6 Expert Tips for Exhibiting on the MODEX Trade Show Floor
MODEX is the premier supply chain experience trade show. In 2022, it will feature 850+ exhibitors and 100+ free education sessions from industry leaders at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.
MODEX provides the opportunity to showcase your supply chain technology, software, or solution directly in front of potential buyers. Whether you’re looking to build awareness around a new offering or find buyers and make sales, MODEX is a must-attend event for anyone in the supply chain space.
As seasoned exhibitors, we’re breaking down six tips for success when exhibiting at the MODEX trade show. If you’re looking for info on a specific step of the process, use these links to jump down through the blog:
- Nab a Prime Location
- Stay One Step Ahead
- Build Excitement With Marketing
- Create a Detailed Installation Schedule
- Maximize Your Impact at MODEX
- Repurpose Trade Show Assets Post-Show
1. Nab a Prime Location
When choosing your MODEX exhibit space, you may be told that any location is a good location. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true – especially at a huge show full of impressive machinery.
What Is the Ideal Exhibit Location at MODEX?
If your location is too close to the entrance, attendees will walk right past. But if you’re too far back, they may not prioritize walking through your area. The ideal exhibit location at the MODEX trade show is on one of the “power aisles”. These aisles are where attendees naturally make their first turn and will give you the best opportunity of being seen.
If you’re new to the scene and can’t get a spot on one of the power aisles, spend some time getting to know the venue. Do your research, get to know the lay of the land, and talk with people who have exhibited or attended in the past to see where the next best spot for your business is.
If you’re stuck with a location you don’t love, you’ll need to rely on the creativity of your exhibit to be seen. Use lighting, music, pre-show marketing (more on that later), and/or large exhibit installations – anything captivating that will make attendees curious enough to head your way.
So How Do I Get a Good Exhibit Location at MODEX?
Now that you know the prime location for your MODEX exhibit, you’ll need to navigate the selection process to get the best space possible.
The location selection process is based on points. Points are earned based on the years you have exhibited at MODEX or ProMat, the size of the space you purchase, and attending other relevant conferences and events. The number of points you have determines your position in the queue for the selection process.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic way to jump the queue, but here are a few tips we’ve picked up over the years for optimizing your MODEX trade show location:
- Exhibitors will inevitably drop and leave empty spaces. Being flexible with the size of your exhibit can help you get bumped into one of those spaces.
- If you acquire or merge with another company, you may be able to leverage their existing points even if your company is new to MODEX.
- Know your industry landscape and pay attention to your competitors. You’ll want to be the first to call the show if you hear someone is dropping out.
- Being friendly to show staff can go a long way. Kindness, respect, and a positive attitude are key to getting what you want out of any trade show experience.
Since ProMat and MODEX alternate years, space selection can start up to a year and a half before the show – so start planning!
2. Stay One Step Ahead
Staying ahead of the game when planning for the MODEX trade show not only alleviates headaches – it can save you money, too. Here are our tips for scheduling and planning for MODEX.
- Start planning as early as possible! Start by defining your goals for the show and setting a budget. Then move into planning your exhibit, travel, team, and more. There is no such thing as being too prepared!
- Hit early deadlines and save! If you can stay on top of your planning and get everything submitted early to MODEX, they’ll offer you additional savings on your purchase. The discounts change based on the year and how much space you need, but historically we’ve saved between 5-20% each year.
- Ask to move in early! The move-in process can be incredibly stressful, but many shows (MODEX included) have some flexibility to move in early if you ask. Splitting up your installation over several days can maximize your straight time hours and save you money. It can also help the whole process go more smoothly because it provides extra time to deal with any installation issues.
3. Build Excitement With Marketing
Advertising before and during the show is one of the best ways to create buzz around your exhibit, especially if you don’t have an ideal location on the MODEX trade show floor.
Get your audience excited with an email campaign that teases the most exciting parts of your exhibit. Send VIP access or gift/raffle tickets to your target prospects to encourage them to stop by your MODEX booth. And, advertise your exhibit and attendance through your existing marketing strategy, whether that’s with social media, paid search ads, or a direct mail campaign.
We recommend launching trade show marketing campaigns one to two months before the show. It’s early enough that you won’t get lost in the pre-show shuffle, but not so early that attendees will forget about you by the time of the show.
No matter what type of pre-show marketing you do, make sure you can track your results so you can understand what worked and what didn’t for the next time around.
