Trade Show Marketing Mastery

Trade Show Marketing Mastery: Why it Matters and How to Succeed

Mastering Trade Show Marketing for Success

North America has witnessed more than 91,000 visitors to global exhibitions. So, if you are exhibiting at a trade show in Las Vegas, the most popular city in North America, or nearby cities, you will definitely get many visitors for your expo.

But, “Is potential footfall enough to make your exhibition successful?” The answer is “No.” You need a good trade show marketing plan to make the most out of it. It would amplify the potential of your desired results and expand your professional network while better understanding market trends. 

According to the data, CES 2023, one of the top IT trade shows in Las Vegas, held nearly 2.2 million net square feet of exhibits (70% larger than CES 2022), attracted 3200+ exhibitors (including 1000 new exhibitors), over 115,000 attendees, 4800 global media from 69 countries, and 60% of Fortune 500 companies.

Inspired by these numbers, if you plan to exhibit at a trade show, learn the effective methods of marketing trade shows that will make your investment worthwhile. This blog post will help you discover everything about trade show marketing - from what is marketing to its benefits and the tips to craft an effective marketing strategy.

What is Trade Show Marketing?

Trade show marketing is about promoting your products or services at big industry events. These events and trade shows help businesses like yours get noticed and connect with a new audience, including many potential clients. 

Marketing at trade shows involves creating an eye-catching booth, chatting with attendees, handing out info, and providing cool freebies to visitors. 

However, nowadays, trade show marketing also includes online stuff like social media and email marketing before, during, and after the event. The combination of offline and online trade show marketing helps you get traction for the show.

One of the examples of a marketing trade show is KIRI Engine, for whom we designed an exhibition booth.

custom trade show booth rentals in Dallas

KIRI Engine is the world’s most powerful 3D scanner app. By exhibiting at the trade show, they presented their latest software developments, innovations, and solutions to the attendees and potential clients.

Exhibiting at an event is not just about exposure but it’s also about talking to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. 

The main purposes of trade show marketing include: 

  • Improving brand visibility
  • Getting new leads 
  • Making industry friends/networking and 
  • Getting a few direct sales (depending on your field and niche)

Some of the most popular trade shows happening in Las Vegas include the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)

Top 4 Benefits of Trade Show Marketing for Businesses 

Exhibiting at a trade show opens up many opportunities and advantages for a business.  According to the IEG sponsorship and event marketing measurement survey, some of the major benefits include media exposure, brand awareness, attitude shift, lead generation, direct sales, and lower customer acquisition costs.

Benefits of Trade Show Marketing

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Here, we have briefly explained some benefits for your better understanding.

1. Increased Brand Visibility

One of the major benefits of exhibiting at trade shows includes increasing your visibility within and outside of your industry.

By participating as an exhibitor, you position your company directly in the spotlight and attract the attention of a large targeted audience. 

The exposure gained at trade shows contributes significantly to building brand recognition and leaving a lasting impression on potential customers.

2. Lead Generation Opportunities

Another major benefit of trade show marketing includes the potential for robust lead generation.

The trade shows and exhibitions draw in attendees who are genuinely interested in the industry, and thus, you get a chance to connect with individuals and businesses actively seeking products or services that you have to offer. 

By showcasing your offerings effectively, you can capture valuable leads and initiate relationships that may lead to future sales.

3. Networking and Relationship-building

Trade shows serve as dynamic hubs for networking and relationship-building. 

Engaging with industry professionals, potential clients, and fellow exhibitors gives life to new connections that can be invaluable for your business. 

If handled effectively, these interactions can extend beyond the event, acting as a foundation for ongoing collaborations, partnerships, and mutually beneficial relationships.

4. Market Research and Competitive Analysis

Lastly, participating in trade shows allows you to conduct real-time market research and gain insights into current industry trends. 

By observing competitor booths, attending seminars, and engaging with attendees, you can assess market demands, innovations, and potential gaps. 

The firsthand knowledge gained from trade shows equips your business with a competitive edge and aids strategic planning and informed decision-making.

