Category Archives: Trade Show News

10 Keys for Trade Show Success

Setting up a booth at an industry trade show can undoubtedly pay off big-time for your company. But if your business is spending its money, time, and energy to set up a trade show display, it’s important that you follow some guidelines for trade show success.10 keys for trade show success

  1. Educate Your Trade Show Staff

Taking the time to adequately train and prepare your staff for the trade show is a must. This begins with carefully choosing the right employees to represent your company at a trade show. From there, make sure they have the training and resources needed to best interact with trade show attendees and effectively spread the word about your business. As part of your training, also be sure to inform your employees as to the appropriate attire for the event; you’ll want to have them dress professionally while remaining comfortable, especially since they’ll likely be spending hours at a time on their feet.

  1. Hold Event Promos and Contests

One of the best ways to generate interest with trade show booths is to hold special promotions and contests throughout the event. This is where you really have a chance to get creative. For example, you could allow trade show attendees to enter a free drawing; the randomly drawn winner receives a free product or service from your company (or a heavily discounted one). As part of the information you collect in the drawing, you could ask for e-mail addresses or other contact information that can be used to follow-up after the event as well.

  1. Engage with Attendees on Social Media

Social media makes it possible for you to reach out not only to attendees at the trade show, but those following the events online as well. Surely, there will be dozens or even hundreds of industry professionals who weren’t able to attend the show this year, but who are following along on social media. Make sure you’re targeting this audience as well by leveraging social media! From Twitter hashtags and Facebook posts to Instagram photos and Snapchat videos, social media is an excellent outlet for further engaging your audience. Promote your presence at the event across your social media channels, have a staff member follow the social media debate and respond to tweets and likes, and don’t forget to use trade show and brand-specific hashtags for the duration of the event.

  1. Make Your Trade Show Display Memorable

More than likely, your booth will be just one of dozens or even hundreds set up at the trade show. Of course you want it to stand out. This is where working with a company that specializes in creating engaging and visually appealing trade show displays can make all the difference. Bright colors, pop up displays, trade show banner stands, and unique lighting will encourage more attendees to stop by your booth and hear more about what your employees have to say.

  1. Select the Right Booth Location

The appearance of your trade show booth isn’t the only factor that can affect the amount of foot traffic your display receives, however. It’s all about location. Take the time to study the layout of the trade show facility and do your best to determine the best placement for your booth accordingly. There are many factors to keep in mind when it comes to choosing your booth location. Some specific things to look for when deciding include:

  • Proximity to restrooms and registration booths
  • Amount of foot traffic in the area
  • Specific location within the row (corner booths are ideal)

Keep in mind that you will pay a premium for an excellent booth location, but in most cases, that extra cost is more than worth the added exposure. Just be sure to book early, as prime locations fill up quickly.

  1. Demonstrate Your Product or Services

Long gone are the days of having a “talking head” standing at your booth and lecturing attendees as they stop by. Today’s trade show attendees expect to be entertained as they’re informed. So while you should still have an employee act as a “booth host” to answer questions and greet people, a great way to gain interest is to have a live product demonstration taking place directly at your booth, if possible. This allows attendees to see first-hand what your business’s services and/or products can do for them. If a live product demonstration isn’t possible, consider creating and displaying a video that serves the same purpose.

  1. Have a System for Collecting Leads

One of the main goals of attending a trade show for your company should be collecting leads, which could very well turn into sales or even business partnerships down the road. Therefore, you’ll want to have a precise system in place for collecting leads (and make sure all of your employees in attendance are trained on collecting leads). One common way to go about this is to have attendees provide their contact information or even fill out a survey in exchange for a free promotional product (pen, flash drive, etc.).

  1. Don’t Forget to Follow Up Quickly

When exhibiting a booth at a trade show, the main goal should always be to generate qualified leads that will turn into future business for your company. Leads aren’t really worth much if you aren’t taking the time to nurture them. Ideally, you (or your employees) should be following up with leads within 24 hours of receiving them. You should never wait any longer than a few days to follow-up, whether it be by e-mail or even a friendly phone call. Be sure to factor in the time and effort required to follow-up with leads when planning your staffing needs for the trade show itself.

  1. Invest in the Right Promotional Products

Most trade show attendees will expect your booth to have some promotional products available to give away. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should order 1,000 mouse pads with your company name and logo on them. Be mindful of the promotional products you buy to ensure you get the best return on your investment; it’s helpful to think of your promotional products as a form of advertising for your company. In order for them to be effective, people need to actually use the products. This means you’ll want to carefully consider both your audience and your industry to come up with product ideas that’ll be most useful. Some popular items these days include:


  • USB flash drives
  • Clothing items (t-shirts, etc.)
  • Beverage containers
  1. Create a Schedule Ahead of Time

Last but not least, take the time to create a detailed schedule and share it with your employees before the event. You want to make sure that each employee gets regularly scheduled meal breaks throughout each day of the trade show; this will help to avoid burnout and ensure that your employees are energized and alert.

