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Getting In Their Heads: Designing A Trade Show Booth From The Visitor's Perspective

The best way to design a trade show booth is to examine every angle from the perspective of your visitors. A trade show display designed in this way will provide the best format of communication and promotion for companies of any industry.

Companies worldwide are seeing a change in marketing trends. Where it was once perfectly acceptable, even expected to push your company's image and product through all possible means, today's customer doesn't want that. Instead of the old style of push marketing, companies are increasingly choosing pull marketing, which focuses on what the potential customer is looking for. Once the customer's needs are understood, a campaign can be formed that addresses those needs directly. Techniques such as search engine optimization are used to connect people with the information that they are seeking.
This new era of marketing has led to unprecedented success for some companies, who have expanded the thought to an unexpected place: the trade show display. These companies have focused in on their target audience and designed a trade show exhibit from the ground up with them in mind. Their questions, concerns, and complaints are anticipated and addressed in advance. The end result is a trade show display that appeals to visitors on a level rarely observed before.
Thinking Outside Your Situation
The most important tool that will enable you to successfully design from a visitor's perspective is an ability to separate yourself from the situation and look back on it with fresh eyes. This is a very difficult skill to develop for yourself, particularly if you're new to the entire design field. If you need to, don't hesitate to call in a few friends from outside of work or family members to look at your project the first few times. As they tell you what they see, you'll be better able to make decisions and understand their thought process.
Focus Groups Before A Trade Show Booth
Once you have a way to get a fresh outlook on your trade show exhibit, you'll need to determine what perspective you should adopt. There are many ways to do this, but perhaps the most popular and simple is to run a few focus groups. These groups consist of a few individuals who represent your target audience. For example, if you're a medical supply company, you'd have a few people from hospitals and a few private clients. Use this time to gauge reactions to your product within your target areas. Do they like what you're offering? What are their questions? What are their comments? Do they have concerns? 
Always take careful notes during a focus group. If possible, get permission to record. People tend to speak frankly during a focus group, revealing a lot of helpful information for your trade show display design as they do so. If you are not on your toes, you're likely to miss a lot of it. 
Create Profiles
The final step is to put together a profile of an average client in each of your target demographics. What does he/she do? How does he/she feel? Put as much detail as possible into your report. This will essentially be the lenses through which you view your trade show booth and judge its appeal.
This list is the culmination of your efforts. Your research backs up its suggestionsFeature Articles, and it is further enhanced by the focus groups. Now you need to have faith in your methods and give it a try. What does your representative individual think about your present design? What does it leave out from his or her perspective? These are the first things you should be changing. 

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Chris Harmen shares Nashville trade show exhibit tips and tricks for Skyline. As a leading Nashville trade show display designer, Skyline knows what visitors are looking for in a booth.  

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