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July 18, 2017
Networking  |  6 min read

How to Use Trade Shows as a Marketing Tool

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Kristin Hovde

Since the internet introduced online advertising, most marketers have turned their attention to web marketing campaigns. Everyone seems to be obsessed with social media marketing, and it leaves one to wonder if trade shows still bear any relevance today. Despite the advancements brought about by the Internet and social media, marketers can still use trade shows as part of their marketing strategies. The following are ways in which trade shows can apply for marketers in the modern highly competitive environment.

Product displays

The goal of every marketing campaign is to capture the attention of the target customers. Trade shows provide a perfect opportunity for thousands of people to view the products being marketed. Although marketers can also display their products on their websites or use storefronts, it is not easy to drive traffic. At trade shows, marketers do not need to employ extra effort to drive people to their booths. All that is needed is to showcase the goods or services being marketed.

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Create an experience to remember

Marketers must realize that they need to establish an unforgettable brand for the consumers. It is not enough to talk to the people coming to your booth or give them samples of your products. Your customer service should stand out from any competing products in the trade show. The design of the display and the handling of the customers will create a permanent impression about your products and business in the minds of the potential consumers.

Exploit the targeted audience

Trade shows focus on specific people in the market, unlike online advertising that has a general target. People who attend the show have a special interest in the goods or services being displayed and therefore are potential customers. With this kind of attendance, your marketing efforts will be easier since everyone in attendance has the potential of converting into a customer.

Take advantage of face-to-face interaction

When marketers seek new clients, they employ various methods such as calling or emailing. However, these methods are not always successful, and some marketers may lose hope of ever landing any leads. Some customers fail to respond to unsolicited calls or emails because they deem them intrusive. Direct communication with the customers at the shows offers a better opportunity for the marketers because it is difficult for the attendees to ignore the marketer. In many cases, it is the attendees who initiate a conversation by making inquiries about the goods or services on display.

The direct interaction with the potential clients improves the quality of communication and enhances the customer's' ability to understand about the products or services. Marketers can make more quality leads at trade shows than they can from their desks. The personal connection developed at the shows can lead to long-lasting relationships.

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Cost effectiveness

Marketing campaigns are not cheap, and trade shows are not an exception. However, with proper arrangement and planning, you can reap the benefits of your campaign at a relatively lower cost. The initial investment for a trade show is high, but the cost is justified by the high customer conversion potential. Other marketing methods do not deliver the same results.


Marketers have to deal with varied interests from the clients and therefore need to adjust to these changes. Trade shows provide the marketers with an opportunity to understand the perceptions of the prospects. Some of the potential clients also offer their comments about the displayed items which help the marketers to improve their display or marketing strategies. Other marketing campaigns do not offer the feedback that is crucial to the marketers in the design of future marketing strategies.

Although companies today have more marketing options, they should not ignore trade shows and the potential they offer. The main advantage of trade shows is that they enable marketers to interact directly with multiple prospects. Often, relationships started at trade shows result in long-lasting trade affiliations. Marketers can make use of social media to create awareness about the trade shows they will be exhibiting in. Advertising through social media can increase the number of people who will attend the event. Trade shows provide marketers with an opportunity to understand the needs and interests of the customers so they can serve them better.


Kristin Hovde is the website content manager for Smash Hit Displays, an online displayer of trade show displays, which includes custom displays, trade show rental displays, and truss systems. Along with being the writer for Smash Hit Displays’ blog, she has had her work published on various other websites, such as TSNN,, Duct Tape Marketing, and Events in America.

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