NAB Show: Special Webinar for First Time Exhibitors

A NAB Show webinar series

Hosted by Cindy Zuelsdorf, Kokoro Marketing with special guest Charles Wagor III, Web and Trade Show Manager at Markertek and Vice Chair of the NAB Show Exhibitor Advisory Committee.

If you’re a first-time exhibitor or just want to get the inside scoop from experienced exhibitors, this webinar is for you. Topics include: How to save 20%+ on key onsite expenses, find out who your floor manager is and why it matters, learn the fastest way to get your requests to show management, and find out how long time exhibitors do booth selection.

NAB Show webinar for first time exhibitors from Cindy Zuelsdorf | Kokoro on Vimeo.
Resources and helpful links at the bottom of the page.


Cindy: Hi, I’m Cindy Zuelsdorf with the NAB Show Exhibitors Webinar, and I’m here today with Charles Wagor III from Markertek, and we’re so glad to have Chuck here today. We’re looking at special topics for first-time exhibitors. If you’re a first time exhibitor, welcome, and if you’ve been to the show before, that’s great ’cause we just want to share some great tips that everybody can benefit from. Chuck, welcome, how’s your day going?

Chuck: It’s going well, how about you Cindy?

Cindy: Really good, thank you. Some of the topics Chuck and I wanted to cover today are learning the fastest way to get your requests and suggestions to show management, what to do if there’s something that happens on the show floor and you need help, who’s your floor manager, what are you going to do about what? And how to save 20% or more on your on-site expenses. Let’s get right into it. Let’s dig into that saving money. Chuck, you’ve done NAB Show for 16 years, what are some of the money saving tips that you have?

Chuck: Yeah, Cindy, one of the things that you can do right away is to make sure you take advantage of the discount deadlines so that you can save at least 20% on the cost of your rentals and badge scanners, and things like that. Also, it’s surprising, but almost a third of the companies at the show don’t take advantage of this. I would recommend doing that ahead of time.

Cindy: Got you. Then, I heard there’s a new thing that came up around water. Could you speak to that?

Chuck: Yeah, absolutely, too. We’re in the desert, so water’s a necessity, and it’s not cheap on the show site, but Center Plate has worked with NAB, and during setup, they’re actually offering water at a very large discount. You can buy as much as you want, you just have to pick it up at specific locations. A recommendation would be to buy whatever you need for the entire show during setup.

Cindy: Yeah, and below the show notes here, we’ve got the link to the water information. You can check it out here in the show notes, or just check what’s on the NAB Show exhibitor portal, and you’ll see it there as well. Other money saving things, when we were talking the other day Chuck, you mentioned how you have done a lot of different booths over the years and can you talk about that bid process. If you do that, and just how do you deal with making your booth, I don’t know, just not really crush the expenses in terms of shipping and building and stuff like that. What do you have for us on that?

Chuck: Sure. For NAB, that’s the biggest show that we do as a company. We use an outside house to help design and build the booth. One thing I can definitely recommend is making sure that whatever you’re bringing into the show, whether it’s your own or having somebody else do it, that you’re very conscious of the weight of things because drayage is one of the most expensive things for a show. For us, we have two booths at NAB, and we handle some of it with the outside house. In our other booth, we actually use Freeman Services. Just being very conscious of exactly what you’re bringing in, I would say, can save you a lot of money.

Cindy: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Then, in terms of the other shows you do throughout the year, do you leverage any of your NAB Show booths, or how do you save money between doing multiple exhibitions?

Chuck: Yeah, so for NAB again, being that it’s our largest exhibit, we have a larger booth than we do for other shows. We also do smaller booths in shows like InfoCom or CEDIA, NAB New York, and other regional shows. We have a standard backdrop that we have that we try to refresh at least one a year so that when people come through, we always look fresh and it doesn’t become a stale booth. We do it to plan out for a year of shows so that we’re cost effective.