Planning for a Trade Show

There’s a lot to keep in mind when planning for your company’s attendance at an industry trade show. From selecting the right employees for the task to picking out an attractive banner display, all of these small tips can add up to make a big difference in the outcome of your booth. From there, your business can enjoy the greatest return on investment for each trade show you attend.

For more ideas on how to improve your trade show display and experience, visit the Northwest Creative Imaging blog!

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The Top 8 Most Attended Conventions

top 8 most attended conventionsIf you are trying to figure out where to show your company booth, start at the top of the
list. You want a trade show that stands out and attracts large numbers of exhibitors and attendees. That helps a company and their presenters balance time effort and impact.

If you have a plan in place for what to do with leads, then do some research about America’s best trade shows. Starting here:


This expo runs once every three years in Las Vegas. The next expo date is March 7 – 11, 2017; the 2014 show attendees were just shy of 130,000. The CONEXPO – CON/AGG is the world’s industry show for construction industries.  Products, oversize equipment and technological developments are on display at this industry-run show. Other related programs run simultaneously with the trade show including training and education, and industry certification classes. It’s a big deal. Approximately 24% of attendees are international.

2. Farm Progress

The Farm Progress trade show is the world’s largest outdoor farm show and the next one will take place on Sept. 1 – 3, 2015 in Decatur, IL. The 2014 show had 150,000 attendees. The show hosts products, services, live events and technology related to the agriculture industry, farms and ranches around the U.S. Crops are planted specifically for the show’s educational events and demonstrations.

3. Husker Harvest Days

This trade show is related to the Farm Progress show. It is going to be held next, Sept. 15 – 17, 2015 in Grand Island, NE which is the show’s permanent site. Husker Harvest Days is held yearly showcasing vendors on an 80-acre field, cattle handling, live-action demonstrations in the field and a Ride ‘n Drive area. The focus for this show is on working farms and products. The 2014 show had 100,000 attendees.

4. International CES

The International CES trade show is held in Las Vegas; with the next show Jan. 6 – 9, 2016. The show attracts over 160,000 attendees from around the world for the consumer technology industry. It’s impressive and makes headlines every year. New emerging technologies, innovative designs and the entire spectrum related to technology advancement is found at this show. At times, CES is reminiscent of science fiction, and proves to be a unique cross-section of innovators and business people.

5. IMTS – International Manufacturing Technology Show

The IMTS is held every two years at McCormick Place, Chicago; the upcoming show is Sept. 12 – 17, 2016. This show hosts 114,000 attendees from around the world. The focus of this show is to find new solutions for better manufacturing production and productivity with displays and demonstrations of equipment and tools.

6. PACK EXPO International

PACK EXPO has several trade shows, the largest is held in every two years at McCormick Place in Chicago hosting 48,000 attendees in the packaging industry. Attendees can see the biggest companies in the industry showing new developments in packaging materials, containers, components, and machinery in packaging, processing and converting. You might be surprised how broad the reach of this trade show; almost every product comes in some type of packaging.

7. January Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market

The January Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market is the largest gift and home trade show in the U.S. with over 90,000 attendees. The show features retail industry brands in several categories including gifts, clothing, wares, home furnishings, accessories and jewelry. The next show is scheduled for Jan. 12 – 19, 2016 at AmericasMart Atlanta. It’s timed to allow the best planning throughout the year.

8. SEMA Show

The SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is held yearly in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year’s show is Nov. 3 – 6, 2015, however, it’s not open to the general public. In 2014, 145,000 attendees viewed demonstrations, displays and products, components and tools in the automotive specialty products industry. Attendees come from around the world to learn about new developments in the auto industry’s aftermarket.

If the above shows don’t include your area of expertise (though take a look you might be surprised) find the biggest shows in your industry and get involved. It’s important to be seen and remembered with a great booth. Northwest Creative Imaging works with manufacturers in cities across the US giving us the ability to supply portable trade show booths to the most popular trade shows in a short timeline!

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Is Technology a Must-Have for Your Trade Show Booth?

Customers arrive at trade shows with the hope of finding new fantastic brands that can address their needs. In years past, all that was required to have an outstanding trade show booth was a quality printer and a pen and pencil to write down contact information for those interested in your company. Today, technology has begun to play an increasingly prominent role, leading many to wonder how necessary these latest advancements are for success.

Why Technology Is Critical

trade show booth technologyToday’s consumers live in a digital world. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, which is nearly double the number who had any device in 2011. People use their smartphones for nearly everything. From looking up information about real estate to searching for jobs, smartphones and similar devices have come to dominate an impressive amount of consumer life.

The importance of the Internet is also easy to see when it comes to engaging with brands. More than 80% of people will go online to research brands before making a purchase decision. Digital communication from the consumer is used to establish connections with brands, ask questions, and learn more.

