Time Flies When You’re Preparing for IMTS


We’re at that time of year when IMTS seems so close because much of your planning is coming together. Some of you have already signed exhibit contracts, some are contemplating designs and some of you are just starting this stage.

At this point in time, all of you should be having meaningful discussions with designers and builders. This is when time starts to fly by. Before you know it we’ll all be together on McCormick Place’s show floor.

No matter what stage in the design process you’re currently in, I am more than happy to discuss exhibiting at IMTS with you. You’ll be able to find me at the exhibitor workshop in Chicago on January 21st if you would like to meet in person there. As always, you can reach out to me any time.

If you haven’t decided on attending any of the IMTS workshops around the US, I highly recommend it. They’re a free planning tool with great speakers.

The Best Advice I Can Give to IMTS Exhibitors

floorplan example

Visitors to trade shows like IMTS only have a few days to take in everything exhibitors have to offer. The average attendee only spends just over 9 hours actually visiting exhibits, giving you a very small window to grab their attention and keep it. Crowds, schedules, marketing clutter and mobile devices all take away from this vital time. If nothing else, my experience has taught me one thing: do not add to the chaos by overcrowding your exhibit with too many products or miscellaneous clutter.

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There’s No Reason Expo Attendees Shouldn’t Remember You


Imagine an exhibit that helps your products become the talk of the show. The design you’re imagining should incorporate signs that clearly identify your company from all angles on the show floor, display your products in a way that excite and challenge attendees and accurately reflect your marketing and sales objectives.

With cluttered show floors and packed schedules, it’s understandable why trade show attendees might have a hard time remembering what they saw, much less who they talked to. There’s no reason yours shouldn’t be remembered, though.

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Your Booth Size and Location Could be Costing You

When selecting booth spaces for your trade show program, an exhibitor must weigh the importance of the show vs. exhibiting costs. By increasing the size, location or configuration of your selection an exhibitor can maximize the benefits of attending important shows. The costs of upgrading are justified when you look at the increased exposure and impact a change in scenery could give your exhibit.

As an example, increasing the square footage from a typical 10’ x 20’ linear space to 20’ x 20’ island booth space can at least double or even quadruple your exposure to trade show audiences. Finding the most effective location, size and configuration for your exhibit only adds to the success brought by design, promotion, staff and other integral efforts. These are the kinds of options I regularly discuss with my exhibit clients.

The analysis below is easy to read and explains the ingredients to maximize your audience exposure and hopefully increase the quantity of qualified leads.

Analysis of exhibit size and configuration's effect on exposure and traffic

To further discuss ways to maximize your trade show benefits, please contact me.

EDE Wins a B2 Award of Excellence for Toyoda’s Trade Show Exhibit


I am pleased to announce that EDE’s exhibit for Toyoda has been recognized with an Award of Excellence by the Business Marketing Association in its Trade Show Exhibit Over 2,500 Sq. Ft category. As EDE’s representative for this project, I will be on hand at the ceremony on May 30th to accept the honor.

We knew the trade show exhibit would be noteworthy from the start. The strategy focused around deviating from the industry norm which took IMTS 2012 visitors by surprise. Instead of facing the large products outwards towards the main floor, we opted to face the machines inward and channeled attendees in through an internal corridor. This allowed the products, branding and booth staff to surround the visitors. Large signage, a second level with a hospitality room, meeting spaces and conference rooms, interactive product information displays and internal lighting all contributed to the success of the exhibit. Overall, Toyoda saw a 215% increase in booth traffic and a 170% increase in sales compared to the 2010 IMTS show.

To see pictures, please visit this portfolio page.

I look forward to networking with influential trade show and face to face communication professionals at the BLAZE Conference. Hope to see you there!


I attended the 2013 edition of BIO International Convention at McCormick Place this past week. There were many impressive exhibits and products, but one stood out to me in particular.

DSM’s booth was a colorful addition to the hall with an exhibit structure made of recyclable cardboard. It was green, it was eye-catching, it was simple and it was branded. I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures.


DMS at Bio 2103 Chicago

DMS at Bio 2103 Chicago side

Also worth noting is the global BMA conference Blaze. If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

James McElherne is the VP of Sales EDE Corporation, a Chicago exhibit company that designs and builds rental and custom trade show exhibits. Add me on and comment below.

Learning Retention Rates at Trade Shows

Many trade show exhibitors focus on visually standing out from the crowd. I cannot argue that the initial appeal of a booth is a pivotal factor in exhibit design. However, qualified leads do not only have to be drawn to a booth, but they need to remember qualities of the products after an exhausting trip. Exhibitors often rely on beliefs that the products will speak for themselves, but that should not be left up to chance among all the distractions and competition.

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Award Winning Green Exhibit

In 2008, I had the privilege to work with Armstrong Ceiling Systems to create an exhibit for USGBC’s Greenbuild that showcased their innovative green products. I helped create a greenhouse-inspired exhibit that was recognized by the Business Marketing Association for its excellence in green construction.

 armstrong case study

Armstrong USGBC Award Photo

James McElherne is the VP of Sales EDE Corporation, a Chicago exhibit company that designs and builds rental and custom trade show exhibits. Add me on and comment below.