Cindy: That’s a great way to do it, Chuck. I know a lot of the booths that I worked with, too, we take bits and pieces of ’em and use ’em in another show, maybe change up the graphics, or end up using the graphics at a dealer even, that kind of thing, so you can really repurpose a lot of those bits and pieces throughout the year. That helps with expenses overall if you can split up the cost of the different shows. Yeah. Hey, so another thing we got to talk about the other day, Chuck, is when I started exhibiting at NAB Show, I didn’t know there was an exhibitors advisory committee, and you said you shared that as well, and you found out about the committee and really jumped in and started taking part in it. You’re the Vice Chair, is it? Of that committee. Or tell us more about that.

Chuck: Yeah, so I’m serving on the committee, and I am the Vice Chair at this point. This is I believe, 16 years of exhibiting at NAB, and you’re right, I had never even heard of the EAC before. I can tell you, it’s a group of fellow exhibitors, and the goal is to really help to improve the show, to work with NAB, not only for the exhibitors but also to help improve it for those that are attending. Whether it be even included in discussions of what the format’s going to be, what type of seminars or trainings there are going to be, and also again, how can we make it better for the exhibitor?

Cindy: I served two different terms on that committee as well, and I just loved meeting with all the different exhibitors. I found out that I could be the voice of other exhibitors of my size and type. Do you have special exhibitors you represent? Does it still work that way? Or tell us a little bit more about how you bring the voice of the people, if you will, do the NAB Show management.

Chuck: Yeah Cindy, that’s how it still works. We have representatives in each hall, and they represent their similar booth sizes. You have a representative for booths between 100 and 399 square feet. You have two representatives for booths between 400 and 2,999 square feet. Then another representative that’s there just for booths that are 3,000 square foot or larger. That’s in each hall, and then we also have an international rep and an outdoor exhibits rep.

Cindy: Wow, that’s good. I see on our call we’ve got a lot … Folks who are outside the US, as well as folks inside the US. I see we’ve got Germany, Slovakia, a lot of different people representing today … Canada. We’re glad to have you here. If you’re wondering who your representative is on the Exhibitor Advisory Committee, in the show notes below the video here, you can click the link and see who your exhibitor rep is. Chuck, are you going to go visit some people at the show and connect?

Chuck: Yeah, absolutely. We try to do it as best as we can. Obviously, everybody’s pretty busy with their booths themselves. Okay, so one of the things we’re definitely trying to do is to visit as many people as possible, but ultimately it gets hard with having a booth and everything else as well, so we’re really trying to focus on first year and second year exhibitors to make sure that they understand how things are going, to find out if they’re having any issues, and to aid them.

Cindy: Nice. How many people here are first time exhibitors? I know some of you guys chatted in earlier that you are first time exhibitors. Just shoot out in the chat box and let us know if you’re first time exhibitors, I’m curious. You talked about first year and second year exhibitors, Chuck, and it’s so hard to know like, “Am I leaving money on the table? Am I forgetting something?” That type of thing. There’s a couple resources to help folks, especially when it’s your first time at the show. One is Freeman has a checklist that will help you with all the different deadlines and just make sure that you’re hitting all the required paperwork and everything that needs to be done prior to the show. You can find that in your exhibitor portal, and also underneath the show notes here, we too have a link to that as well.

Another really cool thing that NAB Show has put together is everybody who’s a first year or second year exhibitor gets a free, no charge, exhibit evaluation. That’s from the Jefferson Davis Company. If you’re wondering about that, if you’re wondering if you’re signed up, you can contact your sales person at NAB Show, and they will help you out with that. Or shoot me an email and I’ll get you connected. Some of you probably have already talked with them and scheduled your time. I think actually they do it almost secret shopper style, they come by and check out your booth, and then give you a report afterward. Chuck, when we talked the other day, you mentioned you actually participated in this. Was it useful? What did you think of it?

Chuck: Yeah, we actually have used it a few times. I would say it’s definitely beneficial. Like you said, it’s like secret shoppers. They don’t disturb your booth or anything, but they will observe how things are going and then also I’ve noticed that they will interview people and ask them some questions after they leave the booth to get a gauge of how they felt they interacted with your exhibit. You get a report after the show, and it’s really helped us to see how it’s important to have interactive ideas and things like that in the booth that really engage the visitor.