Given the prevalence of technology in consumer shopping patterns, it is clear that these advancements play a vital role in the success of a tradeshow. If brands want to fully engage their visitors and customers, they must work with them in-person and online.

Engaging Customers With Their Own Technology

Customers today want to engage with the brands they love, and there is no better way to do that then by using social media and the technology that your customers likely already have on them when they arrive at the trade show.

Use social media channels – as many as you can do well and often – to interact with potential attendees and introduce them to your brand, encourage existing fans to come to the show, and generally make your brand well-known before the event begins. With this work ahead of time, when people come across your logo and representatives at the show, it can be more like greeting an old friend.

Promote your company and your display booth:

  • Write content to let people know about the upcoming event
  • Create games and puzzles related to the show – e.g., those that approach you at the show with the answer receive a prize
  • Post pictures of your team preparing your display

These types of posts will help build knowledge and excitement about the upcoming show and your part in it, while also encouraging engagement and interaction, which is key to developing relationships.

Use The Customers’ Technology Throughout The Event

Once people arrive at your booth, make it desirable and easy for them to post about your booth and your company. Quick Response (QR) codes do still have a place in trade shows. If you have development money, your own app can be better. This you might consider if trade shows are a regular thing, more than once or twice a year. Trade shows often develop their own apps, so make sure you ask and submit your information early and often to get visible inclusion. Either QR Codes or an app allows visitors to access exclusive content or special free content, such as a free ebook or white paper for tradeshow attendees.

Other elements of your approach to consider include

  • A branded photo backdrop to encourage people to pose for group shots with your name and logo on them, alongside the convention name.
  • Establish a trade show hashtag for people to use and encourage conversations on Twitter about the event.
  • Regularly participate in the social media conversation throughout the show, updating people about your experiences.
  • Create scavenger hunts for attendees and require them to take pictures of the finds.
  • Have everything you present on paper also available digitally, such as brochures, and other content. Attendees only have so many hands.

Anything else that helps to bring people back to your booth and continues to encourage the conversation will be a great way to leverage digital communication.

Social Media To Keep In Touch

After the event, ask people to use social media to let you know about their impressions, and continue to offer some incentives, big or small or preferably a mixture of both.

Your company can also create follow up blog posts that describe your reactions and images from the event and ask your followers to let you know what they thought of the show. Reach out to those who connected with you through social media and personally thank them for stopping by your booth. You can also include extras, such as a video of the event on your website or YouTube page, for those who were unable to make it to the show.

Incorporating Technology Into The Display

Hop Up 10 foot straight with dimension kit 3

Adding a monitor to a backdrop is a great way to incorporate technology into your booth!

Customizing your display with some of the latest technology is an excellent way to attract attention and engage an audience. Short videos serve by providing demonstrations of your products and services and offering better traffic control; they can show for for newcomers to the booth while existing visitors finish with a different presentation. When used on websites, videos have been found to be remarkably valuable for companies. A video is worth an estimated 1.8 million words and helps to increase consumer understanding of your products and services by as much as 74%. By creating a professional and engaging video for your trade show – and presenting it at or above eye level – you can help leverage that power and bring in more customers.

You can include iPad stands or counters for people to naturally have a place to stop; you’ve just provided them a service and got them to stop.. If you have a variety of products or services, touchscreen videos allow people to select different products they want to see up close and in action. Technology gives you the tools to personalize the experience for each visitor so they can see and learn what they came for.

No tradeshow can be complete without incorporating some of the latest tech advancements into your booth. If you are considering new ways to connect with your potential customers online and to take your tradeshow experience to a higher level, consider using some of the above ideas for keeping your company name and reputation memorable.

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What You Need to Know About Trade Shows in 2015

Social media, blogging, email marketing and YouTube clips present so many opportunities for businesses to grow, and it might seem like the best investment when it comes to generating leads. In fact, all of this falls under ‘content marketing’ and it really works. But in the rubric of face-to-face communications, nothing beats marketing your business at conferences, trade shows and business events.

A Winning Formula2015 trade shows

Conferences, events and trade shows remain a tried and true part of the B2B sales funnel. According to a recent survey from marketing systems resource Software Advice, events and trade shows contribute to business by providing both the most leads and the highest quality leads. Of 200 marketers surveyed, here’s what they found:

  • 77% stated that events and trade shows generate a “very high” or a “somewhat high” quantity of leads.
  • 82% of the marketers surveyed said that events and trade shows generate leads of “good” or “excellent” quality.

These numbers likely reflect customers’ preferences to have personal interactions with specific people at companies, as well as the opportunity to talk business with others in their field in a stimulating, compact environment.

Planning Wins the Game

The high-tech skeptics might wonder why to pursue the costs and planning involved with an on-site trade show marketing strategy. They think about the costs associated with preparing materials, shipping booths and signage, booth staffing requirements and figuring out how to capture leads. It must make sense to avoid the headache altogether, right?

