Three tips for a successful trade show or event

trade show

By Geoff Martin

In a marketing world dominated by technology and online engagement, trade shows still prove to be a successful marketing technique for most organizations. Nothing compares to being face-to-face with your target market and encouraging engagement with your brand.

Planning a trade show exhibit or event display can be overwhelming, but keeping the following three tips in mind will not only help to simplify the process, but will also help ensure a successful event.

1. Plan ahead: Define your marketing goals and establish deadlines

The first question you and your team should address is: “Why are we exhibiting at this event?” Knowing the answer to that question will help you focus your marketing goals and plan a strategy to better help you reach those goals. Need more leads? Focus on customer engagement with in-booth activities such as a contest or social media engagement. Need to highlight a new product? Consider a display that boasts large graphic images of the product and space in the booth for product display or demonstrations.

Once your goals are established, you can plan for your event accordingly. Take note of show deadlines such as an advanced warehouse shipping date if the event is out of town, or a set up/move in date for your display. Create a schedule with deadlines such as finalizing graphic design and finalizing booth configuration, while also making time for booth staff training, printing of marketing materials, or creating video to run on in-booth monitors. Try using a trade show planning checklist like the one provided by Best Displays & Graphics to help you stay on track.

2. Create a functional display that engages your target audience

Your trade show display is more than just a backdrop – keeping in mind your marketing goals for the event, use graphic and architectural elements to highlight your brand, creatively display your product, and stand out from the crowd. Include clean graphics, technology such as monitors, iPads and lighting, and functional architectural elements such as recessed shelving. Also consider the modularity of the display, and whether or not it can be used in larger or smaller configurations. A versatile display increases the number of marketing opportunities because you won’t be limited by exhibit space. Do your research when looking to work with a trade show display company, and find one that can offer a variety of display options as well as turn-key services like booth shipping, set up and dismantle or graphic design. Working with a company that offers these kind of services can help you streamline the planning process and save you time, money and resources.

3. Train booth staff and consider lead generation techniques

A strong trade show display presence will attract your target audience, but once they’re at your booth it’s up to your staff to generate qualified leads. Ensure your team are aligned with your marketing goals, are confident in their brand and product knowledge, and equip them with the tools to gather information such as laptops or iPads. Consider running a contest that requires a customer email submission to participate or encourages engagement on your social media platforms through content sharing or page likes and follows. Most importantly, ensure there is a follow up strategy in place to further explore the potential of the leads gathered at your event. Have a team dedicated to acting on qualified leads within a reasonable amount of time after the event when your brand experience will still be top of mind.

About the author

Geoff Martin has been working in the trade show industry for 15 years, and is the co-owner of Best Displays & Graphics. Named as the fastest growing Canadian trade show display company by Canadian Business/Profit Magazine for three years in a row, BDG is a multi-award winning full service company that prides itself on customer satisfaction while providing innovative tradeshow display solutions and meeting their customers’ budgets. Contact Geoff at [email protected] or visit to learn more.

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