5 Trade Show Basics You Can’t Afford to Ignore


Trade show marketing is about making the right impressions on people. The big difference between the spectrum of routine marketing practices and trade show marketing is that the former offers continuity, scale and thus opportunities to close sales, whereas the latter opens a window of opportunity for a short period of time, offers outreach opportunities and avenues to convey brand excellence.

Preparing for a trade show requires planning, training and inter-departmental cooperation among staff teams to bring out the best brand traits in front of the target audience on the floor of the trade show.

It is prudent for salespersons to keep things simple and focus on the fundamental aspects of the trade show, observe results and then scale up best practices to be implemented across the trade show marketing calendar.

Here is a list of some of the most fundamental steps in the preparation for participation in a trade show.


Training the Booth Staffers for Emotional Intelligence


A trade show is first and foremost about people and scaling up brand excellence through marketing communication. At the two ends of the spectrum of this marketing communication process are tradeshow booth staffers of the exhibitor brand and the trade show attendees.

It is imperative fort exhibitor brands to train their booth staffers to be emotionally intelligent throughout the event and match salesmanship to brand parameters of image, personality and value. A simple but effective mantra of selling impressions the right way with emotional intelligence is to under commit and over deliver with an aim to meet and exceed visitor expectations.


Defining the Trade Show Participation Objectives


In the run-up to participating in a trade show, define the objectives of being there.

  • What are the reasons behind being there?
  • Why is your brand exhibiting at the trade show event?
  • What are the sales objectives and numbers that you are targeting?
  • What are the non-selling objectives behind participating in the trade show?

Clearly define the objectives of participating in the show and convey the agenda to the trade show booth staffers, the sales executives that shall follow up after the show and the customer relationship executives that shall take charge once the leads are converted.


Customer IdentityFormulating a Trade Show Marketing Communication Strategy


Ask sales persons about the number of sales deals that they have closed on the floor of the trade show. Not too many will have the numbers to show. The trade show floor opens windows of opportunity for short spans of time and the brand communication strategy has to be spot-on to be able to grab the attention, interest and desire of the visitors in a short span of time.

Choose trade show exhibit design themes that are rare and non-imitable. Despite the similarity in the brand offerings, a unique aesthetic sense can augment the brand storytelling and thus redefine the visitor experience.

Deploy trade show exhibits that offer superb visual sensory experiences to convey the values that the brand stands for. Hire a trade show company to seek high-end quality in the booth for rent. Remember that the trade show booth is all that your brand has to engage with the visitor.


Pre-Show Communication with Stakeholder Groups


Once decided that your brand shall exhibit at the trade show, ensure that you communicate with the stakeholder groups concerned to not just inform them of the event. Invite them to the event stating in unambiguous terms the venue, layout and exact location of the trade show booth.

Deploy email marketing to scale up the invitations to communities of decision makers, wholesalers, retailers and end users. Highlight the standout offerings that your brand shall deliver at the trade show. Give your audience a very legitimate reason to visit both the trade show event and your booth in particular.

Go a step further and highlight the benefits of visiting your stall at the event and enable attendees to visualize the content of the letter of intent that they may have to submit at their respective offices to seek a leave for the day.

Highlight any professional growth hacks and tips that may be on offer for the attendees that meet you at the trade show. It is sure to not only create awareness of the brand’s presence at the event but shall actually accentuate traffic building.


Rehearse the  for Ice-Breaking with Visitors


The single most important challenge for the trade show booth staffers is to be able to find the right mix of enterprise and politeness in their tone, body language and content when they strike conversations with the attendees. Simple hacks can work wonders.

Look for the badge of the trade show booth attendees, their dress code, age and their objects of observation. Complement an attendee on getting small things right like a nice tie, a great looking suite. Try to be as non-invasive as possible while striking conversations. Ensure that the brand trade show exhibits and brand memorabilia form the background in the direction facing the attendee.

Trade show events are not exclusively about selling. It is about striking a chord with the audiences, investing in business relationships- existing and new, building trust and showcasing value propositions that enable sales after the trade shows.

When unsure of what shall work and what may not, stick to the marketing manual and focus on displaying brand excellence in the most impactful ways possible. Deploy a conservative financial risk appetite on the auxiliaries, but under no circumstance allow the dilution of brand value in the visual display marketing and impression management.