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How to Turn Past Trade Show Experiences into Future Success

July 30, 2019

In the trade show world, if you’re going to improve from show to show, you need to analyze everything you did, how well you did it and how it impacted your overall trade show presence. Whether your trade show exhibit was a hit, appeared to have followed in your last show’s footsteps or seemed like it could’ve used some added TLC, take the time after the show to meet with your team. In this time, you’ll want to gather everyone’s perspective on the positives and negatives of your company’s exhibit experience. Here are some of the must-ask questions that will help you continue moving forward with your trade show successes:


What were the strong points in your trade show strategy?

Evaluating the strong points in your trade show strategy is a helpful way to determine what works well and what should be changed. Identifying what resonated well with your booth guests is a great start to figuring out what you can tighten up in certain areas to make it better for the next show and to have an even greater turnout.

Was there a giveaway that prospects were going nuts over and led to plenty of contact information submissions? Was there a part of your before-show social media promotion that people were mentioning in your booth? Was there an aspect of your booth presentation that people were raving about? Were you giving away freebies that trade show attendees came to your booth looking for because they saw others on the show floor walking around with them? Keep these pieces of your trade show marketing going strong when moving forward. If they are working – try to improve upon them, but don’t take them away!


Where did your trade show strategy fall short?

Just as you’ll want to look at your trade show wins, you should also identify your shortcomings. This is the only way you’ll be able to better prepare for your next show and turn your mediocre aspects into more successful ones.

Were there questions that your booth staffers weren’t prepared to answer? Was there confusion about your booth and its messaging? Did you see people walking right by you and flocking to more engaging booths surrounding your exhibit? Did it seem like your lead generation tactics just weren’t getting you many leads? Look at each aspect of your booth individually and work with your team to improve upon these areas where you may have fallen short and don’t let them happen again!


How did you compare to your competitors?

If you pay attention to the booth traffic in the surrounding exhibits of your competitors, you should be able to gauge who had better attendance rates. Be sure to get someone from your team into contending businesses’ exhibits to grasp their messaging and marketing tactics – but try to do so under the radar. No one likes knowing their competitors are snooping on them.

Were their booths more densely filled? Did they have better promotions and deals going on? Were they emphasizing the same features of their business as you were? Asking these questions will give you a better idea of your position in the market. Knowing where you stand in comparison to those in your industry will give you a better idea of how you can work to stand apart and rise above your competition at the next show.

How well did your staff perform?

Booth staffing is often an underrated aspect of a trade show marketing plan. Your staff should be a huge asset to your exhibit. If you’re able to look at how well your staff performed, you can then understand what needs to be done before the next show so that they’re better prepared.

Was your staff friendly at all times, or did someone begin to come off as irritated or drained? Was your team able to work together well in busy moments? Were they able to answer questions knowledgeably? Sometimes evaluating your trade show team can even come down to realizing that some people just aren’t made for a trade show floor. In a fast-paced environment with long hours, you’ll need a team that’s able to keep a positive presence and be at the top of their game at all times. Be sure to reward your top booth staffers after the show as well – that will go a long way for the next show they staff! Click here for more tips on what to look for in a trade show staff.


How effective were your meetings with prospects?

Having the opportunity to sit down and speak face-to-face with prospects or clients is a great way to build and strengthen relationships. In-person marketing is such a valuable form of interaction that allows for instant and authentic feedback and real connections. It’s also the perfect way to generate increased awareness from those who are showing clear interest in what your company has to offer.

Did you have a high amount of quality interactions? Did your clients or prospects look comfortable when sitting down to engage in conversation to talk business? Did your sales pitch seem to flow well and ignite interest? Ensuring that your trade show team is having high-quality interactions with prospects is very important. One way to do so is by having a private meeting room included in your exhibit, which comes with many benefits. Having a distraction-free area to conduct important business will be a big key to advancing your trade show success.

Did you gain sufficient quality leads?

Leads can be obtained in many different ways. Looking into your lead generating tactics can help you understand what should be continued and what could be improved or changed.

Did you have plenty of leads but ones that lacked in quality? Was your lead count down from previous shows? Were there certain lead gathering strategies that blew other strategies out of the water? Finding out which lead generating tactics work best for you and your audience will be beneficial in growing your business and getting you the quality leads you’re seeking.


Did your booth presentations help you meet your goals?

Booth presentations can take quite a bit of planning and include many different aspects and pieces of information. Paying attention to your audience during the duration of your presentation will give you some insight into the effectiveness of the demonstration.

Did people seem intrigued throughout the entire presentation? Did the crowd thin out and start to disperse at certain talking points? Did it seem too short or too long? Were people who missed the beginning and passing by being drawn in with great interest? Was the presentation followed by deeper follow-up questions? Crafting your presentation to fit the needs and wants of your audience while still hitting all of the points you’d like to share is a balance beam that isn’t always achieved on the first try! So, while a presentation may be a down-time for your booth staffers who aren’t conducting the presentation, still remind them to pay attention to the audience’s engagement and actions at this time.

How can your booth display be improved?

There are lots of things to take into consideration when designing your trade show exhibit. From standout graphics, booth size, floor layout, and booth display type, you’ll definitely have plenty to think through when planning. If you end your show feeling like something could have been improved about your design, try figuring it out with your team!

Was it easy for people to navigate your booth? Was the traffic able to flow seamlessly? Were there features that would’ve helped like kiosks or more counter space? There are many styles and layouts to choose from when designing your exhibit, so if you weren’t happy with the look and feel of your booth, reach out to us today to see how we can help you create a custom booth that fits your needs! 

Once you’ve discussed these main topics with your team, you’ll be on track to figuring out what went great, and what could be improved. Analyzing your experience show after show will put you on a continuous upwards hill to success! Feel free to contact us for assistance with all of your trade show needs.

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