Cindy: Yeah, so definitely take advantage of that. Now, when we were chatting the other day, since you and I have done quite a few shows, we were thinking about, “Okay, what are really good tips?” One of ’em we came up with was put your lead reader away. The reason we go to the show is to get leads and collect that data and build that relationship, so put that away at night. NAB Show has put together some security information for you as well, and you can see that here below the show notes. DTA, the company there that does some of the security work actually have complementary lockup for some of your things at the show. The phone number’s right here in the show notes, so you can phone them up and organize that as well. Chuck, do you have any other things that first-time exhibitors might want to think about in terms of security, tips, other stuff like that?

Chuck: Well, I think a good point, like you said is that there’s that free lockup available. It is a public show, so security … You have to be careful, you don’t want to just leave things lying around. The other suggestion I would have for first time exhibitors, or really any exhibitor is to make sure you never leave your booth without somebody in it. I know a lot of times there are budgets and things like that, and maybe only one person will come out for an exhibit, especially a smaller booth, but if you really think about it, how much more money is it to have a second person there when you’re already doing a hotel and you’re doing everything else? Being smart about making sure that your exhibit’s not unmanned, and that it’s actually anybody that walks by always has you there, is really important, I believe.

Cindy: Yeah, I love that. That’s really true. For me, one of the things I would do, the times that I’ve worked at small shows where just maybe be in a 10 by 10 at another exhibition, I would connect with one of our sales reps. Most of us have sales reps or some kind of partner, and we can organize with them. “Hey, can you come by every day for like 20 minutes and give me a break?” And you can organize, doing each other some favors, that kind of thing, and help each other out at the show. Most folks want to be helpful and getting in there and maybe demoing your gear while you take a little break. That’s a good tip. I like to make friends with my booth neighbors at every show. Loan some tools during setup, help each other out, because it’s nice to know each other during the show and you can look out for each other that way as well.

Chuck: Yeah, absolutely, that’s a great idea Cindy. Another thing that I think about too, is make sure you’re approachable. I see some exhibitors who sit in their chairs at the back of their booth and don’t really engage anybody. How inviting is that for anybody that’s actually coming through to come and see what you’re exhibiting? Making sure that you’re proactive about reaching out to those that are coming by.

Cindy: That’s so good. Even if you do have a small booth, maybe 10 by 10, 10 by 20, and there’s two or three of you there, one thought is if one person is in the booth, have the other people outside the stand in the hall just a few steps away. That’s a great way to do it. Even if you are just around the corner, something like that, so you can still keep an eye on the stand without everybody being in there clustered together and looking down at their phones, which is always a sad thing to see.

Chuck: I agree with you on that front too, because one of the things I know that we’ve always talked about is we don’t want to have so many people in the booth that it seems overwhelming where there’s more of us than there are people that are coming through. Also, you want to man your booth, but you want to make sure that it’s not overkill as well.

Cindy: Yeah, and to that point, we’ve had a question come up from one of our participants here asking about shirts and what do you recommend? What do you think about that Chuck? Do you do branded shirts at the shows? What’s your thought?

Chuck: I definitely think you should use branded shirts. This is a marketing event, you’re branding yourself at the show. Having your company name on you is important. Even if you walk around the show at all, you’re also presenting your brand as you do that as well.

Cindy: Yeah. I have a couple thoughts about shirts as well. One is, it’s nice to have some variety. That’s a different approach. Some people like to have everybody in the same shirt, and that’s a good way to do it. Another good way to do it is let everyone choose what they’re comfortable in. If I’m comfortable in this shirt, and just want to go ahead and get my company logo on the shirt, that’s a great way to do it. You can have all your staff choose shirts, either bring ’em in, or choose maybe a company that offers several styles. That way everybody’s wearing what they’re most comfy in and they can be their best selves at the show. Women don’t end up wearing golf shirts, which at least for me, that’s not a comfortable style. I want to feel awesome at the show and give great demos and really be responsive and not feel like I’m wearing something that’s not me.

