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Post Trade Show Musings

Love or hate them, trade show marketing can be an effective way to reach your potential customers. According to Trade Show Network News 81% of the folks walking shows are decision makers. That is powerful.  Cushing recently attended NEXPO,  an annual marketing expo through SEGD. Sorting through the business cards and contact names, I started thinking of my experience and decided to jot them down. Perhaps one or two tips can help with your next trade show experience.

Try Something Different

Many attendees walking NEXPO have graphic design backgrounds and looking for vendors to help them bring creative vision to fruition. We’ve always been happy with our presentation and offer a number of trade show booth solutions.  We blended banner stand displays with a framed a flat screen TV and looped significant client projects. The digital element complemented the static banner stands and we had several prospects asking about all three items.

Have a Back Up

Leading up to the conference, I called the hotel a half dozen times to confirm wireless internet access in the exhibitor hall (for custom show website links.) Six times I was told:

“No problem! We offer it in the exhibition hall and its available for the show.”

I think you know what happened next – guest services informed me (a half an hour before doors opened), that wireless was indeed unavailable and that I could purchase a hardwire connection (significant investment). I promise this is not a knock on the hotel.  The news was unfortunate but a good time to point out the back up powerpoint presentation, loaded with high resolution images of notable projects WORKED BETTER.

Step Out and Pull Them In

Remember that decision maker stat above? It’s time to get to work. And while decision makers may stroll by your booth (and be two feet from you), there is no guarantee they are going to stop. Make eye contact, shake hands and encourage them to stop (we actually moved the 6 foot table provided to the side of the booth to clear more room for people to walk in).


We stepped outside of the booth at least a dozen times to start conversations.

Does it work? We just quoted a project.

Set them free

At NEXPO, attendees walked the show in between educational sessions. Time was limited (another reason we had to pull them in – they were in a rush!). Remember, they are there to make contacts as well. Help them understand what you do in two minutes or less, exchange cards and let them move on.

Send a follow up

Between the bowl of Starburst candies on the table and an Amazon gift card giveaway, we had a sizable list of folks to stay in touch with (as well as some contacts from the registration list). We sent a thank you message two days after the show, with a one question survey within two days of the show.

Post Trade Show Musings 2 Follow Up Screenshot1

Non-responders received a separate email blast within two more days with a different subject line. We now have several new prospects to follow up with and hopefully more new connections to make.

Have you recently added a trade show or exhibition and have tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Jon Davis

Jon Davis is Cushing’s Marketing Manager. From blogging to online communications, Jon writes about client developments, environmental branding, and much more. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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