Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

An Open Letter to Veteran Exhibitors

Dear Exhibitor,

You are an experienced tradeshow marketer. You probably have been to many more shows than most of your colleagues. You’ve seen it all – from the small mom and pop shows decades ago to the sophisticated shows with several thousand exhibitors. You’ve seen goofy musical acts, professional product or service demonstrators in booths, wolfed down tons of free food samples, pocketed hundreds of free giveaways until you finally decided they were mostly just worthless junk.


And it’s a pretty good bet you know what works. You’ve tested pre-show marketing, booth staff training, having your best sales people on the show floor and you wonder why your company’s sales staff still has a hard time following up on all of those leads once the show is over.

So let’s see it: let’s see the results of those years of experience. What did you get out of it? By now you must have figured out exactly where the wasted dollars are – and you’ve plugged those holes so that every single dollar spent on tradeshow marketing makes an impact. Right?

Yes, let’s see the records of all of those tradeshows. No doubt – with your experience – you can pull out a 3-ring binder for every show for the past decade and answer any question about the show: how much was spent on booth space, drayage, travel and lodging, pre-show marketing, etc. – and can show us what the ROI was on all of those dollars invested.

3 ring binder

Heck, you can probably even show us in great detail with song and dance, the impact of your young social media team. No doubt they’re compiling stats on how many contests they’ve run through Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to the booth – and what the results of those contests or show specials are. They likely have a precise count of the number of photos and videos they’ve posted in relation to the show, and what the feedback was from them.

So: let’s see them. Let’s see all the results of your professionalism in action. If you can immediately pull those results up on your computer or grab a binder and hand to me – then you’re good. In fact, you’re awesome. You can go back to whatever it was you were doing before you started reading this letter. After all, you are the pro. You’re the expert – the veteran tradeshow marketer who’s been doing this for years. No one can surprise you. After all, you’ve seen it all.

But, if not – if you can scrunch up your face and say ‘Hmmm…I might admit that there are a few missing spots…’ I would ask: What exactly is missing?

Don’t have all the records you think you should? You’re not doing all that you really could be doing at each show?

Let’s suppose that it might be good to have a refresher on the various elements of tradeshow marketing – JUST to make sure that you’re not missing any pieces. After all,  it’s not a bad idea to see things from a new perspective, right?

So, from my viewpoint, here’s a list of what you might consider keeping track of in your tradeshow marketing endeavors:

  • Overall Tradeshow Marketing Objectives
  • Shows You Attend and the Specific Objectives for Each Show
  • Budgeting Figures
  • Pre-show Marketing
  • Public Relations Outreach
  • Exhibit Booth: size, age, layout, cost
  • Booth Staff: who are they; what’s their experience and training and overall level of knowledge of the tradeshow marketing efforts
  • Show and Booth Visitors: breakdown of each show in detail
  • Social Media Sharing: who’s in charge, what content gets shared, what are the results
  • Post-show Follow Up
  • Lead Generation: methods of collection, grading, distribution
  • Record Keeping
  • Final Overall Assessment

These bullet points can be broken down in great detail and the more detail you have, the more educated you are – and the higher the chances that you will have a more successful show.

Remember this: your competition is out there and many of them invest heavily in booth staff training, pre-show marketing, public relations, and social media engagement. They’re not fooling around. If you’re not looking closely at these items on a regular basis and keeping your tradeshow marketing assessment current, you could be slipping behind because it’s a good bet your main competitors are. Those competitors want to win – and they want to take away your current clients and customers. No doubt they’re doing everything they can to achieve those goals.

What are you doing with your tradeshow marketing to keep one step ahead of your competitors? Are you investing in an upgraded booth when the old one is falling apart or do you limp along another year? Are you investing in keeping your booth staff on top of their game with regular trainings? Are you investing in creating a great experience for your clients and potential clients at the next tradeshow, or do you just cross your fingers and hope that the status quo will be ‘good enough’ for this year?

Do you think your competitors are settling for ‘just good enough’?

If not, what are you going to do about it?


Tim Patterson signature




Tim Patterson
TradeshowGuy Exhibits
1880 4th Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Toll Free: 800-654-6946

PS. If you need help performing a complete tradeshow marketing analysis or audit, click here.

  • Colby ,

    I’m going to be attending this conference this year. I chose Nimlok-Louisiana because they offer some really great build quality. No cheap stuff. I like to save money as much as the next guy, but I’ll take quality over price most times.

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