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


5 Easy Ways to Engage Tradeshow Pre-Show Marketing Outreach

Prior to your next tradeshow, it behooves you to spend some time doing a little pre-show marketing reaching out to potential attendees and prospects. Even if a potential client is not going to the show doesn’t mean that you should not communicate with them. She could be interested in your products or services, but just can’t make this particular show.

Here, in no particular order, are several ways to reach out to prospect prior to the show:

Email: easy, cheap. All you have to do is sit down at your keyboard and tell people why you’re going to be at the show and what the benefits of coming by your booth might be.

Direct mail: sending a postcard or other direct mail piece is definitely a way that stands out. Or course, the cost is more than sending out a simple email. Costs for sending direct mail start at about a buck a person (printing plus postage) and go up depending on what you’re sending. And then there’s the cost of creating the direct mail piece, which will usually involve a small team crafting the message, the subject, the layout and the coordination of the production and delivery.


Telephone call: ah! the personal touch. Nothing beats the personal touch. Much more time-consuming, but if you target a select group of potential and current clients to let them know what’s going on at the booth during the show, it can pay off dividends.

Social media: more of a general ‘spray and pray’ approach, but you can build a little buzz with clever and creative use of social media.

PR and Media: the use of public relations and media tends to get overlooked, but the act of sending a press release about your show appearance to industry media or pertinent local or regional media can help get your name out there.

What to include in your outreach?

The who, what, when, where, how and why of your appearance. The standard journalism approach: make sure people know where to find you, when and where the show takes place, your booth number, perhaps even a description and photo of your booth. Got a video from last year? It makes a great way to bring the show to life, especially if it’s a client testimonial. Share photos on social media and include them in a press release. Photos also are well-received in emails and direct pieces, and make them easier to read.

And finally, give them the reason WHY they should come to your booth. Perhaps its a new product launch, or a new facet of a current product. Or a way to get a sweet deal only at the show. Or a special time to meet the CEO or other company wag. In any event, pre-show marketing can take many forms – and it’s work, but it’s all part of the process of making your tradeshow a success!

Webinar: 27 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing

webinar keyboard

How many rules of tradeshow marketing are there really? Who knows? Pick a number!

In 2009 I wrote an e-book called “101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing” which eventually was downloaded 5,000 or so times. A couple of years ago I revised it and put it back out there in the cloud for free.

As we’re doing a webinar-a-month this year, I wanted to revisit the concept of ‘rules of tradeshow marketing’ but didn’t feel that I could do 101 rules justice in a 45-minute webinar. Hence, the somewhat random choice of just 27 rules.

In any event, you should join us for the webinar. It’s coming up April 19th, 2016 at 9 am Pacific / 10 am Mountain / 11 am Central and noon Eastern. Sign up as usual at

And yes, at the end I’ll make sure you get your own copy of the e-book that started it all: 101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing.

SoYoung wins ExhibitorLIVE’s Best 10×10 Portable Modular Exhibit Award


At this year’s ExhibitorLIVE conference and tradeshow in Las Vegas, the annual Portable/Modular Design award were handed out. Here at TradeshowGuy Exhibits (formerly) Communication One Exhibits, we snared a design award for last summer’s SoYoung 10×10 portable booth.

Keep in mind, this was not the popularity contest where everyone got to vote on their favorite design. No, this was the juried design award.

The goal of the competition was to “recognize the vendors and designers responsible for these remarkable exhibits, while also spotlight what’s possible in this realm.” It was the third annual version of this competition. While it appears that all of the awards have yet to be posted online, you’re welcome to review winners of the first and second years.

When we were contacted by SoYoung last summer, owner Catherine Choi indicated that they were looking to upgrade their current booth, which was a bit of a mishmash of hanging shelves and display units which didn’t work as well as they liked. Working with Classic Exhibits and designer Katina Rigall, we created an attractive and functional booth with a large backlit graphic, product display shelves and a unique aluminum CNC-cut display tree (which is what we think knocked it out of the park and got the judges’ attention).

The booth made its debut at Expo East last fall in Baltimore and will continue its work at Expo West in Anaheim this winter and beyond.

Exhibitor Magazine made the announcement of all of the award winners on March 1st, starting with the SoYoung booth. Many thanks to Classic Exhibits and Katina for creating a beautiful, creative and functional design, and of course to SoYoung for reaching out to us for the project.

Check out our gallery of the SoYoung booth here.



Working Effectively With a 3D Exhibit Designer

You’ve decided it’s time for a new booth. Time to start from scratch. For whatever reason, your current booth no longer effectively represents the company brand, so you’re hiring a new exhibit designer.

Where do you start? To begin with, it’s not a bad idea to issue an RFP (Request for Proposal).

Once you’ve chosen a designer and/or exhibit house, it’s time to get off to a good start with your new 3D designer. You’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

First, if you’re working with a graphic designer to come up with a booth design, you may be starting with the wrong person. Graphic designers aren’t necessarily trained in 3D exhibit design, and 3D exhibit designers are necessarily adept at graphic design. Chances are you’ll want both.


