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How Can We Ensure Success for Our Trade Shows With the Changing Landscape?

large tradeshow booth display for Atalanta with dozens of various food samples

No matter what year it is, you have to adjust the way you exhibit. To be a great event marketer at tradeshows, it takes time, it takes resources and it takes knowledge. All of these factors combine to create: audience connection. “Your audience is ravenously seeking connections” – Travis Stanton, Editor-in-Chief Exhibitor Magazine. We’ll teach you how to achieve these connections, and more.

Understand the Change in Your Audience

In 2023, we know that audience attendance is down 10-20% in a post-Covid world, but our audience quality is higher. When we talk about quality, we mean actual conversions and connections–the real appeal to exhibiting. Tradeshows offer a chance to create real engagement with customers, and build a real connection with them through the experience. Better conversions and connections means we can target the people who are coming with more consistency and accuracy than ever before. 

So the opportunity is there, but how do we create these connections? 

Recalibrate Your Objectives

First, we want to assess your landscape. What you’ve done in the past few years may not necessarily be wrong, but it also might not be right. Your goals need to be guided by intention. You don’t want to be doing shows just for brand awareness; we want to get ahead of the game. Tradeshows are an opportunity for clients and closing. Pre-show marketing helps weed out your pool of options and pre-scheduled appointments that happen at the tradeshow boost your conversions and can provide a final stage to close your pipeline. But it’s not the only way to gain more clients. 

Go Big or Go Virtual

When you look at your tradeshow portfolio, really investigate what you’re attending. Be honest about the programs that you’re involved in, and keep it down to the basics. If it can be done virtually, try that. (If you need help, we wrote a guide.). If it can’t be done virtually, that’s where you need to focus your face-to-face time and dollars. Build what you need wisely, explore tradeshow booth rentals, and keep intention behind all of your expenditures. Tracking and analysis is your best friend when it comes to your post show activities. Figure out what worked & why, and replicate that going forward. 

Train Your Tradeshow Staff

The biggest part to your tradeshow success after good planning, is good execution. Focus on equipping booth staff with the knowledge and skills to effectively interact with attendees. Control who is staffed at the exhibit to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable and well-prepared before the show begins. Hiring a booth staff trainer can help you achieve the highest return on investment. It might help to organize a pep rally before the show and a meet-up after. Doing this will help keep morale high pre-show and allow you to be more prepared for future shows. Provide staff with clear messages & talking points to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Differentiate from Your competitors

Lastly, you have to make sure you stand out. In today’s digital era, connecting  with your audience goes beyond having a strong presence at tradeshows. It’s about creating an experience that will engage and excite them. Think beyond the basics of exhibiting – explore ways to increase customer engagement through intention with your product. Give them the tools to visualize it in action: gamification, virtual reality, interactive demos, augmented reality experiences are all ways to start.

Do your Best!

The 2023 season is sure to bring a host of new challenges, but with the right Playbook, you’ll be well-positioned for success. Now more than ever it’s important to lead with intention, and ensure customer engagement is at the forefront of your efforts. Good luck – we know you’ll make the most of it!

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