But when trade show planning comes together with social media execution, it can be B2B marketing gold. The success of your business trade show marketing largely depends on how well you plan ahead and how thoroughly you’ve thought it through. To get the most out of your event, you should plan a detailed strategy that clearly outlines what you wish to accomplish. Of course, it’s important to invest in the proper materials and training so you can put on the best event, conference, or trade show and attract more quality leads to your business, too.

When planning the best strategy for generating a lot of high quality leads, ask the following:

  • What are my goals for the trade show?
  • What is my target audience?
  • What is the best way to engage leads?
  • Do I have a lead-nurturing strategy in place?

Answering these questions well before your event will greatly impact your performance, and more importantly, how many high quality leads you generate. For instance, will you start by targeting new leads, or by trying to get in touch with current prospects?

Going after current customers is one of the most effective ways to get business, according to Jenny Vance, President of LeadJen. She offers some helpful advice in this article for marketers wishing to get the most out of events:

  • Use trade shows to connect with current customers and active opportunities. That, says Vance, is one of the most effective ways to get business.
  • Leverage the urgency of the conference to effectively communicate and receive responses from your leads.
  • Thoroughly follow up with prospects before and after the event is over.

These pieces of advice will help you think more critically about your approach for generating leads. It’s important to have the right mindset and strategy before, during, and after any event.

If you’re still unsure whether you should set aside more time and money for the annual trade show, webinar, or other event, Software Advice has some more numbers that might influence your decision:

  • 45% of marketers say live demos generate “excellent” quality leads.
  • 42% of marketers say live demos generate “good” quality leads.
  • 92% of marketers use some form of video content for lead generation.
  • Videos are commonly cited as producing very high lead volumes.
  • Print magazines heavily influence the purchasing decisions of leads.
  • Of the 200 marketers surveyed, 63% held a director-level title or above.

When trade show display visitors have an excellent real-time experience with your company at a trade conference, they are more likely to follow-up partner with you on their business. There’s no better way to accomplish this than setting yourself up for success with the appropriate resources.

When you’ve carefully crafted your strategy for success, come to Northwest Creative Imaging Displays for all your display needs. Made in the USA, our banner stands, pop-up displays, event tents, and much more will help you grab attention and attract more business during your event. We accommodate booths of all sizes, so whatever your requirements may be, Northwest Creative Imaging Displays will make sure you get the most out of your trade show investment.

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5 Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Materials in Your Trade Show Display

Going green with trade show displays is a growing trend among businesses. Companies want to help the environment and make a difference. They are seeking different products for trade show booths, and are using criteria around these points:

– Is it made of recycled products?eco friendly trade show booths

– Can it be recycled at the end of its life?

– Is its source material sustainable?

Going green can help businesses gain tangible and intangible benefits while helping the environment. It’s your company’s chance to re-think the items you take from show to show to reduce your carbon footprint, decrease your marketing costs, and enhance your company profile. An eco-friendly trade show strategy can bring you the five following benefits that last beyond a single show.

1) Meet your Corporate Social Responsibility Goals

Many businesses are pursuing an environmental stance in their social responsibility programs. After all, a greener earth is good for everyone, right? Owners realize that eco-friendly business practices can help improve their local environments and contribute to global greening efforts. If your company is thinking green, make sure to include environmentally-friendly materials in your trade show displays throughout the year.

2) Score Points with Customers and Clients

Consumers like to buy from businesses that make quality products and also provide a positive impact on the environment, according to a recent study. The more your products are shown to be good solutions AND show commitment to helping the planet, the more impact you’ll have with these customers and clients. People won’t buy an inferior product or pay too much for a similar service they can get much cheaper elsewhere, but close competitors need every edge they can get. Make sure you tout your green display and business practices at your booth. Try a few of these strategies:

Don’t go overboard with detailed environmental facts. Just let visitors at your booth know you are environmentally conscious.

3) Reduce your Costs

Having a focus on an eco-friendly trade show display can save money, too. This could be accomplished by using lighter materials (saves in shipping) and electronic devices for orders, presentations and more, rather than all the printed paper brochures to bring to conferences. Other ways could include:

  • Converting to energy efficient light bulbs, which last longer and save electrical expenses
  • Using smart devices, tablets and kiosks for sales presentations – this reduces the cost of printing and shipping massive amounts of printed company brochures, product info sheets and more
  • Rethinking your show giveaways. Instead of stress balls, key chains and flying discs with your company logo on them, why not look to eco-friendly giveaways? You can find items online from eco product vendors like organic cotton tote bags, recycled plastic items and other environmentally-minded items.

4) Increase your Media Coverage

Blogs, industry websites and business publications are always looking for interesting stories. If you can provide a news angle to your eco-friendly trade show display, you’ll increase the likelihood of generating more media coverage. In addition to providing information on why you’re using bamboo flooring, or low-intensity lighting, provide some general environmental statistics to help bloggers and reporters. Offer background info about de-forestation to underscore how valuable it can be for businesses using renewable materials.

