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Top Six “Must-Dos” for Trade Show Success
March 22, 2018
Top Six “Must-Dos” for Trade Show Success
Don Harder

The thought of managing a company’s trade show presence either strikes fear in the hearts of marketing teams, or puts a smile on their collective faces. Trade shows are some of the most challenging – and rewarding – marketing initiatives. To keep things positive and make the most of this important investment, always check off these “must do’s” for you and your team.

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A year in advance, even before you sign a contract for booth space, do the following:

1. Define your goals and how you will measure success. Companies exhibit at trade shows to build awareness of their products and services, meet with prospects and customers, generate qualified leads and build relationships with media partners. Think about each of these areas—and others—and attach a quantifiable goal. You could measure booth traffic, number of face-to-face meetings for each sales person, number and quality of media interviews, engagement and new followers on your social media platforms, etc. Without goals—and associated metrics—you’ll never be able to prove ROI.

2. Budget . . . for everything. There’s the cost of booth space, booth design and construction, set up and take down. But that’s just the basics. There’s so much more to consider. E-marketing, promotional items, travel and lodging, entertainment, press kits, agencies and other partners involved with planning. Get in the weeds with your checklists to avoid surprises down the road.

Read our blog as a reminder of all the things you need to remember pre-show.

At the Show

You’ve planned your work, now work your plan.

3. Do a walk through and take photos to have a record of the booth experience. Keep tabs on promotional items inventory, press kits and other giveaways. Be sure you have supplies to last the show and support the sales people and execs holding meetings.

4. Ensure PR and social media take center stage. Distribute press releases, including in the press room. Media-train and prep your execs, and stay for any media interviews. Be ready to schedule last-minute media opportunities and get to know your key editors and reporters. Take notes and capture those discussions. Post content on social media platforms live from the show.

Read our blog for more at-the-show tips and tactics.


Recap while your memories are fresh. An internal post-show review is key to understanding any challenges so your next show can be even better.

5. Collect all results and compare to your goals—numbers matter. Did you make your goals, fall short or achieve beyond your expectations? Record it all—and discuss the why’s and how’s.

6. Follow-up promptly. With prospects, who want additional information. With clients, thanking them for meeting and setting up next steps. With editors and reporters for when they might run their interview or article. Continue the conversations started on social media.

Read our blog for more post-show tips.

Last but not least, celebrate with your team! Trade shows are bonding experiences, and they are also exhausting. Take the time to thank your team, your vendors and partners for their respective roles. For a complete A to Z trade show roadmap, download our comprehensive Trade Show Planning Guide.