Marketing Stands and Displays (Which One's Right For Me?)

Perhaps you are planning an upcoming trade show or marketing event and are looking to present a professional and (better yet) effective display. Maybe your company's marketing graphics are outdated, and the stands are missing or in disrepair.  Or, perhaps this is your first experience planning and researching a marketing event.  Where do you start? With literally thousands of choices of stands and graphics (and accessories,) the idea of putting together a professional display and staying within your budget can become a challenging task.
In this article, I will address the several categories of most popular marketing stands and displays, and will explain the fundamental differences. The great news is, with all the choices of stands and accessories available, it's very possible to put together an awesome looking (and affordable) display.

Starting with the basics

Let's quickly narrow down the field of types of displays and models that may be a good match for your event.  There are three basic questions you can ask yourself that will greatly save time. First, what's your budget? Second, is your marketing event going to take place indoors or outdoors? And third, what type of space will you have for your display?  These three questions, once answered, will quickly  help you focus your search for the ideal stand, graphics, and accessories.


Your budget will most likely have the greatest impact on the type of marketing display you will be able to purchase. Some companies have tens of thousands of dollars to invest in a trade show or marketing event- investing in huge back wall stands and possibly ceiling displays. But most businesses have a much smaller amount available to invest.  The great news is, even if you're working with a smaller or limited budget, you can definitely purchase stands and accessories that will turn your booth or area into a very professional and attention-grabbing area. Marketing displays can range in price from the $20,000 - $30,000 range, all the way down to under $20 for a basic banner stand!


Display Budgets Range From High To Low

Displays and stands can range from over $20,000 to under $20!


Indoor or outdoor marketing event?


Where will your marketing event take place? Will it be an indoor event (such as in a convention center or lobby) or outdoors (in a parking lot or fair ground?) Because most displays and stands are usually specifically built for either indoors or outdoors (not both!) Factors such as wind and lighting (and other weather conditions) will highly dictate your choice of stand and display graphics. For example, we commonly receive questions about using a retractable or X stand at an outdoor event.  In almost every case, we highly recommend against it.  Retractables and X Stands are made for indoor use.  Even a small gust of wind can make an X stand and many other types of indoor stands tumble. And while most indoor vertical banner stands provide an excellent method for displaying your graphic, outdoor events should take advantage of stands such as custom pop-up tents and stands that have heavy bases that can be filled with sand or water for added stability (more on this later.)


Don't Confuse Indoor vs Outdoor Displays

Don't confuse indoor versus outdoor displays! Can lead to bad marketing results.


Trade show or event booth space

The third question to ask yourself is: what amount of space do I have to work with? I've attended many trade shows. As an example, trade show event organizers often rent 8' by 8' for 10' by 10' booths or areas. Some companies rent one space, and some companies may rent an entire row of space. While the booth rental space is common, many other trade shows offer smaller areas to display your marketing message- even corner space and table space in lobby or high-traffic areas. The booth spaces can normally be wired for electricity, and many trade show companies offer additional extras such as tables, table throws and back wall partitions (usually for an extra fee of course!)

But at less formal events, and often at outdoor events, you may have flexibility on the amount of space you can request.  The point is, exactly how much space will you have? You don't want to have a huge space and only have a 4 foot table with brochures, and conversely, you're not going to be able to pack a 20 foot wide back wall display into a 10' by 10' area.

Common Scenarios

Let's visit (from my experience) several of the most common scenarios, first addressing indoor marketing displays.

Indoor Marketing Display - "Champagne Budget"

If you have a healthy budget (in the $5,000 - $10,000 range) for your indoor display, many options exist. First, if you're going to be presenting at a huge trade show, in a large exhibit hall, you may wish to start with a ceiling display pointing the crowd to your booth(s). Hanging ceiling displays come in many different types of shapes (circles, squares, triangles, discs, etc) and sizes (3 foot, 4 foot by 10 foot to 20 foot wide) and are printed on a stretch fabric that covers a frame.  The displays are normally printed in full color graphics, so the sky's the limit (no pun intended) to promote your brand or message. Plan on investing approximately $1500 or more for an average size ceiling display.

Your choice for your booth or booths is also vast. With a healthy budget, you may decide to purchase a large fabricated or pop-up back-drop promoting your brand or products. Many back-drop displays also come with custom printed shelving and even podiums. These displays also normally come with lighting options to add extra exposure.  Pop-up displays and fabricated displays range in price from $700 to several thousand dollars depending on the size and accessory options.


Large budgets can get you some awesome tradeshow displays

Large budgets can buy you some awesome stuff- from hanging ceiling displays to large fabricated and pop-up back wall displays with all sorts of accessories.


Indoor Displays "Beer Budget"


If you're on a tighter budget (from only a couple hundred dollars to maybe a couple thousand dollars,) rest assured you can still put together a very professional and effective display. Actually a big bonus to working with a smaller budget is that you will more than likely choose stands that are easily transported (such as retractable banner stands,) that can make your life much better when transporting, setting-up the display, and taking it down at the end of the day.

We regularly recommend an easy option for marketers on a fixed budget. With purchasing two vertical retractable stands and graphics and a custom table throw, you can fill a 10' by 10' booth with a very effective and attention grabbing message.  And the best part is, you can
set-up and tear down your display in about (literally) five to ten minutes! This basic set-up (for the retractables and table throw) will only set you back approximately $500 to $800. If you choose to use the even more economical X or L stands, you can cut your cost even more. Please check out our article about retractable banner stands here.

