Getting the Best Bang for Your Trade Show Buck

This is an exciting time for the events industry. As trade shows & conferences ramp up again, business leaders and marketing teams need to decide which trade shows best fit their exhibition needs. Undoubtedly, these companies still have some uncertainty about the near future, but there is also a great deal of opportunity.


A recent Forbes article recapped “NY NOW,” a convention Aug. 8-11. It was the first in-person trade show at the Javits Center since New York suspended live events during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The Forbes article revealed something we suspected would occur, crowds at events may be smaller in the immediate future, but the people who attend the events are highly motivated.


The article quotes Daniel Koval, founder and managing director of 54Celsius, “Retailers who did venture out to the show came to buy, and we had a fabulous show. While the aisles were quiet, we had customers in our booth virtually non-stop.”


“Buyers came to buy, not kick the tires,” agreed Mary Althoff, founder, and owner of Mierco Fine European Linens.


There were also fewer exhibitors at the convention. “Some buyers did comment that the show was smaller, and some of the brands they wished they were able to meet were not attending. We reminded buyers we were still in a pandemic... some brands were international and impacted by travel concerns, some brands have supply chain issues crippling their business. The list goes on,” said Jaime Windau, owner of Love Bubby,


Fewer exhibitors combined with smaller, motivated crowds present a real opportunity for businesses. However, a commitment to exhibit is not enough. Exhibitors still must stand out from their competition. Here are some ways for companies to get the best bang from their trade show buck.




One essential step for exhibitors to take is to create a clear and actionable trade show plan. Once you pinpoint the expos that will best showcase your brand, you must identify how to make the most of this opportunity.


Start by ascertaining why you are attending. Do you want to boost lead generation? Would you like to acquire new partnerships and vendors? Do you hope to grow your business network?


You may also identify some secondary goals you wish to accomplish. For example, attending some breakout sessions and speeches could be beneficial to stay up to date on industry best practices. Or you may want to wander the show floor and check out the other exhibits; see what your competitors are doing.


Once you are clear on your primary and secondary goals, you have to determine how to accomplish them. Let’s use lead generation as an example. What does lead generation mean to your company, specific business sector, and industry? What number of leads would qualify as a success? Do you want to rake in as many leads as possible, or should you narrow your focus to only the most qualified leads? Also, what steps do you need to take to qualify those leads on the fly while still managing your exhibit efficiently?  


During the show


Your pitch is prepared and perfected. Your marketing collateral is created and displayed. Yet, those are only beneficial to someone who visits your booth. Fortunately, there are some simple and cost-effective ways to grab the eyes of passersby and ensure that your exhibit stands out from the competition.


Banner stands


Convenient and low-cost banner stands deliver an immediate pop to your booth presentation. A banner stand’s impressive size and the custom graphics attract attention even across a busy show floor. You can also get innovative with multiple units and arrange them side by side to create a high-impact display wall.


Table throws


You can efficiently transform the nondescript tables supplied by a venue into something elegant, electric, or anything else you wish to convey. Printed table covers enable your brand to identify itself immediately. They are a powerful extension of your brand experience.


Modular displays


A modular exhibit allows you to be flexible when it comes to show floor space. Because you can change your layout to fit in various configurations, it gives you an advantage over other companies with more inflexible booth layouts. For example, a prime spot corner spot may also have an awkward floor designation (which could mean it has a discounted price). With a modular display, you can adapt your layout to a wide variety of floorplans, giving you options when it comes to purchasing space on the show floor.




A big mistake many exhibitors make – arguably the most significant mistake – is waiting too long to reach out to their potential leads once the show has ended. The longer you delay, the more time you provide for your competition at that same show to swoop in and ruin all of your hard work and effort.


According to research performed by, 35-50% of the sales generated at a trade show go to the vendor that responds first. With the highly motivated crowds at current events, reaching out first may be more critical than ever.


The most effective follow-up technique is a phone call utilizing the personalized info you gathered at the event. You could also send an email, which is almost as effective as a phone call as long as the message is personalized.


Another valuable post-show action is to send a survey to everyone who visited your booth. You want to send these as soon as you can once the event is over, so visitors can respond while their memories are fresh. To receive the most honest answers, keep the surveys anonymous, short, and straightforward. A survey with too many questions discourages people from completing it. Also, make it easy to complete by providing questions with multiple choice answers. This will help ensure that you get a variety of responses, insights, and perspectives.


After a year of inactivity, the trade show industry is slowly returning and will heat up soon. We’re ready to help you strike while the opportunity is there. For all your essential trade show displays & supplies, give Exhibit Store a call at 800-234-6760 or contact us here.