5) Attract Eco-Friendly employers

If you’re competing with other businesses for top-quality workers, the more personal satisfaction you can give employees, the more likely you will win the recruiting wars. Don’t just share your green efforts with clients and the media. Let your employees know how you’re contributing to making their world better. Include this information during interviews to impress potential hires. Make sure your website touts your green initiatives and create a PR campaign so your employees know they work for a green company.

Let the experts at Northwest Creative Imaging help you with ideas for reducing the carbon footprint of your trade show display. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of NWCI’s experts today.

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Why Interactive Displays Are a Must for Trade Shows

Interactive displays are now a vital part of the success of trade show exhibitors. Hanging banners and static displays just aren’t cutting it anymore. More exhibitors are hanging large-scale commercial signage monitors in their booths, and running the latest A/V content for their customers and prospects. Digital signage and interactive screens can be terrific magnets that attract visitors during a conference or event.

In addition, trade show exhibitors are also using a mix of online and offline elements, including smartphone apps, geo-location services, social media interactivity, and more to connect their presence at a trade show with interested attendees and visitors. These interactive elements help connect with trade show attendees before, during, and after the event.

Let’s look at the types of interactive elements that might fit best for your trade show audience.

Types of Interactivity

The types of interactive elements appropriate for your trade show activity depend upon your chosen industry. Your goal for the trade show can spotlight the product or service that you supply. For example, if you sell food consumables, you may want to hand out free samples so that visitors can explore the taste. That’s a low-tech form of show interactivity, but it’s also one of the key ways to sway a buyer at a food trade show.

Conversely, if your industry is connected with mobile phone technology, your trade show display at an event like the upcoming  Super Mobility Week will lean more heavily toward smartphone apps and web connectivity elements in the booth.  The level of interactivity that your company is hoping to achieve should be connected with your level of customer and prospects. For instance, if you’re displaying farm machinery and equipment for modern farms, your trade show display will likely include a level of technology engagement via tablets and phones that make sense to your customers.

Here are some components of trade show interactivity that you might want to consider for your business.


More companies are choosing to stream their trade show booth proceedings over the course of a trade show. Using a webcasting service for a trade show can engage customers and prospects who can’t travel to the show. A webcasting service can allow your team to “star” in its own trade show display production. They can stream video from the exhibit hall and activities around your booth to a dedicated channel on YouTube or your own website. A webcast is perfect for showing product demonstrations, interviews with company executives or industry leaders, and fun activities with visitors to your trade show booth.

interactive displays

Interactive Touch Screens

A simple, yet fun way to get potential customers into your booth is to provide them with interactive touch screens. That could mean phones, tablets, or even TVs. With that technology, you can create a tailored interface that visually showcases everything your company has to offer without drowning potential customers in endless content. Don’t underestimate the thrill that an adult will experience while interacting with something that seems to be aimed at youth. The inner-child in them will likely take over and explore the virtual world you created.

Group Demonstrations

Allowing groups of visitors to get a hands-on experience will ultimately make them more comfortable with your product. It is recommended that you announce specific times during the day that you will conduct the product demonstrations so you are able to build up anticipation and your prospects will be able to plan ahead. It is also recommended that you use a seasoned salesperson with an outgoing, fun attitude, to not only put potential customers at ease, but earn their trust and get them to believe in your products.


The goal here isn’t for you to create an unbeatable, carnival-style game or a game so simple a baby could win at it. You want your booth’s visitors to be challenged but to ultimately find success. You want your game to tie in your business. An easy way to do that is to involve your social media platforms. Make the players visit your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram channels to advance in the game. Give them trivia that relates to your industry or send them on a scavenger hunt so they will return to your booth later to redeem a prize. There are dozens of simple games to set up that will draw plenty of positive attention to your booth.

Large-Scale Video

One of the biggest trends in trade show displays is the use of a video wall to seamlessly display large-scale presentations. Companies are pushing their content built for the show onto the video walls and making a lasting impression with booth visitors.

Lead Retrieval Systems

Another great way to build up the level of interactivity at your trade show is to use an automated lead retrieval system. These devices can normally be rented from the show organizer; the cost for a 3-day show will be anywhere from $250-$350 for the rental. Or your company can decide to purchase your own lead retrieval device ahead of time. These tools allow your trade show booth team to scan the attendees’ badge instead of just getting a business card for follow-up. There is a great deal of encoded information on attendee badges, like titles, interest in specific products and services, and levels of budget authority. Having this information in your database from an attendee badge scan can be a great opportunity to follow up with a sensible marketing pitch a few weeks after the show.

Go Wild and Have Fun!