As trade shows have many benefits to offer, it is recommended to craft your booth experience in a way that captivates your attendees long after they have left the exhibition hall.

Go through the below-mentioned tips to build a result-driven trade show marketing strategy for your booth.

10 Tips to Build an Effective Trade Show Marketing Strategy

If you want your exhibition to drive desirable results, you need to be very careful about each stage and aspect of your trade show marketing - starting from the goal setting to following up with the leads captured during the event. Carefully evaluate every aspect discussed below to ensure you do your best at a marketing trade show. 

#1: Set Goals and Identify Target Audiences

The first step you should consider while planning your trade show is setting clear goals and objectives aligned with your business model.

Discuss internally about what you want to achieve with this trade show. Is it lead generation, brand awareness, distributing more samples, or something else? 

For example, you may aim to generate 50 leads at an upcoming tech expo or increase website visits by providing scannable goodies to attendees.

Having measurable goals and objectives for your exhibition is important to evaluate if your efforts have paid off.

Plus, do your research about the attendees’ demographics where you are planning to exhibit. Check if the expo is matching with your industry and target audience. 

For example, if you are a tech company, you would primarily look for companies or investors interested in tech innovation. 

#2: Choose the Right Trade Show to Exhibit at

The next thing you should consider is to evaluate the trade show’s potential based on its location, attendance size, floor plans, and cost. Find out if the expo will have enough footfall for you to make it worth investing the resources. There’s no meaning in exhibiting at the event with barely any or irrelevant footfall.

Here’s the average breakdown of the trade show budget:

Average breakdown of the trade show budget

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Also, consider the city and location where the trade show is taking place. Is it at a location that attracts a large crowd or far away from the city? Compare the value you will get for the floor plan rates. Lastly, it also makes more sense to exhibit at industry-specific trade shows than generic ones.

You can visit the respective trade show’s website to see what kind of audience and results they have brought in the past and gauge if that’s the right expo to exhibit at. 

#3: Design Your Booth with the Help of Experts

Your booth designs at the trade show play an important role in how attendees perceive your organization. A well-designed booth enhances your brand image and draws in more visitors.

If you have limited space and budget, you can consider installing 10x10 booths, but if you have bigger space and a free budget - you can opt for a 30x30 booth layout with visually appealing elements that urge attendees to stop by at your booth.

Taking Pure Exhibits' expertise in designing and installing trade show booths, you can ease your work to a great extent and get a booth that perfectly matches your requirements.

Have a look at a booth that we designed for Bamboo Health - a leading health technology company that provides Real-Time Care Intelligence™ to drive better outcomes, experiences, and value for patients and healthcare providers.

Talk to our experts to design your trade show booth!

#4: Ensure Your Booth Has Required Marketing Collaterals

To make your booth experience smooth and complete, it’s important to stock your booth with essential marketing materials, including but not limited to brochures showcasing products/services, visiting cards, event-specific pamphlets having special offers/deals, and papers for you to note down important information.

Moreover, you can also incorporate spectacular visuals and signage with compelling messages to capture the attention of your attendees. A common example of this could be a big TV screen highlighting some of the best products/services you have to offer.

You can see how RetinAI, which got its trade show booth designed by Pure Exhibits, has incorporated multiple screens to catch more attention and convey its message more effectively.  

RetinAi @ Arvo 2023, New Orleans

#5: Promote Your Trade Show Participation Proactively

When exhibiting at a trade show, it’s equally important, as an exhibitor, to spread the word about your booth to get traction. You can leverage the power of social media marketing, email campaigns, pre-event blog posts, and teasers to create buzz around your exhibition.

Moreover, you can also collaborate with the event organizer or other exhibitors to reach a wider audience. Share your teaser posts, sneak peeks, and videos on social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep your audience updated.  

#6: Plan for Maximum Engagement During the Expo

If there’s something that holds the most value in trade show marketing, it’s definitely engaging your audience during the event. The more engaged your audience, the better and more lasting impression your organization will have on them.

To engage the audience at an event, it’s recommended to conduct a Live demonstration or presentation at your booth to showcase your product/service in action.

