Tips and Trends

Ask 3D Exhibits: How Do I Turn an Audit into Action and Improvement?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Congratulations to Syngenta for winning the Excellence Award for Best Trade Show Campaign in the Milwaukee Business Marketing Association Bell Awards. Syngenta used a new exhibit layout, a series of interactive learning experiences, and a passport program to grow leads, increase engagement—and more than double leads.

How did Syngenta achieve this phenomenal success? It started a several years ago with Syngenta’s realization that they could get more out of their trade show program. That’s when they hired the 3D Exhibits marketing team to conduct what would be the first of four exhibit audits.

Syngenta scored 72 out of 100 on this first audit—roughly a grade of “C-”.

The audit revealed:

  • Branding was strong, but visuals were too complicated for people to remember the key messages.
  • Wayfinding was weak. It was challenging for attendees to find what they were looking for.
  • Staff was reluctant to start conversations, ask questions or bring other Syngenta specialists into conversations. However, if the attendee asked a question, the Syngenta reps were highly knowledgeable.
  • Not all demos offered the real, practical takeaways attendees want.
  • Demos and displays weren’t positioned to match the flow of how reps tell the Syngenta story. This resulted in a lot of awkward crisscrossing back and forth across the exhibit.

The good news was that now Syngenta had a benchmark to measure their progress against—and a clear road map of where they wanted to go.

After that, Syngenta created tactics to address its opportunities for improvement. These were rolled out and continuously improved upon over the course of the next three shows. Two years later, Syngenta had four audits under their belt—and a clear record of their continuous improvement. Syngenta’s audit score had risen to “A” level.


As part of their comprehensive tactic upgrade, Syngenta:

  • Upgraded staff performance via a required staff training call that articulated the importance of the staff’s role, communicated everything that would be going on, explained roles and activities, and reviewed booth etiquette.
  • Selected “role model” staffers to lead by example. These key personnel’s enthusiastic behavior set the tone for everyone else.
  • Created meaningful demos that illustrated products at work in the field. For instance, crop demos including planter boxes and mini plots planted 2-3 months before the show illustrated the positive impact Syngenta products have on crops including soybeans, wheat, and corn.
  • Kept the content fresh at every show by making sure there was always at least one new demo to see.
  • Improved the clarity of their messaging with an updated, crisp graphic format that focused on concise benefits statements.
  • Streamlined their floor layout for better traffic flow and wayfinding. A pedestrian racetrack around the exhibit perimeter helped people navigate the exhibit and locate the areas that interested them most.
  • Implemented better giveaways—but required participation to earn them. This was orchestrated via a passport card distributed to visitors as they arrived. Attendees received stickers on their map at each demo they attended—then earned a gift once they’d reached five stickers.

The next steps for Syngenta will be more fine-tuning and continual introduction of new demos in order to keep that curve of continual improvement going. It’s hard to believe where a simple exhibit audit can lead you—but as Syngenta demonstrates, clearly identifying what needs to improve is half the battle.

Interested in learning how an exhibit audit can benefit your program? Contact us at to learn more.

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