Nth Degree Trade Show and Event Marketing Blog

Trade Show Displays for the Time-Deficient Attendee

Posted by D'Anna Hurley on Oct 19, 2016 11:15:00 AM
Find me on:


My name is D’Anna and I am #obsessed with Outlook reminders. Not only do I rely on this helpful tool to stay on-task with my busy schedule, but I am constantly snoozing and rescheduling the reminders for other A-list items or when I’m sure I will have more time. Reminders to write this very post appeared 3 times before I got started!

My point is that as busy professionals, our time is so valuable and we are stretched thin. Trade show attendees are no different. Sure, they committed time and money to attend the trade show and maybe they even opened your pre-show email invite, but that doesn’t guarantee they will make their way to your booth once on site, or that they will absorb the message you have worked tirelessly to communicate to them.  

Below are 5 tips on ways to respect the time of the attendees that do make it to your booth, and how to extend your reach beyond your trade show display for further engagement.

Attendees want a little push; give it to them: According to CEIR’s 2016 Digital Toolkit to Enhance the Attendee Experience, “A majority of time-starved, final-decision-makers…find it important to receive emails, text invites or reminders to special events, 59 percent.” The study showed that in terms of digital information sources, “Exhibitor emails and subscriber opt in texts are given the highest effectiveness ratings in driving attendees to a booth.”

Don’t let your small exhibit space (or budget) limit you: Boutique is a word met with expectations of personal service and a bespoke approach. Use this to your advantage. Work with your trade show display design team to create a space that is personalized to your ideal customer. Here is an example of an award-winning exhibit that told its story and drew in attendees all within a 10’ x 20’ space. 

Define your buyer personas as part of your trade show planning: Speaking of your ideal customer, if you don’t have fully developed buyer personas, now might be a good time to work on this. Preparing in advance for not only what your exhibit should feature to engage your ideal customer, but how best to communicate with them before, during and after your show is key. If you need a little help, HubSpot’s blog has a great post about this very subject here.  

Make it easy for attendees to digitize your message: According to the same CEIR study, “The product information gathering methods important to a majority of attendees includes traditional scanning of badges by exhibitors…gathering information on mobile devices, interactive screens where attendees can send product info to themselves via email and access to USB’s.” In other words, your attendees are going to be bombarded with information and distracted by all the shiny and fun things a trade show has to offer. They need to be able to review your offering and/or product information at a later date. What’s more? A digitized message is something that is easily shared with colleagues and can include interactive elements to engage with your audience even after the show ends.

Take a hard look at social media and your goals: Not everyone sees the value in social media during a trade show depending on what your strategic marketing plan is. But, I don’t have to tell you that there is a ton of evidence that shows it is an effective tool under the right circumstances. For example, if you have a new product to launch, you may want to consider a social strategy including teasers and invitations to special events around this launch. Targeting industry-specific media, bloggers and evangelists before the show is a smart approach as well – and whatever you do, don’t forget to use your trade show’s hashtag and listen to conversations that may impact what you do come show opening. Remember, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real epidemic. I jest, but seriously, no one wants to be the last to know. Make your product/message/offering the next hot thing on the show floor and be sure to make your attendees’ visit to your trade show display well worth their time.


Topics: Trade Shows, Trade Show Growth, Trade Show Exhibitor, Trade Show Displays