How to Prepare for a Trade Show: Best Secrets

Trade shows are, without a doubt, one of the most time- and budget-consuming sections in any company’s marketing communications budget. However, through careful planning and management of a company’s attendance and participation at a tradeshow, you can magnify your company’s image, while dramatically boosting business opportunities and increasing the number of quality leads for your product.

Here are a few mile-stones on the way to a successful tradeshow attendance:

How to choose a trade show: Three signs your absence will be felt

* Do your competitors have a booth there?

* Do relevant media cover the show?

* Do your clients and potential clients visit this show?

If the answers to these questions is yes, you definitely should attend the show.


Does size matter?

  • How big is the show? This can be a tricky question with trickier answers, especially for small companies. It is not always easy to stand out in the crowd of a big show. Sometimes, it’s easier to gain maximum impact by attending the small- to medium-size, high quality trade shows. For example, the global VitaFoods shows. With only 10-20,000 visitors each for VitaFoods Europe and VitaFoods Asia, the combined annual totals for both can be a mere half of a single show like the annual Natural Products Expo West (approximately 65,000 attendees). But the key to VitaFoods’ success is the concentration of targeted visitors who tend to be active buyers. American companies, clients and journalists started to attend this show on regular basis. Other smaller shows, such as the annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo, by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (appx. 15,000 annual visitors), have reported growing participation by food and beverage ingredient suppliers seeking increased name-recognition among the key decision-makers who make this show an annual pilgrimage.
  • Also important: How well the show’s hosts provide pre- and post-show outreach to the targeted audience and to media, providing other channels for your products to get noticed. Huge shows with little pre-show coverage or post-show publicity or poor web presence can have less impact than a small, well-covered show.


Picking the best spot for your booth

* Here size also matters. The bigger your booth, the better the visibility AND impact.

* Best spots: near entrances, next to your biggest competitor, near a cafe, near a tasting bar or a in an Internet hotspot. But even a smaller, well-designed and executed booth will add to the memorability of your impact at the show.


How to create a welcoming booth design

When a large booth is not possible, a medium-sized booth can generate high interest when it has open space, one wall or no wall at all, making it easier to attract visitor, welcoming them to stay and ask questions.

Make your booth space work in other ways: Define your messages and focus on one or two main messages. Your message should be translated to visual graphic elements, including overall graphic booth design, videos, presentations etc.

When possible, create a tasting bar and a few high/short tables for meetings.

Don’t forget to include a small, hidden storage room for all the equipment, coats etc. If storage is not available, have the booth team leave coats, baggage etc. with a designated clerk or baggage check area.