Start by creating a design brief that details your overall marketing goals, and then details the specific tradeshow marketing goals. In fact, if you can detail the show-by-show goals, that will be even better. Define the objectives: branding awareness, lead generation, media and PR outreach, product sales and more. Not everything will be directly applicable to the 3D design, but your designer can absorb the information anyway.

Next, explain from your perspective, the company’s brand and how you’d like to represent it to the world. If you have information on how the brand is seen by consumers and clients, add that in too, especially if it’s different from your perspective.

Now, list your products and services. Sometimes, in the case where a company has hundreds of products, listing them all is probably unnecessary. However, a good description of the main product areas is important. Create a list of issues and problems that your products and services address: what do they solve? How do they help customers solve a problem, achieve a goal or satisfy a need?

Detail your target market. Are they young, old? Consumers or businesses? Men, women? Or some combination?

Sweetleaf 10x20 view

Next, write a paragraph or two on the look and feel of your new booth. Detail size, materials, and how the booth should make people feel when they see it. Is it traditional, cutting edge, modern? Space age, funky, unusual? What colors are in your brand?

Include your budget, booth size, note if it will be set up in different configurations, and the functional needs, such as storage, product display, meeting areas, demo counters, video monitors, greeting counters and other items such as banner stands, iPad kiosks, etc.

Include a few comments on how and where will the booth be stored and whether you expect your staff to set up the booth or if you plan to hire show labor.

Working with an experienced designer and exhibit house can save you money in the long run, especially if you exhibit multiple times a year. You’ll have a professional team working with you at each step to craft a creative and effective design and bring that design to life.


Find Your Exhibit with Exhibit Design Search [Video]

Need to get your hands on your next great tradeshow exhibit but don’t know where to start? Here’s a place that will give you so many choices your head will spin. However, the great thing is that once you narrow your choices down, it’s easy to share with your colleagues and team members. Check out this video:

Check out the Exhibit Design Search now!

Your Tradeshow Marketing Questions Answered [Webinar Replay]

It appears that our first webinar of 2016 went off with a hitch or a hiccup. At least that’s what it felt like! Here’s a replay in case you missed it:

Sign up for future webinars at Our next one is set for February 16 at 10 am Pacific, and will feature Hiett Ives of Show Dynamics, Inc. of Houston Texas. The title of his presentation is “Tradeshow Leads Guaranteed” so you’ll want to make sure to attend!

Tradeshow Blogs and Articles – A Quick One

Time to wrap up a handful of recently spotted articles and blog posts about tradeshows.


Let’s start with the Huffington Post. Shuly Oletzky of Frigibar Industries posts this nice look at 9 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Appearance at a Tradeshow. Many great ideas here.

If you want some food for thought, check out’s The Death of Tradeshows by Dev Aujla, the Founder of DreamNow.

In the news, the White House has announced that President Obama is going to attend the world’s largest tradeshow for industrial technology. Here’s the Associated Press with the story.

TechCrunch believes that the recently completed 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is now a show for start-ups. Here’s their take.

David Saef at goes over The Secrets to Making Live Events Worth Every Penny.

Spark Pay details How to Get Prospects Flocking to Your Booth at a Tradeshow. Some great ideas here, such as investing in look and feel, the use of technology and getting the best location you can.

3 Common Mistakes of Tradeshow Exhibitors (And How to Avoid Them) comes from Contributing Writer Spider Graham at the Business Journals.

And finally Exhibitor magazine chimes in with tradeshow Budgeting: Stats and Formulas. Always a useful thing when preparing for a tradeshow.

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Round-the-Clock Branding at Tradeshows

Tradeshows are a great opportunity to promote your company. Yeah, we all knew that already.

But are you promoting the company’s brand away from the tradeshow floor?

If you have branded shirts, wear them as you travel. Put the shirt on prior to leaving for the airport. There’s a good chance someone will be on the same flight going to the same show. If they’re familiar with your brand, it might prompt them to strike up a conversation with you. If not, maybe they’ll remember the logo when they walk the floor and see your booth.


At the show, you’ll have your show badge, but what if you had a personal name tag as well? Something like that would stand out a little, too, giving people another chance to remember your name and company name. Getting a name badge with your company name and your name costs only a few bucks, and you can wear it at all public events.

If your company throws parties for clients and prospects at the show, there’s another opportunity to show off the brand with embroidered shirts and name tags, not to mention some other item, such as a kiosk in the corner of the room that allows people to charge cell phones. If you have one of those branded charging stations for the booth, there might be other opportunities to use that away from the tradeshow floor. Think where you might find that opportunity.

Tradeshows are full of competing companies, all vying to get their name out in front of their competition and in front of your eyeballs. Finding other opportunities to brand your company away from the tradeshow floor might give you that edge you’ve been looking for.

Get a Charge with Custom Charging Stations [blatant product plug]

Yes, I occasionally post an absolutely blatant product placement. But let’s face it – when it’s a cool customizable charging station like this one, it’s worth plugging. Classic Exhibits just posted this video on their blog, and since we are a distributor and work with Classic all of the time, I wanted to share. Here’s Mel from Classic Exhibits explaining what’s going on with this:

Learn more about the charging station and how you can make it work for you here.

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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