You may also want to explore utilizing a large backdrop banner stand and graphic.  These stands use telescopic poles to adjust and fit your graphic, and can range from 4 feet to 10 feet wide by 8 feet to 10 feet tall. A decent back drop banner stand and graphic can set you back $500 or more, depending on the size and type of graphic. Add lighting accessories (in the $50 to $100 range) to shed light on your marketing message. A different option for a branded back wall is to string 3 or 4 X, L or retractable stands in line. There will normally be a slight gap between graphics (2" or less,) but the overall effect can look really nice.


Back drop banners and in-line retractables can make for great displays even on a budget

Back drop banner displays and in-line retractable stands or L Stands can provide a professional branded back drop that can meet your budget


Polishing off your display with a nicely imprinted custom table throw adds a great deal of professionalism.  You would be surprised at the difference just adding a custom table throw makes versus using a generic (or no) table throw.

On a side note, always remember that the display is only half the battle.  Having your display staffed by friendly (and somewhat outgoing) representatives is definitely the key to making your show a success!

Now lets take a look at some of the most popular options for outdoor displays depending on your budget and space.

Outdoor Display "Caviar Budget"

With a healthy budget, you again have many options for your outdoor display. Companies wishing to make a huge impact (with a decent amount of space) start by utilizing custom canopy tents with their company logo or brand imprinted on one or all four sides. These stands range from 10' to 20' square, and provide several functions. First, they promote your brand. You can have the canopy imprinted in single or multiple or even full color on certain areas, or covered on all four sides.  The canopy tents may also be displayed with custom back walls, side walls, and even pole attachments displaying feather or teardrop banners. (see picture above of the Casita Custom Canopy and accessories.)

In addition to providing excellent branding, the pop up tents also are designed to provide shelter from the hot sun or minor inclement weather.  No one wants to be caught in the rain, and having a nice canopy can help you keep your team and marketing collateral dry! Some pop up tent displays are set-up to provide potential clients with a place to browse your products or service information, or even have tables and chairs to discuss deals or to simply give your guess a place to take cover from the sun for a few minutes!

Many outdoor stands also exist for additional marketing impact. Several large stands are built to hold 8' to 10' banner displays, and are supported with heavy bases that can be filled with sand or water for extra stability. These stands, placed with the proper marketing message, can obtain exceptional marketing response.


Outdoor displays can often be anchored with sand or water-filled bases

Outdoor displays, such as this Mega Wall Display exist for outdoor events and come with heavy bases that may be filled with sand or water for additional support.


Outdoor Displays "Pizza Budget"

If you're on a fixed budget for your outdoor event, again, take solace in knowing that you have many options that can get the job done even for only a couple or few hundred dollars! Clients asking us for a quick and very affordable marketing solution is very common. We normally recommend a standard option. First, you can purchase very affordable pop up tents at most home and garden stores. Sometimes you can purchase them at garage sales or online for under $50 to $100.  Next, purchase a banner (normally 12" tall by 8' or 10' long) depending on the size of your pop up tent.  The banner can be grommetted and hung in the front of your pop up to promote your brand or message.  Just make sure the banner is high enough to be out of the way of people walking in and out of the tent.  This is a very quick and economical solution to branding your outdoor space.

If you have the money, next you may want to consider purchasing one or a couple additional accessories to help your space stand out.  Consider purchasing an A-Frame sign that will help direct people to your tent or area.  Most A-Frame signs feature full color graphics on both sides and can be filled with water or sand for extra stability.  You would be surprised how much traffic a properly marketed A-Frame can drive to your marketing space. Most A-Frames run (with graphics) around $200.  You can sometimes find used A-Frames online, which can cut your cost even more.

A-frame displays can help draw a crowd and be very affordable

A-Frame and water base outdoor signs can help draw a crowd with the proper marketing message attached!


A couple additional and highly recommended outdoor marketing displays include feather or teardrop banners, and vertical banner displays. Feather and teardrop banners are "flowing" or flag type banners that attach to a vertical pole and are stake-driven into the ground.  Other base options include X bases and water/sand bases.  These types of banners are great for capturing attention and driving traffic (again, with the proper marketing message of course.)
Feather and teardrop banners can be purchased (based on size) in the $170 to $400 range.

Vertical banner displays are similar to feather and teardrop displays but instead utilize vinyl scrim banner material for your message.  They are designed to be more "static," not flowing. These types of stands are exceptional for displaying pictures and information.  Many food related booths utilize these to display images of their menu items. The best part is that the vertical stands can be easily moved to accommodate your outdoor space, and can be moved indoors if needed.


Feather and teardrop flag banner are excellent choices for outdoor displays



Feather, teardrop, and vertical banner displays are excellent choices for outdoor displays that can meet your budget requirements while getting alot of exposure.


In wrapping up, there are many options for both indoor and outdoor displays to fit virtually any budget and spacing needs. I would like to reiterate that no matter what type of display you use, it's always vital to have the correct type of marketing message and staff working your display. If you have questions or comments, please contact us via Live Chat or call 866-267-5814 for immediate assistance.

Our goal is to help you obtain the best results and stay within your budget!

Till next time,

Chris A. - Lets Go Banners

ps, check out our marketing posts and articles here