Sometimes the most bizarre ideas are the ones that people remember the most. Whether you have a piano that plays as you step on it, or you have an interactive light show, people will be drawn to your booth. You must remember that half the battle is piquing people’s interest, so being creative is a great way to get people talking and asking about your company.

Don’t be afraid to be bold and outstanding; if necessary, go “over the top.” The old saying is that all publicity is good publicity, so think big. Make your trade show booth the one that stands out from the crowd. Remember that, in your particular industry, almost all of the other booths will be your competitors! You need to make absolutely certain that the booth that visitors remember after they have left is yours.

For more creative ideas for your next booth display, consider contacting Northwest Creative Imaging, a specialist business dedicated to helping your company win big at your next trade show.

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5 Big Trade Shows in Las Vegas Fall 2014

Las Vegas is in the top 3 U.S. cities when it comes to popular U.S. city destinations for large trade shows and conferences. According to Cvent, Vegas ranked #3 just behind Chicago and Orlando in popular trade show destinations in 2013. Its large hotel capacity, amazing entertainment, warm weather and reputation as “Sin City” all help to keep money flowing into its city coffers. Another study showed that in 2012, Las Vegas hosted 60 of the top 250 trade shows – that’s nearly a quarter of all trade shows combined.5 Big Trade Shows in Las Vegas

Top trade shows like their attendees to mix business with pleasure; it’s good for the local economy as well as for trade show enjoyment. Here are five big trade shows coming up in fall 2014 in Las Vegas that should be on your calendar if you’re in these industries.

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week

Sands Expo & Convention Center, Nov. 4 – 11

The global automobile aftermarket is a huge industry, representing nearly $400 billion in annual sales. Over 100,000 car managers, shop operators and auto chains professionals from around the globe come to Las Vegas for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. This is the show to connect with key influencers and decision makers in the auto target market. Attendees will network with auto shop retailers, car jobbers, wholesale parts distributors, service sector executives and many other auto-focused professionals.

National Association of Convenience Stores Annual Meeting & Exposition

Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 7-10

If you’re involved in convenience store retail, then this is the show to attend. The National Association of Convenience Stores’ Annual Meeting & Exposition brings together over 20,000 attendees who own and operate convenience store and fuel centers. Exhibitors will show off new products and retailer options at their trade show displays to help the owners increase sales. These retailers serve millions of consumers across all demographics.

G2E: Global Gaming Expo 2014

Sands Expo & Convention Center, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2

A gaming trade show in Vegas? Win-Win! Over 17,000 people are expected to attend this 3-day expo to improve their knowledge about gaming processes and to get customers to spend more money. This conference provides attendees with information about ways to attract Millennials to gaming, behavioral trends of American gamblers, “Big Data” analytics and cybersecurity.

Solar Energy Trade Show 2014

Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 20-23

If you’re looking for an event that focuses on innovative technologies, the Solar Energy Trade Show should fill the bill. More than 700 exhibitors representing the forefront of green energy will be there. Learn how they promote their solar technologies or panel installations to companies and the expected 15,000-plus attendees from over 75 countries.

Specialty Graphics Annual National Convention

Las Vegas Convention Center, October 22-24

Learn about communications and/or get your message in front of the graphics community at this trade show attended by 23,000 industry professionals. There’s little doubt that this show will have some of the most innovative and effective trade show display signage based on who the exhibitors are – graphics professionals.

To attend these shows, check out the calendar at – it lets you search for shows sorting by venue, date, number of attendees or number of exhibitors. And if you’re exhibiting at these shows, let the experts at Northwest Creative Imaging help you with trade show display ideas. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of NWCI’s experts today.

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A Noobs Guide To San Diego Comic Con 2014

San Diego Comic Con 2014(July 24-27) is expected to once again see over 100,000 people attend this world renowned convention. Of the attendees, many are veterans with years of attendance under their belts. For others, Comic Con 2014 will be the first time experiencing this extravaganza of an event. For those conference rookies, this infographic provides a humorous San Diego Comic Con Guide that will help you make the most of your time.



The sheer size of the San Diego Convention Center coupled with the never ending character of the event makes for endless sights to see. Not to mention all of the interactions to be had throughout the four day conference. As much as you may want to see it all, it would take a super hero effort to do so. With a bit of reconnaissance ahead of attending, you can scope out the best way to treat your experience.

Whether you are at Comic Con to network with industry insiders, meet with your favorite illustrator or to see and be seen by cosplayers, this guide will provide you with the lay of the land to enhance your experience.

For even more great stuff on the event, check out the Comic Con 2014 Insider’s Guide for specifics about this year’s conference.

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Benefits of a Trade Show App

Trade show apps are cost-effective, eco-friendly means of instantly communicating with and reaching out to consumers.  Apps are customizable and vary in terms of cost and functionality.  They can be used for everything ranging from data collection to lead generation.  Apps help trade shows stay relevant and keep in touch with consumers.

