The Most Important Thing You Can Do At A Trade Show

If you are planning on setting up a booth at a trade show there a lot of practices out there to make the effort a success. Booth design, location, staffing, and prizes can all make the difference between meeting your lead goals and coming up short (see Hub Spot’s post on trade show marketing).

That being said, here is the most important thing you have to do when exhibiting at a trade show,

Clearly explain what it is that you do on your trade show booth. 

Yes, I know you are mandated to show your awesome marketing tag line like,

“We Do More!”

“Exceeding Expectations Since 1999”

“Leading Technology Innovation”

“We Do More while Optimizing and Bring Best in Class Value”

but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add descriptive text that explains what part of the industry you are in and what problem it is your are addressing. If you are a tech company that specializes in network security software, say so. If you are a mobile design firm focused on gaming, put it down in writing. Don’t make me guess!

It doesn’t have to be creative, just clearly written and in a big enough font that people can read it from 8-10 feet away.

The trade show floor is a noisy and chaotic environment that is already filled with enough distractions. Don’t make it even harder on the audience. Especially, those that are there looking to learn about a solution to a problem that you can address.


Image Credit:  ShashiBellamkonda

10 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing You Can Do At A Trade Show

  1. Why oh why do so many people do this?

    The curse of “fluffy” marketing taglines written by agencies who don’t really understand how the products are actually used or why

    One (completely bogus) excuse I heard was… well if people don’t understand they can come and ask. Then I can sell to them. 

    Wrong. The right people won’t stop and ask

    1. Giles,

      You are spot on. A lot of people use trade shows to gather insight and research what’s new in the industry but that doesn’t mean they have the patience to stop by every booth just to find out what they are doing. 

      Thanks for the comment!


    2. I doubt those taglines are written by agencies, those scream that  written by the executive. No agency that is making money would use such vapid and gutless language in their tags. 

  2. SO TRUE! Can’t even tell you the number of time I have walked past a booth because I couldn’t tell what they did and with 1000+ other exhibitors, I had plenty of places to visit that DID tell me.

    1. Rachel,

      That’s exactly the issue. There are so many places to visit that you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to have to think about it. 

      Thanks for the comment!


  3. Google had a booth we used for some security trade shows.  All it said on it was “Google.”  They had enough brand power that people would walk up and ask, “What is Google doing at a Security show?”  But that’s pretty stupid if you think about it.  It confirmed that Google had no brand recognition in security.

    For all others not as powerful as Google, Josh’s comments are spot on.  It can either be a statement of what you do or a claim of how you that something better but it ought to be simple and to the point.  It gives people a reason to come by and engage.  If they understand what you do and come and ask, they have self-selected into your lead flow.

    1. Tim,

      I really like they way you explained your point in the terms of lead flow. In  Who would you rather spend time with – someone that is there to learn more about your offering or someone that wanted to know what it is you do in the first place?

      Thanks again for the comment!


  4. I am currently looking for a new role and use trade shows to look for organizations that look like they need my help.  I have seen some of the biggest multi-nationals with messaging that begs the question ‘What are you doing here?’.  I still see stands with technology messaging with no relationship to value or Value Proposition.  Candid conversations with stand people reveal that they didn’t like the messaging but its what ‘Marketing Uses’ or sales people telling me to ignore that what we really do is……

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