Marketing at the Show
When it comes to show-provided marketing, it’s all about standing out from the crowd. That’s why we typically don’t encourage clients to advertise alongside tons of other names like on lanyards or show signage. If you do opt for any of the show-provided advertising opportunities, be sure that they’re on-brand and that they allow you to stand out from your competition.
4. Create a Detailed Installation Schedule
The best way to ensure a smooth exhibit installation on the MODEX trade show floor is to account for every detail with a schedule. It will ensure that everyone knows what needs to be accomplished to achieve the end goal. Your schedule should include:
- Names and contact information of everyone involved in the installation process, whether they’re on your team, your exhibit designer’s team, or the show’s team
- Detailed descriptions of the work to be completed by each person at each time, planning for dependencies (e.g. carpet must go down before exhibit elements can be placed)
- Any key times or goals that the team must hit (e.g. prep work for an outside vendor or large delivery)
- Ground rules and handling instructions for those helping who aren’t familiar with your exhibit
Exhibit installation rarely goes as planned, so having this schedule as a baseline will help you hit key deadlines even if you have to resort to plan B (or G or Z). We also suggest creating a 1-2 page info sheet including key people to reach out to in case of emergency.
Finally, be kind to everyone working to get your MODEX exhibit installed. They work incredibly hard to ensure your success at the show and don’t always get the appreciation they deserve. Something as simple as buying your team lunch or handing out some free swag can go a long way.
5. Maximize Your Impact at MODEX
The MODEX trade show floor features a mix of companies in the supply chain industry, but most exhibits feature massive pieces of machinery. While they’re impressive to look at, they can get old after hours of browsing the show. Here are our tips for standing out on the show floor.
Find Inspiration Everywhere
Many of our best exhibits over the years have taken inspiration not from other trade show exhibits, but from experiences out in the real world. For example, MHS Global’s exhibits over the years have been inspired by an experiential museum in Italy, a distillery tour, and more.
Don’t limit your MODEX exhibit to what everyone else is doing – dream up something unique that attendees will tell stories about long after the show is over.
Find an Amazing Exhibit Partner
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the value of an exhibit designer and partner when it comes to your show floor experience. At EDE, we get to know our clients deeply, so that we can dream up something that inspires and excites them. We take a deeper look at the solution you offer to understand what makes it significant or unique. And, we’re not done until you love your exhibit concept – we’ll keep brainstorming until it feels right for you and your team.
When it comes to on-site assistance, EDE is there at every turn. Even with small exhibits, things can go wrong quickly. Having a team who will go to the ends of the Earth for you makes a massive difference!
Make it Fun
For many attendees, trade shows mean long days in an unfamiliar city. If you can make your exhibit fun, you’re sure to stand out in their mind.
When it comes to your overall MODEX exhibit concept, explore engaging and memorable ways to show what your machinery can do. For example, MHS Global created an exhibit with a built-in game. They then used their machinery to deliver the prize to the winner by following the most efficient path possible. Showing off your solution in an innovative way is what MODEX is all about – and, consider offering other sources of fun, like coffee, drinks, music, and entertainment.
Lead Educational Sessions and More
One of the best ways to be seen at the MODEX trade show is to be a part of an educational seminar, round table, or podcast. These endeavors can help you tell your company’s story, show your industry knowledge, and tease where your company’s innovations are heading next.
6. Repurpose Trade Show Assets Post-Show
During the hustle and bustle of exhibit dismantle, you may be tempted to tell your team to pack everything just as it arrived. But, there are a few other considerations you may want to make.
First, we recommend having a detailed dismantle schedule just like you did for installation. While the pressure may be lower, your exhibit must be dismantled carefully and packaged properly into your custom storage crates. This is also a good time to discuss how you want leads from the show delivered and how you’ll be following up with each of them.
Next, consider your upcoming trade show schedule. By packing up your MODEX exhibit strategically (which requires pre-show planning), you can save yourself time and money at the storage warehouse and during installation at the next show.
You may also want to consider if there are any exhibit elements you’d like to ship back to your company headquarters. Assets like a logo installation or custom screen can be used anywhere, from your main lobby to a conference room. Using exhibit assets beyond the trade show floor can help you get better value and utilization of your investment.
Looking to up your game at MODEX or ProMat? Contact us to see how we can help.
Thank you to EDE’s Account Executive Donald Seilheimer and MHS Global’s Marketing Manager Lauren Pedley for their contributions to this blog!