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7 ideas for a successful trade show marketing strategy

Trade shows are a powerful tool in the hands of businesses looking to demonstrate the value of their products and get people interested in their offering. In fact, roughly 65% of businesses say that in-person trade shows are an invaluable part of their marketing strategy. This is particularly true of the manufacturing industry who often rely on trade shows to unpack large, heavy, or complex products that are hard to explain without a physical demonstration, but are also difficult to transport for onsite showing.

Studies have found that roughly 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. This means trade shows offer a unique opportunity to connect with a highly relevant audience of decision makers who typically attend events to gather information, network, and discover new products and services.

Today, we’ll be sharing seven successful trade show marketing ideas to inspire your next appearance.

Set up a striking trade show booth

Trade shows are often busy events where it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, so the pressure really is on to make your booth stand out. While there are plenty of agencies who will help you create an eye-catching trade show booth, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Incorporate your logo and brand colors into the signage
  • Have a friendly team to welcome people in
  • Leave enough standing room for attendees and staff to comfortably interact
  • Set up eye-catching screens and digital displays
  • Keep your trade show booth well-stocked with marketing materials, such as brochures, flyers, and business cards so attendees have something to take home with them
  • Rent out enough space to house all equipment, displays, and physical product models

Tip: Utilizing virtual elements such as 3D product demos can give your viewers the same in-person experience without you having to rent out a lot of space for physical models.

JigSpace 3D presentation is an interactive way to present products at trade shows.
3D presentations makes your products readily available to interact for the trade show attendees

Share exciting announcements

Surveys have found that roughly 92% of trade show attendees go to events to learn about new products. This means trade shows present the perfect opportunity to launch a new product or announce new features to a large group of highly relevant customers.

Having something new to show at an event not only helps paint your brand as an innovator in your industry, it also gives attendees something exciting to tell other stakeholders within their company. Your goal should be to get people talking about your big announcement at the trade show, and to keep them talking about it long after the event has passed.

Build hype before the event

In the lead up to a trade show, your aim should be to let your audience know you’ll be attending the event – and to encourage them to attend as well.

Products within the manufacturing industry are often large, heavy, complex, and difficult to transport, meaning physical demonstrations are usually reserved for special events. A trade show may be the only opportunity your customers and prospects have to view your products in real life, so spare no effort in encouraging them to attend. After all, a face-to-face introduction may be all it takes to close the deal.

There are many ways you can spread the word about an upcoming event, including social media, blogs, email, press releases, and promotions through the event organizers. During the event, be sure to post live social media updates, photos, and videos, and encourage your audience to watch the show if it’s being recorded.

Make it interactive

In a study conducted by EventTrack, it was found that 85% of consumers were more likely to purchase from a brand after participating in events and experiences with them. 90% also left with a more positive view of the brands they interacted with. This goes to show the value of experiential marketing as a tool for building brand recognition and trust.

By giving your audience something fun, interesting, or exciting to do, you’ll provide them with an unforgettable experience that keeps your brand top of mind long after the event has passed. There are many options when it comes to making your trade show booth interactive, including:

  • Games, quizzes, surveys, and competitions
  • VR and AR experiences
  • Virtual product demos
  • Giveaways
  • Q&As with an industry expert

Want more ideas for making your trade show booth more interactive? Check out our 7 showstopping trade show examples.

People interacting with augmented reality experience.
AR experiences are interactive and increase attendance engagement

Choose the right team

Staffing your booth with the right people is key to ensuring its success. In fact, surveys have found that staff performance accounts for roughly 85% of an exhibitor's success at trade shows.

Passion and excitement are contagious, after all. If your team isn’t excited about your brand, then why should your audience be?

Be sure to man your booth with your best and most dedicated team members, and supply them with the knowledge, resources, and trade show marketing materials they need to answer audience questions and present your products in their best light.

Gives attendees something to take home with them

Just because a trade show is over doesn’t mean the brand experience needs to end. That’s why it’s best to give your audience something they can take home with them to help keep your brand top of mind. Trade show attendees love free stuff, so be sure to give them something useful that they’ll want to keep (think branded notepads, pencils, bags, keychains, and travel cups).

Innovative software such as JigSpace also means that audiences can now take home much more than just a mug: they can take home an immersive 3D experience as well! Consider enhancing physical items with QR codes which attendees can then scan on any mobile device to view 3D presentations or product demos in augmented reality (AR).

JigSpace 3D presentations and augmented reality experiences can be opened with a QR code anywhere

Rethink your presentation

In a busy exhibition space, sometimes all it takes to stand out from the crowd is to adjust the way you present information. Don’t be afraid to leverage new techniques and technology that attract the eye and spark your audience’s imagination.

With immersive technologies such as AR becoming more accessible by the year, unique opportunities are opening up for companies looking to blend realities and revolutionize their trade show displays.

Here’s a fantastic example of how Automata uses immersive 3D presentations to create rich and engaging trade show presentations while cutting the costs of transporting physical products to events.

Attract customers and enhance sales with our trade show booth ideas

With studies finding that trade shows are the second most effective lead generation tactic for businesses, nailing your trade show marketing strategy is essential.

Let’s quickly review the trade show marketing ideas we’ve explored today:

  • Your trade show booth should be bold, visually appealing, and reflective of your brand
  • Announce new products, updates, features, or other exciting news at the event  
  • Build hype in the lead up to the event, and encourage prospects and existing customers to attend
  • Increase brand recognition and boost sales by offering an interactive experience
  • Offer freebies for people to take home with them – complete with QR codes leading to 3D content or product demos
  • Staff your booth with your best and most personable team members
  • Rethink your approach to trade shows. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies and technologies to see how your audience responds
  • Continue measuring your data, learning from your results, and improving your trade show marketing strategy

Want to enhance your trade show presentation with immersive technologies?

Explore how you can take face-to-face presentations to the next level with JigSpace. Book a demo today.

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Hennika Kestilä
Hennika Kestilä
Hennika Kestilä
Head of Marketing