Getting Connected: There’s an App…

With the rise of mobile phones as the dominant connectivity device for people, it’s no surprise that dedicated apps on our phone are becoming more popular in business and personal circles. From apps for fitness and artistic endeavors, to apps for generating sales leads and business conversions, these tiny tech tools are connecting us daily with services, products and companies.  A couple of screen icons tapped and an amazing trove of information is at one’s fingertips.

Apple’s App Store recorded a record-breaking $10 billion in 2013 sales. That annual figure includes huge numbers of about 3 billion-plus downloads and over $1 billion in sales for December 2013 alone, according to Apple. Other sources report that new app businesses have created at least 500,000 U.S. jobs and are expected to grow to a $46 billion marketplace (from today’s $25 billion) by 2016.

Benefits of a Trade Show AppThe “apps for tradeshows” industry is growing fast. There are companies making tradeshow apps and even this year’s Winter Olympics has its own app, which is expected to cover nearly 100 medal events and stream over 1,000 hours of coverage. For tradeshow vendors, apps are literally golden tickets to having direct, immediate, and constant access to customers.

Benefits Beyond Access

Access is just one obvious benefit of using apps to promote your trade show. Then again, there are other avenues of access opened by social media. First, apps can be used on any technological device.  Most people use apps on their tablets and smartphones. Trade show apps are flexible enough to help a lot of users, but targeted to one platform, so it retains a sense of relevancy for end users.

Second, apps have multiple applications and benefits.  A few are:

  • Trade show maps: Apps have maps of trade show floors for vendors and customers to navigate and coordinate those gigantic spaces. This in turn facilitates more meaningful connections with targeted locations.
  • Updated info: People can get up-to-the-minute information via an app, whether it is a last-minute speaker line-up change or a promotional activity that requires action. Having the trade show can be an advantage over a social media update, which may not be seen by everyone.
  • Better connections: Apps help promote better connections between customers and vendors.  Some apps allow exhibitors to have their brochures directly uploaded and stored on the app, which means: (1) customers can get to the brochure with ease, with (2) no waste to the environment and (3) no extra paperwork to misplace.
  • Good lead generation: Apps can provide instant, easy, affordable lead generation that is readily accessible, along with storing business contact information from new trade show contacts.
  • Track schedules: People can track their schedules using the app.  Large trade shows with conferences and other activities can be difficult to navigate leaving vendors and consumers checking their itineraries for when and where they should be.
  • Apps beat paper waste: Cut down on waste by using an app to get organized in terms of communication, marketing, and making connections.
  • Customized apps:  Some apps let users build the app from the ground up; others allow for features to be added.

Amazing Apps

There are plenty of great apps specifically designed for users to augment and tailor to their own specific industries. Here are a few: (Check to see if these apps run on iOS or Android platforms, or both.)

  • Intellisale: This easy-to-use, customizable Lead Generation App gets permission from possible leads to allow for automatic e-mail campaigns.
  • QuickTapSurvey: Here’s an app that builds customer profiles. It’s perfect for market research, immediate customer feedback, capturing leads, and collecting face-to-face and kiosk data.
  • iLeads:, iLeads offers financial service product lead prospecting to help exhibitors identify the best prospective clients.
  • Event Board Mobile:  Feedback is critical to the future of trade show success; so this app focuses on feedback and surveys.
  • AppBaker:  This app is perfect for a smaller or DIY trade show. AppBaker is free to try and lets users build their own app from the ground up, test it, and then launch it.
  • A2z: Data is synced seamlessly between an event’s website and the customer’s mobile device thanks to this app.

There are endless opportunities and benefits in using apps to promote, support and build business at  trade shows.  By using an app, trade shows can guarantee interactive and engaging customer experiences along with instant, comprehensive feedback and lead generation.

Northwest Creative Imaging, LLC (NWCI) is an experienced company dedicated to bringing customers high-quality trade show materials to customers on any budget.  NWCI also prides itself on comprehensive customer service by providing assistance, guidance, and support from start to finish.  NWCI has extensive experience in both trade shows and manufacturing and understands the necessity to stay on top of current trends like having an app or using social media.  NWCI knows all the “tricks of the trade” show, and they don’t mind sharing them.

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Trade Show Highlight: Game Developers Conference

The Game Developers Conference is the premier conference and expo event in the game development industry.  Having celebrated its 25th year in 2011, the GDC is the longest-running and largest “professionals only” gaming conference worldwide, with last year’s show boasting over 23,000 attendees.  The March 17-21, 2014 conference in San Francisco promises to be another exciting event where attendees and exhibitors will have the opportunity to form career- advancing partnerships and gain inspiration for future developments.

It’s Game Time at the Gaming Developers Conference

What started as a casual rendezvous among 25 developers nearly three decades ago has morphed into the largest and longest-running “professionals-only” game industry event. Now, the Game Developers Conference® brings together over 23,000 programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio experts, and business leaders together to discuss and learn about all things gaming.  For five days, these gaming enthusiasts take in informative sessions, lectures, panels, tutorials, boot camps and roundtable discussions.

