Trade Show Secrets, Part I: A Guide to Success

For three decades, Marketing Plus has been serving our clients as a full-service, creative marketing agency. And as many of you know, we also specialize in custom trade show booth design services, along with logistical support and event planning. Trade shows are both a passion and a big success story for us, and we thought this would be a timely topic to talk about in this, our 30th anniversary year.

Starting this week, we are going to take an in-depth look at trade shows – from planning and design to execution and followup. Trade shows will always be an important part of your marketing efforts, and we feel it will be beneficial for our clients and partners to get a feel of what goes into the process, and learn something of the story of what goes on behind-the-scenes.

Our core trade show team has put together this list of top bullet points for trade show planning, to make your exhibiting experience as seamless and professional as possible. This is our basic set of trade show planning steps, developed over our many years of designing and managing booths, and we hope you find it interesting (and helpful.)

Trade Show Success Guide

  • Selection Process. Where it all begins: Choosing which trade show to attend, selecting a booth size and location, submitting an application to exhibit, and of course defining a message and objectives. This first step is obviously one of the most important, and you’ll want to dedicate plenty of time to getting the basics right.
  • Pre-Show Communications. Schedule meetings for those involved in the show. Publicize the fact your company will be attending the show via press releases, web site announcements, social media, and direct mail. Don’t forget to send free passes to your business prospects, too.
  • Booth Planning. Plan the layout of your booth, and where everything will be placed. Order all the required services and rentals for the booth, and start to prepare displays or items you will be shipping to the show.
  • Logistics. Book hotels, shipping, transportation, catering, etc.
  • Materials. Leave plenty of time for prepping and printing of brochures, collateral, promotional giveaways and press kits.
  • Event Planning. Prepare and send invitations to hospitality events, schedule and set up meetings with clients and press.
  • Briefing. Send out itineraries, show schedule, to-do lists for staff, schedule breaks and who will work what areas of the booth. Rehearse sales conversations (what to say, and what not to say!)
  • At the Trade Show. Shipments arrive. Set up your booth, prep for “show ready status”, set up lobby displays (and new product showcase if participating). Attend show receptions, networking opportunities put on by show management, attend scheduled dinners and events. Take photos throughout the show. At close of the show, break down your booth and prep for return shipment; ship your booth out, and head for home.
  • After the Trade Show. Receive returned booth and inventory shipments; put away all extra collateral, pack and store the booth. Meet with staff to report any information worth noting from the show (i.e. attendance, leads, ratings of event, general recap. Follow up with all leads.

Sound complicated? Well, it sort of is! But the good news is that Marketing Plus has been doing this for many years, and has a track record of trade show success we are proud of. Whether you need a simple tabletop stand or a large multilevel display, our custom booth solutions will impress your toughest clients.

And as a full-service agency, Marketing Plus will bring the skills of our award-winning designers and creative team to your booth – so you’ll stand out from the crowd every time!

Tradeshow Booth Panaramic Design

Browse our gallery to see a selection of the many portable and modular options available. See something here you like? Have an idea for something you don’t see? Contact us and let’s talk.

Stay tuned to this space for our next installment of Trade Show Secrets: Portable Pop Up Booths.