The basic concept behind a trade show has always been to get as many buyers to buy a seller's product. The trade show as we know it today only emerged during the 1960's, when companies began to market their products specifically to agents of other companies. But the history of the trade show goes back to at least medieval Europe, when merchants would entice buyers into his or her booth and barter until both parties came to an agreement. Nowadays, specialized trade show booths can run the gamut from having scrolling banner stands next to the booth, to huge LCD screens, to tables full of "swag"-the ubiquitous free pens, stationery and t-shirts seen at almost every convention. Many companies try to outdo each other with bigger and bolder advertising to draw buyers in.

It may seem overwhelming to an outsider at first but many trade show displays are deceptively simple. Most use a type of display called a "pop-up" display that assembles in minutes, similar to a temporary tent the average person uses on a hot summer's day to obtain shade in his or her backyard. Less than a decade ago, most trade show displays were completely custom built and made of fabric and laminate. These displays could be cumbersome to transport and set up, not to mention heavy! Today, trade show booths features mostly manufactured materials with high impact graphics and custom elements, such as shelving.

Yet even if a company has the fanciest trade show display at the convention, the company still needs to cater to its target audience. Knowing a certain group's geography, motivations and product needs will help a farming supply company sell farm equipment in Iowa rather than New York City, for example. A company's banner stands next to the booth could feature combines harvesting a field of wheat. If it is a cosmetic company, a woman could be applying lipstick while looking seductive. The banner could also be something as simple as a motto, or a list of things the company sells.

But why use such possibly garish displays? Remember, it is all about getting that "presence" and "pop" that drives buyers to THAT company's booth instead of the company next door. Brightly lit, well planned and eye-catching trade show displays will also attract much more people than dim, dark, or cluttered spaces. The person running the trade show booths will also wish to plan his or her booth to maximize as much space as possible while minimizing traffic snarls. No one likes having to shove many people aside or knock over a couple banner stands to glimpse at what a company offers. A "bad" location, such as the far corner of the convention hall, may also not entice as many buyers as hoped for.

In the end, trade show displays are what give a company that extra helping hand-the equivalent of a person holding a microphone and screaming "Yoo-hoo! Buy from us! Over here!" Having a great looking design, a decent location and getting both representative and buyer excited about the product will contribute to a company's success.

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Find out more about trade show displays. Get more information on trade show booths and banner stands.