The 2014 Game Developers Conference will be held from Monday, March 17 – Friday March 21 with the expo taking place March 19 – March 21. Gaming professionals from all industries have been showing up at the yearly event. In 2013, the breakdown of gaming pros came from the following areas:

  • Visual arts  and Game design
  • Programming / engineering
  • Audio Production
  • Business Management
  • Other

About the Conference: Tracks, Sessions & Who Attends

Trade Show Highlight: Game Developers ConferenceIn its infancy, GDC was primarily about computer games, though it has since expanded to cover a plethora of gaming platforms (in addition to computers) including:

  • Gaming consoles
  • Handheld devices
  • Mobile Gaming
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Online Gaming

The GDC conference sessions are separated into seven tracks and eight summits to ensure that each session is jam-packed with relevant information for any gaming professional. Here are the tracks:

  • Advocacy Track
  • Audio Track
  • Business, Marketing, & Management Track
  • Design Track
  • Production Track
  • Programming Track
  • Visual Arts Track

On the opening conference days (March 17-18), the GDC’s summits will seek to promote building communities in various specific gaming industry sectors.  The summits are:

  • AI Summit
  • Free to Play (F2P) Design & Business Summit
  • Game Narrative Summit
  • GDC Education Summit
  • Independent Games Summit
  • Localization Summit
  • QA Summit
  • Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit

A typical gaming show attendee has about six years of experience and 10 game titles under their belts.  Just over half of the attendees at last year’s show reported that the Expo Floor was the main reason for attending. The top four follow-up actions were:

  • Visiting an exhibitor’s website
  • Sending an e-mail
  • Requesting more information
  • Downloading a GDC Session from the GDC Vault

Sessions, tracks, and the expo provide a fulfilling experience for attendees leaving them more motivated and better connected after the week-long event.

Who to See

Given the scope of the conference and expo, dozens of experts are available to sit on each panel.  The GDC session scheduler and accompanying app ( allows conference attendees to save a seat in the sessions they wish to attend, including the #1ReasonToBe panel, which features:

  • Brenda Romero, award-winning game designer, artist , writer, and creative director
  • Lauren E. Scott, game designer
  • Colleen Macklin, game designer, associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design
  • Anna Kipnis, Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions
  • Diedra “Squinky” Kiai, artist and storyteller behind Dominique Pamplemousse
  • Leigh Alexander: Editor-at-large with Gamasutra
  • Laralyn McWilliams, Studio Design Director at The Workshop Entertainment

Attendee Passes

Prospective attendees can register via online, mail, or fax.  Individuals or groups may register; groups that register can mix and match popular passes and save 10% off the total pass purchase.  Of the six types of event passes, there are five available:

  • All Access Pass
  • Main Conference Pass
  • Summits, Tutorials, & Boot Camps Pass
  • Audio Track Pass
  • Expo Pass
  • Student Expo Pass (available Friday only)

Each pass offers different levels of access into the event; costs vary from $195 (expo) to $2,100 (all access).  Show hours are 10am-6pm Wednesday and Thursday, March 17/18, and 10am-3pm on Friday, March 19.

Exhibitor Details

Exhibitors who wish to register for the expo need to log into Exhibitor Portal (just click on “forgot password” for first-time users) or contact for assistance.

The Standard Booth available to exhibitors is an all-black 10’ x 10’ booth with a back and sidewall drape and a table skirt; the discount deadline ends February 24.  Additional services for features like:

  • Telecommunication and Internet
  • Computer and audiovisual
  • Floral and plant
  • Security
  • Photography
  • Lead retrieval information

Where to Stay

GDC Convention Housing Partners is the official housing company and facilitates making reservations online via the GD SF 2014 link or at  Over 40 hotels are providing discounted rates for the conference.  Guests can book, modify, or cancel hotel registrations at any time (note cancellation policies vary by hotel).  Listed among the 40 hotels are:

  • Adagio
  • Chancellor
  • Courtyard
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hilton Union Square
  • JW Marriott, Marriott Marquis, Marriott Union Square
  • Nikko
  • Weston St. Francis, Weston Market Street
  • InterContinental

The GDC is a premier event among game development professionals.  As the longest-running most high-profile gaming event, attendees and exhibitors are sure to make new, useful contacts that will elevate their careers and advance their collective and individual knowledge.

Northwest Creative Imaging, LLC (NWCI) is an online show trade show retailer with extensive experience in the trade show industry. NWCI offers a wide variety of high-quality trade show products suitable for any customer’s budget.  Additionally, NWCI provides comprehensive customer assistance and guidance before, during, and after a purchase.  In its continued support to customers, NWCI also shares information about upcoming tradeshow opportunities for its customers.

**Northwest Creative Imaging is not affiliated with the upcoming Game Developers Conference.**

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