Three Solid Trade Show Marketing Strategies

Trade shows are great marketing vehicles. Once you decide to attend one, though, you begin wondering how to tell people you’re there. That can be daunting. Here are three tactics that you can consider. They are solid strategies regardless of what type of trade show you attend–a hardware show, consumer electronics, healthcare, or even an invention show. Take a look at what they are and how to execute them for the best ROI.

Strategy 1 – The “Carpet Bomb”

The “carpet bomb” has a singular goal: to saturate the market. Everyone hears about you. But how do you do this? Throw flyers and business cards at people walking by? No, that would not be effective. Remember, all marketing should ultimately improve the revenue of your business.

Instead, assign someone from your team to go booth by booth to give a refined elevator pitch and hand out a short and sweet piece of collateral. Add a simple call to action such as “Check out our website,” or “Give me a call for more information.” This is short but meaningful personal interaction. The immediate goal is to hit as many booths as you can before the show ends. You should see an immediate boost in interest each day that slowly trickles down after the show ends.

Strategy 2 – The “Surgical Strike”

The surgical strike is about precision and focus. It’s predicated on getting the most impact from the least amount of people. This tactic involves a small sales team with the simple purpose of lining up meaningful connections to take place after the show. Out of all tactics this one takes the most effort from start to finish.

First, the sales team gathers a list of attendees and chooses targets to contact. Don’t only go after big deals; focus on attainable yet challenging goals, with a few mega-deals splashed in. Then the team emails the contacts via to set up a meeting.

This meeting happens during the show— a meeting room, in their booth, in your booth, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you have them engaged in a back-and-forth for at least 30 minutes. This is about setting the hook. Get them excited about what your company can offer. The main focus is to have them running toward step number three.

The last step is the post-show meeting. The “close.” This should be a meeting with everyone who needs to be involved and close the deal.

Strategy 3 – The “The Lounge”

This tactic goes against all standard practices when it comes to manning a trade show booth. The standard operating procedure is to be uniform, be formal, and basically stand at attention the entire time you’re in the booth. The lounge concept is just as much effort but in the other direction. Your booth space should be devoid of counters and barricades. You work to make it relaxed, as if it were your living room. Instruct your employees manning the booth to be friendly and engaging but to feel free and sit on the couch. Relax.

But, you want them to relax 50’s sitcom style: There is a level of comfort paired with ability to formally greet people. No food or drink left sitting around your booth space. Your employees should still be dressed nicely. Most importantly, the lounge feel is 100% about the customer. They should feel comfortable relaxing, sitting, having a bottle of water.

The goal is to not have short 5 minutes discussion or long 30 minute discussion but a nice relaxed 10 minute chat. This tactic is more meaningful than the carpet bomb but not as intense as the surgical strike. The goal in this atmosphere is to create bonds on a more casual level than normal. Get them comfortable and more open about talking to you later. Maybe a meeting is scheduled, maybe it isn’t, but they are 100% open to the idea of getting together for a business lunch sometime soon after the show.

These three tactics are proven to be quite effective. You can try one, two, or combine all three for a custom blend. It’s up to you. Enjoy the Show!