Trade Show Marketing Guide

The Busiest Booth in the Building

mstrack bubbleWritten by Michael Strack
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How do you create the most trafficked exhibit at the show? It’s easy really- just build a life-sized game of Operation, and invite Joe Theismann to play!

…okay so maybe there’s a bit more to it than that, but it all boils down to one simple idea: A cohesive, multi-touch experience from before, during, and beyond the end of the show. We recently participated in the Arkansas Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting & Trade Show in Little Rock, where we put this idea into practice with some overwhelming results!

Joe Theismann

Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann operating on our patient’s heart!


Get a leg up over other exhibitors before the tradeshow even begins.

Making attendees aware of your business and exhibit ahead of the show is a crucial first step for a successful event. Depending on the type of show, which attendees are worth reaching, and what resources are available, there are many different ways to go about making that initial contact.

For our show, we were lucky enough to receive an attendee list with contact information ahead of time. Because show attendees were mostly hospital administration/marketing staff, we decided to structure our whole experience around our Operation theme. We mailed all attendees a “procedure confirmation” with a detachable “insurance card” to bring to our booth and check in for their procedure.


Eye-catching creative & a memorable demonstration

Don’t squander that great first impression with a drab exhibit! Distinct, striking and concise branded displays should make it easy for your prospects to find you in the crowd, as well as intrigue unacquainted attendees at a glance. An entertaining demonstration and relevant promotional product giveaways will help strengthen the link between their experience and your brand.

Like most of our best ideas, the giant Operation game started as a joke. “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” …and here we are. Drawing on the experience of our whole team, we were able to bring the idea to life with near-perfect results. And it was a hit! All successful (okay, and all unsuccessful) surgeries were rewarded with a goodie bag filled with branded, industry-specific items like mini tissue boxes, first aid kits, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and more!


The Follow Up

Finally, the show is over! Your face hurts from smiling for hours on end, but at least it’s over now, right? No! Now is the perfect time to follow up with all of those new leads you made, while it’s still fresh in both your mind and theirs. This is the perfect opportunity to move these prospects further into your sales funnel and strike while the iron is hot. Whether it is an email, phone call, or a letter (we prefer mail), let them know you appreciate them stopping by and taking the time to check out your exhibit.

Keeping with our operation theme, after the show we mailed out “post-op” follow up notes thanking visitors for helping out our patient and taking the time to learn more about us. Each card had an individually personalized video message attached, that could be viewed by scanning the unique code found in each card.

Remember this – 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. These is the audience that determines the success of your event. Your return on investment in a trade show goes way beyond the booth itself. Planning for this success requires equal amount of planning and effort before, during and after the actual event.  We can help.  Let’s do something awesome together.

Want to learn more about promotional products, and how CustomXM can help to promote your business effectively? Drop us a line or check out our vast offering of promotional products.