You can also arrange a space accompanied by snacks and refreshments where attendees can stop by and engage with your sales team or other attendees.

And if you want to maximize the engagement at your booth, it’s the best idea to gamify your product/services and announce winners and prizes for the attendees. This way, you not only get more footfall and buzz to your booth but also effectively spread awareness about your solutions. 

#7: Host Giveaways

Though there’s no universal law that states that giveaways attract more attendees -  if you have to wear the hat of an attendee, would you deny the cool stuff given by exhibitors? No, right? The same applies to your attendees.

Develop unique and memorable promotional items that align with your organization and resonate with attendees. 

For instance, if you are a software company, offering limited-edition USB drives pre-loaded with helpful resources helps position your organization in higher authority. 

#8: Incorporate Social Proof

Strategically incorporating testimonials and positive reviews at your booth helps you build credibility and trust. Showcase the industry awards and recognition you have, along with the client testimonials that highlight the gist of your organization.

Plus, train your salespeople to give relevant examples of client success stories to be more effective in closing the deals faster.

#9: Craft a Compelling Brand Narrative

Storytelling is an unsung hero of any successful marketing campaign. If you want attendees to remember you for years and years, it’s recommended that you craft a story around your product or service that gets instilled in your targeted audience's mind. 

Other than the traditional and typical ways of storytelling, you can try new ways of storytelling by incorporating visual, audio, and other sensory inputs, like releasing a particular type of fragrance around your stall at a specific frequency. 

By engaging all the senses of your audience, you get to stand apart from your competitors while stealing their attention in a way they may not have thought of yet.

Have a look at an amazing booth we crafted for Spy Cloud with important elements that support their brand narrative.

#10: Follow Up After the Expo and Evaluate ROI

Lastly, it’s super important to promptly follow up with the leads you have gathered during the event. Reach out to them regularly to be on top of their mind always.

Plus, analyze the metrics that validate whether the goals and objectives you have set for the event are matched. Look at the number of leads or reach of your website and social media during the event to evaluate if you successfully achieved your objectives.

Additionally, it’s a good practice to gather feedback from attendees about their preferences and what and how you could improve for your next event. 

Achieve Trade Show Success with Proper Planning and Execution

When planned carefully, trade show marketing success doesn’t jumble between the possibilities but rather becomes a sure way to achieve your marketing objectives. 

Following the mentioned marketing strategies in the blog post will make it easier to confidently navigate the complexities of trade show marketing while maximizing your return on investment (ROI).

Asking for an expert’s guidance is a smart move any trade show manager can make to ensure the maximum impact of their efforts. You can get in touch with our experts at Pure Exhibits to help you get the best trade show booth that matches your requirements and ensures you’ve impactful visibility at the expo.

We provide fixed-priced rental booths so that you don’t have to be in the ambiguity of post-show billings at all!

Sound interesting? Contact our team today to discuss your requirements! Email us at info@purexhibits.com or call us at +1 800-379-8451 to start the conversation. 

FAQs

1. How early should I start planning for my trade show marketing?

It’s recommended to start planning trade shows at least 3-6 months before the trade show to ensure enough time for goal-setting, booth design, and promotional activities. 

2. What makes a trade show booth stand out and attract visitors?

To make your booth stand out, have eye-catching visuals, interactive elements, and a clear message that resonates with your target audience. 

3. How can I effectively capture leads and follow up with potential customers after the show?

At a trade show, you can capture leads with interactive demos and engaging activities. To get effective results, follow up promptly post-show with personalized messages and offers.

4. How can I measure the success of my trade show marketing efforts?

You can measure trade show marketing success by measuring metrics such as lead conversion rate, brand visibility, and attendee engagement. 

5. What are some budget-friendly tips for maximizing my trade show marketing impact?

To maximize the budget of your trade show, you can leverage social media, utilize cost-effective booth designs, and focus on targeted high-impact promotions. 

6. What are some common trade show mistakes to avoid?

Some common mistakes you should avoid while planning a trade show include lack of proper planning, staff training, and backup plans for any glitches at the end moment. 

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