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5 Tips to Prepare Your Print Materials for a Trade Show

Posted Wed, February 6, 2019

crowd of people outside of a trade show

Whether exhibit marketing is your primary role or you’re just responsible for one big trade show a year, identifying and preparing all the print material you’ll need to best represent your company are just as important as the display booth itself. Planning ahead and having the right kind of print support can be the keys to success. What should you print? When is the best time to print it? How do you keep it safe in transit? These are just some of the questions that need answers, and OneSOURCE Managed Print can provide the help you need.

1. Plan your print material well in advance

Experts make the point that planning print material well in advance is as important as any aspect of the event planning process. Contributors to Entrepreneur note that overall planning should begin at least six months before the exhibit and printed material should be ready at least six weeks prior to the event to give plenty of time for review. They recommend checking on the production status of display materials, ordering product samples and literature, and confirming pre-event advertising and press releases six to eight weeks prior to the event.

Identifying materials that your company already has digitally can save your team time and money. Whether it’s brochures, white papers, sales literature or other marketing support, OneSOURCE’s KwikTag Document Capture and Retrieval system, which integrates into the larger os360 document management system, provides the best solution for locating, revising, and sharing documents across devices.

2. Make a checklist of all print items

In addition to the specialized printed material your company many have, Tennessee-based marketing executive Fred Hess summarized his essential trade show materials list like this:  “At a bare minimum, you will bring plenty of business cards, a banner for your booth, and printed sales brochures to your trade show. Additionally, having printed table talkers can add catchy visuals and messages to otherwise flat, blank surfaces.”

You should also provide order forms custom-made for the event, branded notepads (which can land on the visitor’s desk after the event), business cards, lead cards for your sales team to follow-up with, and custom promotional items. Essentially, you want the booth visitors to remember your company long after leaving the event. Give them materials providing them information to reach out to your business, documents for your sales team to use to reach visitors, and fun items that could get your business’s name on their desks.

3. Make sure marketing material is relevant 

Trade shows are a proven way for businesses to connect with prospects and turn them into customers. More than 80 percent of companies consider in-person events critical to their success, according to event technology firm Bizzabo

To make the most of these events, you need to engage with attendees in a meaningful way and nudge them toward becoming a customer. Leave-behind materials — brochures, product sheets, and promotional items — can help. 

But these materials must be relevant to the audience, speak their language, and appear professionally prepared. It may seem like a given, but an important part of preparing your printed material is to ensure that it has been well-proofed. Nothing can make a company look worse than poorly produced marketing material.

During the preparation process, consider your attendees. Ask the trade show marketing manager what types of attendees they expect. Who are they targeting to bring people in the door? What other types of businesses will be in attendance? Create your materials with these traits in mind. Next, ask yourself what your attendees are interested in. Create documents to answer those needs. The more value you provide, the more likely attendees will retain and remember your materials. Remember to make the materials attractive and functional. Think like a graphic designer – or hire one. Make your print materials the ones that everyone will remember. 

4. Include all teams in the process

Review all trade show material with sales and marketing teams. It’s important to make sure everyone involved in the trade show, whether through preparation or day-of responsibilities, is aware of the entire process. Communicate with the entire team and make sure everyone is on the same page throughout.

5. Use a reliable shipping service

You’ve done all the work to get your print material in top shape for the trade show, now it’s important to use a reliable shipping service to deliver all your material. Ship your marketing materials directly to the venue.

Whether you design in-house or use an outside designer, you can save time and money by outsourcing your print management to OneSOURCE, ensuring that every time you need high-quality printing, it will be available to everyone in your organization. If you’re ready to take the leap into OneSOURCE managed print, give our office a call or stop by our showroom.

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