Chuck: When we had talked, one of the things that came up was how should your style be? I’ve seen everything from people very casual to very professional. I guess it just really depends on what your company’s approach is to how you present yourself.

Cindy: Yeah. What you mentioned earlier about feeling like you’re outnumbering the customers and prospects on the booth, I worked one of the shows in November in Asia, and we all were assigned these bright green jackets. At one point we’re looking at the booth and you can see like 25 green jackets and 10 non-green jackets. We, part way through the show, changed that up, how that was done. Switched to jackets and some people wearing company shirts, and that made that less obvious, it made it fade away and made it more comfortable. You’re still branded, but you don’t look like you’re taking over the booth.

Another thing Chuck, you and I talked about is to just touch on graphics and branding of the booth itself. Of course, we want to be sure that when someone walks by, they know what we make or what we offer in that first three, four, five seconds. That’s super important as well, as they look up and go, “Oh, they’re offering this. I have that problem, I’m gonna stop there.” And make it really easy for them to want to stop and see you.

Chuck: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. There’s a lot of visitors at the show, the attendees I should say, and there’s a lot of booths to take up their time. Having something that calls out a reason to stop in is really key. I know one of the things we’ve tried to do is to come up with good taglines or things like that, that represent what we’re about, so that hopefully it draws them in.

Cindy: Yeah. Now, we’ve got a question coming in about giveaways and does that help? Is that a good way to bring people onto the booth? What’s your experience with that, Chuck?

Chuck: Good and bad. One year we actually did a prize wheel, if you want to call it that, where we had a lot of giveaways. We definitely had a lot more people come in the booth, but I wouldn’t say it was quality visitors because everybody likes a handout. My suggestion on that front is I think giveaways are great, but maybe you do it in a way that you have them not necessarily on display, but you give them out so that people that come by that you feel are quality visitors.

Cindy: Yeah, it just depends on what your goal is for the goal. If your goal is to get as many names and leads as possible, regardless of where they are in the buying cycle, then a giveaway out front can be great. Of course, if you really just want to focus on qualified prospects, then giving it away selectively can be great as well. Just think about your goals and then make your marketing match up with that. That’s a good way to do it. Question here about what are good giveaways. I think Chapstick’s great ’cause we’re in the desert. Water, obviously we talked about earlier here, and that link to the water, you’ll see it below the show notes so you can get water. What are other good giveaways, do you think, Chuck? Or do you have comments about what stuff is good to give away?

Chuck: One that I notice, and that we actually decided to do, there’s a lot of stuff that’s handed out, whether it’s informational or whatever, so having a nice quality bag. Again, you’re extending your branding because if somebody comes by and they take that, now they’re walking around the show with it. You’re not just isolated to your booth location for your brand. I think those are nice things. We’ve done also like USB type chargers and stuff like that as well. It really depends, too, and maybe you can do something that revolves around your actual business.

Cindy: Nice, nice. Okay, well let’s go on to our next topic, which is about your floor manager. How many of you out there know that you have a floor manager assigned to you at NAB Show? Chuck, is that something you’ve ever dealt with before?

Chuck: I’ve definitely spoke to them, but I’ve never actually had an issue where I need to rely on them because most of the time, things go pretty much on without a hitch from my experience.

Cindy: Nice, nice. I learned that I should meet my floor manager every year, and I try to do that during setup. For folks who are doing logistics at the show, great idea to meet your floor manager. You can see ’em usually driving around in a cart at the show, and go up and introduce yourself. One year, I was working, and we had a forklift go through one of the crates. Obviously accident and stuff, but I just needed help figuring out what to do and how to deal with it. Floor manager. Questions about lights, floor manager. All those. Floor manager can direct you to the person who will help you solve anything that comes up during the build-up, even during the show, and then during tear down as well. I recommend doing that.

Chuck: Cindy, for a first-time exhibitor, that’s actually great advice, too, because your floor manager will be able to help you to find out where things are located. Each hall, you’ve got services and they’re located in all different areas. Making sure that you know where to go, even to pick up your badge scanner or something like that, floor manager could direct you. I’d also recommend ahead of time, trying to look on the map and figuring out where those things are located.

