seam blog


Making the most of your trade show:
Pre-show marketing

September 03, 2013
Posted in make your project great

It’s already September – and trade show season is moving into high gear. We love working with our clients to make each show exhibition a success. In over 10 years, we’ve learned a few things about how to make your trade show investment worthwhile. We created this short series to give you a few ideas to make sure you are maximizing your investment.

Part One: Before the show

The first step is to think of your goals for the show. You want to get people – the right people – to your booth. Your materials should be targeted, to let your clients know how your products and/ or services can solve their problems. At Seam, we’re always an advocate for your audience; what do they want? And how can you give that to them? If your show strategy starts by answering these questions, you’re off to a great start!

The work begins well before the doors open. It’s important that each communication targets the pain points your client base has, and demonstrates how you can address them. It’s not just about having the best giveaway item; if you can tie your messaging to something that truly matters to your client base, your booth becomes a must-see.
Free Fuel email blast example
For example, at a distribution solutions conference, one of our clients targeted truck drivers. This was during a point when gas prices were skyrocketing, so their giveaway was a gas card gift certificate. We created email blasts and mailings to highlight this, and the raffle was a big draw.
Mind-blowingly all new stuff ad
Advertising can also work to capture audience-specific attention. For an audiovisual association show, our client featured a booth full of new products. The ad we created, targeted toward a hip AV audience, used humor to draw attention to the mind-blowing new stuff. Successive ads in the series highlighted product lines in similarly humorous ways.

Our grab bag of pre-show strategies has included:

  • Email blasts:
    Highlight giveaways, new products, or something that makes your booth unique and relevant to your audience.
  • Banner ads: 
    Placed on industry email newsletters and websites, use these to succinctly sum up your best offerings.
  • Event invitations:
    Hosting an event at the conference? Make sure your invitation stands out among the crowd. Think big themes, lots of fun… and relevant to your brand and/or products.
  • Direct mail:
    Sure, everyone does digital. But for some audiences, a well-designed postcard mail piece is still the best way to cut through everyday message overload.
  • Advertising: 
    Think not only of industry journals and websites; maybe advertising in the show dailies would make sense for you.
  • Social media:
    Be sure to build up excitement before the show by connecting salespeople with customers and setting up face-to-face meetings.

Obviously, not everything is appropriate for each situation. But the right combination of message and medium can help to ensure your success! Have questions? Get in touch – we’re happy to chat!


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