Should I arrange TVs in my trade show booth?
If you are like most trade show exhibitors, you spend about 39% of your annual marketing budget at such business events, hence you seek proper return on investment.
It seems like a reasonable idea to make your booth as appealing as possible to reach your targets. But are TVs the right choice to make it happen?
Let’s review the pros and cons of having screens in your trade show booth.
Great for Exposure
TVs are great for many reasons.
First, having movies is a good way to attract people inside your booth. Screens catch people’s attention (assuming, of course, that your content is eye-catching).
Also, TVs are a good temporary alternative to staff. When your booth is crowded and you simply don’t have time to entertain everyone, having a video running will help visitors waiting instead of leaving your booth.
Yet, there are some serious reserves about going down that path.
Hard to manage
Setting up a TV sounds easy, right? Yet it can be one of the most complex things you will have to arrange in your booth!
First, you need to find a spot to fix the TV. If you don’t hang it on a wall, you will need to find a place where it will be stable enough so it wouldn’t fall if visitors are careful.
Then, you need to bring electricity, meaning potentially driving cables across the booth.
Once you figured these points, the real fun begins. You need to push your (usually reluctant) supplier to provide you with format details. Is the TV using PAL or NTSC? Should you bring your video on DVD, Bluray, VCD, USB? Do you need an additional player? Will you use HDMI or VGA? Must you prepare a laptop to connect it? Should your video be encoded in mpg2, mp4, avi? You simply can’t afford to assume these things and come to the show unprepared. Since you will not be able to try things yourself, make sure to figure things out early on.
We are no longer living in the 90s and people are no longer impressed by TVs. If you want to use that trick you need to go all the way and make it BIG.
Don’t settle for a tiny screen – visitors are used to HD, they want quality and clarity. Go with a large screen that will catch people’s attention or don’t do it at all.
Find a way to integrate the TV in your booth design. A TV sitting on a shelf does not look good: it should somehow serve your marketing message.
Consider the sound
One major problem with TVs at trade shows is that you can’t rely on sound.
The show will be noisy, and if it isn’t, it is bad news because it means there’s no business there! You must assume that no-one will hear your video’s sound, so either make it in a way that does not require any voice or make use of sub-titles.
Expensive, find alternative solutions
Last, but definitely not least, TVs are incredibly expensive at most trade shows.
It is often more expensive to rent a second-hand TV for 3 days than buy a brand new one!
Plan early on and compare prices to make the best decision. If you decide to purchase a TV, think about what to do with it post-event. Donations to local charities might be a good solution.
There is no one-fits-all answer to this question. If you have a great video, that does not require sound, that attracts people’s attention, with a large budget to get a large TV, then it may be worth the investment.
In any case, don’t make this decision lightly: the impact could be larger than expected!