Cindy: Nice. We’ve got one other topic we’re gonna hit. Just before we do that, put your questions in the QA here, we’re gonna go through as much … and we’ve been trying to hit ’em as we go along here. Put your questions in the QA and we’ll circle back at the end on that. Also, if you haven’t joined the NAB Show exhibitor’s LinkedIn group, go ahead and join that. You’ll see the link to it here below in the show notes as well. Join that; it’s a great way to have a conversation and get information there as well. Our final topic we wanted to hit on here today, Chuck, was about selecting NAB Show booth. You’ve done a lot of booth selection. What tips do you have for our people on the call here today?

Chuck: Yeah, we’ve definitely picked a lot of booths. I know in years, we’ve even had up to four booths at one show. We, at this time pick our booths before we even go to this year’s show for next year. A lot of exhibitors are picking on site. This goes back to again, making sure you have the proper staff because it can take you away from your booth, and it can be for a while. NAB provides an interactive map where you can check-in to see what types of booths may be available. Definitely recommend that you do that, even a couple days before your selection. Then it’s almost real time, so even during your process of getting ready to select, so you have a good idea of where you might like to be located.

Cindy: Yeah. I love that interactive map now that you can have. Yeah, I like to look in advance at the whole show floor, get some ideas. If I’m not going to choose the booth myself, if there’s someone else going, a colleague, it’s nice to sit together and choose 10 different options and just go, “Yes to this area, this show floor. Not so much over here.” And really have a plan in place because when it comes time to select your booth, it can be great and everything you want is right there, or you can end up needing to go to that ninth or tenth choice. Having a good feel for it in advance is a really good thing to do.

Chuck: Absolutely. I just remembered, we were talking about cost savings, and something you and I talked about was again, drayage costs a lot of money. For a smaller exhibitor, you may be looking to bring your own stuff into the booth. Freeman actually offers a service now where for $50, they can bring in your items and bring it to your booth. It’s a really economical way to do it. They have different locations. I don’t know exactly … there’s not a sign-up for it, so I would say I would contact Freeman and just find out where that best place would be for you.

Cindy: Yeah. We’ve got the link to the show rules and regulations, and also Freeman’s contact information in the show notes here, so you can see that information about handcarts and what you can bring in on that and how to contact Freeman. Those are all there for you as well. Nice. All right, I’m going to look to the Q&A and see what we’ve got going here. We have a question, somebody is asking, saying that the biggest concern is anticipating unexpected expenses. That is a good one. I’m looking at this and thinking maybe it’s first time to Las Vegas, first time coming to NAB show. Everything in your booth is gonna be paid up front pretty much, except for drayage. You’ll be able to calculate that. Freeman does offer a calculator. We’ve hear from the NAB Show management that you can go in and calculate. There’s a couple different rates, as I recall, so look at how you’re shipping, and that will determine what your rate is. That’s one to look out for.

As far as actually being in Las Vegas, there’s the monorail, and we’ve got a couple of questions here about monorail. You can get passes either on the NAB Show site, or monorail, I just walked up to the monorail booth right in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s probably a five-minute walk from the front ’cause everything in Las Vegas feels far when you’re walking. I bought mine for the week last year, that’s how I did it. That seemed easy. There was staff there and they helped me know, “Okay yeah, buy it for the week, or buy it for the day.” Buying for the week, and you can just get on and off for the whole week. That was super economical. There’s tipping, so depending on your feelings about tipping, we normally tip at restaurants of course. As you know, 20% is often the rate. Some people are more toward 15, it’s personal preference. That’s expected.

If you’re taking Uber or Lyft or a taxi, then usually we do some tipping there as well. There are Lyft and Uber pickups near the convention center. Last year, they were at the end of the north hall. You’d walk out, you can walk over the flyover, and down toward Piro’s Restaurant to that. I believe it was … I’m not sure if it was silver parking lot or one of the parking lots and you can see Lyft and Uber there. Those are expenses to look for, but they’re manageable. What else, Chuck? I’m trying to think if there’s anything else on the expenses piece.

