Three Keys to a Successful Trade Show

February 20, 2015
Whitney Rodeffer

Featured in Muncie Power Quarterly, Issue 1, 2015

Muncie Power Products participates in up to 20 trade shows each year, so it’s no surprise that the team putting them together has it down to a science. George Halleck and Nancy Ettel offer their expertise from 28 years combined experience on what it takes to make a trade show successful.

Details, details, details

The centerpiece of any trade show appearance is the display booth. But before the booth can be set up at the exhibit site, there is much to be done. Booth space must be reserved, electrical and Internet services ordered. There are also show credentials, lead retrieval services, freight logistics, furniture, carpet, drayage and cleaning services that need to be ordered. The longer you wait to order any of these, the greater the costs. But perhaps one of the biggest challenges is scheduling hotel rooms and coordinating travel, Nancy notes.

Some hotels are booked two years in advance. But even an early reservation cannot save you from the occasional complication. “One year we had reservations and a month before the show, we found out the hotel would be closing. We eventually found rooms, but it wasn’t easy.” It is also critical to coordinate with the booth staff regarding new booth features, products displayed, lead retrieval systems, Internet access and any additional materials that will be used. During the show, Muncie Power’s marketing staff remain in the booth to assist customers, directing them to appropriate products or display features that meet their specific needs. 

Muncie Power often sponsors trade shows, which comes with a host of other requirements and deadlines. There are ads in trade publications to be placed, logos and information about the company to submit.

Be flexible

Muncie Power’s new booth can be adjusted to fit several booth sizes from 200 to 2,000 square feet. Being adaptable is key, George says. For each show, he has to determine what products we are going to display. “We pick and choose from about 70,” he says, “gearing the products toward the type of show it is.” Transportation of display products has been made easier with the help of an in-house 3D printer. Display pieces produced with the printer now weigh a fraction of the actual products and they look “just like the real deal.”

Be there

We attend each trade show from the first day of set up (it takes about three days to set up the booth) until the last crate is packed. “It’s important to be there so that if a problem arises, it can be taken care of immediately,” said George. He recalled a show when upon arrival, they were told that Muncie Power would be a part of several other corporate displays. That meant more materials needed to be created and printed…fast. “I was on a first-name basis with everyone at Kinko’s,” George said with a laugh.


George Halleck - Vice President-International Marketing Manager

George Halleck began his career at Muncie Power Products working in the shop at Pershing, progressing from PTOs to hydraulics, then as a Hydraulic Products Manager. Since then Halleck has served in various capacities within the corporation as a member of the Outside Sales Team, Sales Manager, Director of Product and Marketing Departments and his current role as Vice President-International Marketing Manager. Over the course of his tenure, he has made many contributions to the corporation including the creation of the software application tool, M-Power. 


Nancy Ettel - Exhibition Coordinator

Nancy Ettel began her career at Muncie Power Products within the Printing Department carrying out various tasks including running the presses, printing all Muncie Power literature and assisting with photography. When Muncie Power discontinued printing all in-house, she moved to Office Administration before landing in her current position of Exhibition Coordinator. Nancy is well known for her exceptional organizational skills, reflected in her detailed records and mastery of trade show arrangements.