Checklist for Planning a Successful Trade Show Exhibit

Trade Show ExhibitTrade shows are an important lead source for B2B marketers. In a trade show exhibit, you increase brand awareness, talk face-to-face to target personas, and start the sales process for your product or service.

However, trade shows are also a big time and money investment. If you don’t prepare appropriately, your salespeople will return with only a handful of leads and a heap of complaints.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to guarantee success:


1. Find the Right Trade Show


You will only generate quality leads if you go to the right show. If your target persona is the Chief Technology Officer of a Fortune 500 brand, don’t go to the National Retail show.

When evaluating a trade show, be sure to ask about the type of title who attends, the company sizes, and any other signifiers of your target audience.


2. Design a Trade Show Exhibit for Your Target Audience


After you’ve purchased booth space, it’s time to design your exhibit. Even if you have a “trade show exhibit in a box” that you send to every show, think about how you can customize it for a specific show.

Are you talking to a specific audience at this show? Make sure your collateral is customized with their pain points.

Is the trade show in a unique location? Use that to inspire your SWAG handouts. You can also add in a fun feature, which is the North Highland Company did at a New Orleans show.


Trade Show Exhibit Prep Staff3. Prep Your Trade Show Staff


Your trade show exhibit staff are a major feature in your booth design. Before the show, make sure to set up a prep meeting. This is your chance to share your vision.

Be sure to cover:

  • Behavior Expectations
    • These include making sure they know what time to show up and prepare. You should also be clear about behavior at the booth, such as not sitting on the booth floor.
  • Booth Design
    • Your trade show exhibit staff should be aware of all of the features of your booth. This is especially important if you have a demo station, storage closet, or other interactive parts of the booth.
  • Booth Strategy
    • What’s your game plan for attracting potential prospects to your booth and keeping them interested in your product? Make sure your booth staff knows your strategy, whether that is running a game, collecting business cards, or just talking to prospects.
  • Talk Track
    • It’s important your staff knows what they should be talking about. This includes how your product solves important pain points and how to answer the most commonly asked questions. There should also be an emphasis on who you expect to meet at the show.

4. Plan Follow-Up from the Trade Show


You might have 100 great conversations at the show, but those opportunities will evaporate if you don’t plan your follow-up.

Think about who will own follow-up: will all leads go to sales, or will some be nurtured by marketing? When do you want to follow-up? Will you do a virtual follow-up only, or will you set aside a budget for direct mail or even in-person meetings?

By planning this all out before the show happens, you will be poised to execute before you’re even back in the office.


Need help planning your trade show exhibit design? Learn about our on-demand banner solutions, or reach out to talk to an expert.

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