Will Your Tradeshow Product be a Superstar or a Fright?
Think "Touchy Feely"
Your prospects need to see and touch a real product--one that can withstand bending and prodding and holding. Because of this, avoid stereolithography (SLA). But why, you might ask, considering SLA models can be created from CAD files in a matter of hours? Sure, you might have a "real" three-dimensional object in hand, but problems with SLA models exist. They're costly (the liquid photopolymer used in the SLA machine can cost upwards of $800/gallon), and the process (which involves the layering of the liquid photopolymer) is not always structurally sound. Imagine having an SLA model at a tradeshow and it doesn't bend or flex the way it's supposed to or worse--it breaks in a prospective customer's hands. Wouldn't it be better to have the actual part instead of a raw piece? Even if you attend a tradeshow with a prototype, it should be made from materials similar to those that will be used in the final product, and it should have a production finish.
Show and Sell
Well, not so fast. Think about it. In today's hectic world and crowded marketplace, a person has only so many chances to engage a prospective customer. The beauty of tradeshows is that they're filled with captive audiences. People attend for a reason, such as a vested interest in a particular industry. Many of these people are looking for products--perhaps products like yours. Where else besides a brick and mortar storefront will you have the opportunity to speak with a hot prospect face-to-face while showing your wares? When you look at it like this, suddenly those products displayed at tradeshow booths take on new meaning. This is your opportunity to show and sell. Don't skimp.