9 Tips for Creating a Memorable Trade Show Experience

AUDIO: 9 Tips for Creating a Memorable Trade Show Experience

The number 9 set on a bright blue background.

A successful trade show presence has three phases: pre-show, at-show and post-show. Let’s take a look at the middle phase, where you have personal contact with customers, prospects and potentially the media.
Trade shows are loud and chaotic, often overwhelming attendees as every exhibitor vies for their attention. Along with making connections, you also want visitors to your booth to remember you when they return home. Use these tips to ensure that you stand out rather than blend in.

1. Don’t be afraid to go big. Really big.

It’s truly eye-catching to see things on a grand scale, so play with proportions to showcase product and service images at larger-than-life sizes. Massive photography and typography can be awe-inspiring and unforgettable.

Multiple views of the Toro Golf trade show booth.
For Toro Golf, we created a booth with large, dramatic product photos and renderings.

2. Tell a story.

A trade show can be a mind-numbing parade of products. Help prospects notice your exhibit with a video wall that lets them know what your brand is about, what you stand for and how you’re different. Because of noise on the show floor, use motion and big, bold messages to share your story without audio. It can also be more impactful to tell your story in digestible snippets rather than asking attendees to watch a long video.

Nine rectangles with white typography, images, or both.
For Stellar, we created several short vignettes with bold typography.

3. Keep it simple.

You can go big and still be minimal. Many companies think the way to overcome the havoc of trade show activity is to add more and more to their booths, but that only adds to the frenzy. Instead, simplify. Create a calm space with a cohesive look that invites attendees to stop and take a breath. From your color palette and photography to your overall message, keep it simple. That includes hanging signage at multiple levels for a clean look that people can see from far away or at eye level when in your booth.

Entrance to the Stellar trade show booth.
For Stellar’s booth at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, we used minimal typography, brand colors and imagery to create a peaceful yet engaging space.

4. Get interactive.

This isn’t as daunting as it sounds because small things can deliver big results. For instance, many of today’s attendees don’t want to haul handouts home, so placing QR codes near products can take them to spec sheets, videos and more. Have tablets to assist customers with your website and product details. If you want to be adventurous, bring in a touchscreen display with an interactive experience that provides a 3D look at your offering. Technology continues to advance, so the sky’s the limit!

Computer screen displaying an aerial view of a city.
For IEEE, we created a 3D interactive experience that brings their content to life in a truly immersive way.

5. Have a theme.

If you have a marketing theme, carry it forward into your booth to take advantage of that equity and tie all your creative together. Consistency in branding is one of the keys to success in winning over your audiences. Or you might create a theme specifically for the event, such as a sports theme or a theme based on the trade show’s location. Tie the design and any giveaways to the theme to help differentiate your business and make your exhibit more memorable.

Trade show wall graphic displaying Hyundai machinery and the text “Hyundai The Doer’s Dream”.
For Hyundai Construction Equipment at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, we created booth graphics leveraging their “The Doer’s Dream” campaign.

6. Draw them in with a premium giveaway.

According to research from ZoomInfo, at an industry event with 400 vendors, the average attendee will visit somewhere between 25 to 31 vendor booths. If you want to stand out, you need to go beyond the usual branded keychains and ink pens. Up the ante and go more premium with a giveaway that reinforces your quality. You can also save the most premium giveaways for your top prospects for added impact. At prime trade shows with lots of exhibitors, don’t hesitate to use an exciting giveaway to draw attendees to your booth.

7. Harness star power.

Having someone your audience loves at your booth is a great way to draw a crowd. Pairing your name with an industry expert or personality can add credibility to your brand. Attendees also enjoy an opportunity to grab a photo with an industry influencer, expert or celebrity and interact with them, making the visit to your booth even more memorable.

Image of two men on a stage alongside image of three people talking within a trade show booth.
We helped Toro drive engagement at their Equip Expo booth with twice-daily Toro Talks and a full schedule of visits from popular influencers.

8. Maximize your investment.

Okay, you’ve created an amazing booth, your graphics are on point and your giveaways are the talk of the show. But don’t stop there. Get the most from this opportunity to make connections by sharing company news. Consider holding a press conference for really big announcements either in the press room or in the booth. At the very least, smart marketers will use trade shows to build relationships with editors and publishers who are actively writing about your industry. Take the time to introduce them to the marketing communications team and product marketing managers for future stories or insights about new products and services.

Presenter speaking to an audience in a conference room.
Our PR team facilitates a press conference for Toro at Equip Expo each year to introduce key editors and reporters in the green industry to Toro's latest and greatest.

9. Take advantage of sponsorships and events.

Nearly all trade shows offer sponsorships for activities, presentations and locations, giving you an opportunity to boost awareness for your brand and drive traffic to your booth. Depending on your budget, you may choose high-visibility signage or digital options such as a targeted e-blast to attendees or geofencing solutions that deliver messages during the event and allow for follow-up retargeting messages. You can also consider hosting a special off-site event for key customers, prospects and members of the media to create an opportunity for one-on-one conversations.

Examples of Toro escalator clings and in-booth signage.
We created eye-catching materials to help promote Toro Siteworks Systems sponsorships at The ARA Show.

As you can see, it takes a lot of effort to make the most of your trade show investment and presence, but the rewards can be significant.

Don’t have time to handle all the aspects needed for trade show success? Contact us about putting our experienced team to work for you.

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