Chuck: One thing that we do, we drive into the show, so the silver lots that are located right in the front of the convention center, you can go on into the exhibitor portal and actually pay for your passes up front so that you’re not parking way out in the middle of nowhere. That’s I believe, $60 for the entire show, so it’s not that bad as well.

Cindy: Again, to pick up your parking passes, they are limited, go on to the NAB Show exhibitor portal and you can see the sign-ups for passes there. An unexpected expense you won’t have, do not give any tips or anything like that to people on the show floor regarding drayage or any services you’re gonna get there. That’s not done, and you don’t need to think about that in any way. What else? The meals at the convention, I noticed last year there were all these little stands, you could get like fruit and yogurt, and some small stuff for easily $8.00, $10.00, $12.00. Maybe if you got more stuff it’s gonna be 15 to 20, but it’s the price you’d see in any big city, Tokyo, New York, something like that … Amsterdam, those kind of prices that you’re gonna see at the show floor. I think those are probably all I can think of right now.

If there’s a specific question you have around expenses, unexpected or otherwise, just hit us up. You can see Chuck’s contact info here in the show notes, so you can contact him. You can also go to the Exhibitor Advisory Committee page, and we have the link here for that, and you’ll see his contact info there as well. You can ask either one of us, or go right to NAB Show and they’ll help you with that. All right, what else do we have for questions? Questions around badges and name tags. Okay, badges, you’re gonna pick up on registration area. Chuck, you were saying you can pick up for your whole booth? Or how does that work?

Chuck: Yeah, exactly, Cindy. This is the first year that NAB’s not gonna be mailing the actual badges to exhibitors. They all have to be picked up on site. You used to just have to get your badge holder. Yeah, depending on how large of a company you are, any one person can go and pick up all the badges for your entire booth.

Cindy: Nice, nice. Questions here about name tags. Name tag, I always like to put on my right side so that when we shake hands with people it’s on your right shoulder. Name tags, folks are asking here where to get those made. You can just go online and choose a company that does name badges. I like the ones that are screened on. I like the ones that have a little magnet on ’em because then they keep people’s clothes nice and it’s easy to just put the magnet on the front and the back and keep the clothes nice. Make your own name tag, but then the badges or course, NAB is creating for you and you can wear those as well.

All the resources we’ve discussed today are right here in the show notes. The Freeman checklist, the security information, the Exhibitor Advisory Committee contact info, and bunch of other links right here for you. Chuck, is there anything else we should hit on today?

Chuck: Actually, the last thing I really wanted to talk about was the Exhibitor Advisory Committee.

Cindy: Great.

Chuck: It’s open to all exhibitors. I would highly recommend participation because ultimately you’re helping to guide the show, you’re getting a chance to work with the awesome NAB staff. We have three meetings a year, we meet at the show, and then also in the winter we meet at the convention center again. In the summer, we actually meet at NAB’s headquarters. The group of people that’s involved from the exhibitor’s standpoint, is also an excellent resource. You may be able to find new tips and tricks or anything else, but ultimately again, you’re really getting to understand what the show it all about and how to improve it.

Cindy: Thanks everybody for coming today. If you have questions, you can hit up Chuck or me. You can see our contact info in the show notes. Of course, your contacts at NAB Show want to help you out as well. Look forward to seeing you in Vegas. If there’s anything I can do for you, give me a call, or hit my up on LinkedIn. Chuck, have a great day, thank you so much.

Chuck: Thank you.


Helpful links and resources from the webinar:

Exhibitor Advisory Committee
How can the EAC help you? Want to know who your committee representative is?

Exhibitors can call DTA at +1 702-650-2298 during the NAB Show to have items in complimentary lock-up.
NAB Show 2018 Safe Show PPT
NAB Show Exhibitor Security Precautions Memo PDF

Move in questions


Save money on water  7-8- April 2018 at NAB Show


Pre-show deadlines and checklist


Freeman Catalog


NAB Show Parking


Freeman Contact Information




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