Encouraging better dialog with your partner is  key to getting better work from them.

5 Ways to Get Better Designs From Your Current Trade Show Partner

What’s the number one reason why a company chooses a new tradeshow partner? According to Special Requests, a recent survey published by Exhibitor, it’s creative. The number two reason? Yup—creative again.

But you already knew that. You’ve no doubt seen for yourself the way design can make or break a show. So if you’re just not getting big enough ideasfrom your current partner, what should you do? Before you pull the trigger with an RFP, consider the five remedies listed below that, in our experience, almost always result in better creative over time:


The more your tradeshow company understands your marketing objectives, the better they’ll be able to help you meet them. So be sure to get them involved in those early strategy meetings. Let them understand the thinking behind the direction you’re setting and chances are their solutions will not only be more accurate—they’ll be richer and far more powerful.


As you know, a great exhibit is about a lot more than carpet, walls or even demos. It’s about the overall customer experience that helps shape lasting perceptions of your company, brand and products. So be clear with your partner that their first priority needs to be engaging and wowing your customers—and absolutely hold them to it.


The key to delivering a great customer experience is understanding the needs, wants and attitudes of those customers deeply, even intimately. This information is the raw material that a creative team can spin into gold at your next show. So share, share, share. Sometimes this information just exists in your head. That’s fine as long as you get it into your tradeshow company’s head too.


It’s great knowing what you want, but it’s even better to be receptive to ideas you can’t see coming. Often the boldest and most original ideas take a little time to get used to, so don’t be too quick to dismiss new thinking. And remember, sometimes a simple modification can turn an idea you’re not comfortable with into one you totally love.


A lot can happen between the presentation of a great idea and its implementation. Competing interests and internal committees can chip away at concepts, leaving them diminished or even unrecognizable. So if the design is on strategy and you really like it, resist allowing others to make unnecessary changes. And when you do defend it, do so on the grounds that it solidly supports your strategy.

To sum up, the more you treat your tradeshow company as a partner, the better the work you’ll get. If you’re already doing this and not getting the level of creative you desire, it’s time to face the fact that a new relationship is in order. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog that offers our perspective about more productive ways to write RFPs.

In the meantime, what ideas have worked for you to get better designs from your tradeshow partner?
As always, your comments are appreciated.