will be driven by how well you’re perceived by potential customers.  Don’t just sit by the booth and wait for people to cruise by.  Meet and mingle to let people know about your company and services/products and why they should come visit your booth.  Being sociable will draw people back to your exhibit.  On the other hand, don’t spend all of your time searching for people to bring to the booth.  Leaving the area unattended will turn potential customers away.

People, the best marketing solution

During the EXPO, one of the best ways to encourage traffic to your booth is networking.  Have booth personnel walk around and talk to individuals about products and services.  Provide them with giveaways when they are strolling the Trade Mart to encourage people to visit your booth.  

Planning for Marketing

Be sure to plan how you will market certain aspects of your business, using promotional items, activities and interactive media to display to customers different points that your company brings to the table.  Most people enjoy a more interactive, diverse environment to learn information as opposed to blocks of text on a brochure.  


Last but certainly not least, don’t overwhelm the booth space with too many bells and whistles.  If possible, push your table to a back wall and let the company’s bold, simple advertising schemes lure EXPO attendees to your product.


Need more information on EXPO 2010? Click here.


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