There are lots of new exhibition stand trends emerging that promise to boost your marketing efforts and help you engage with your audience more. In fact there are so many that it can totally put you in to a crazy headspin and leave you feeling a tad bewildered.

Today I’ve teamed up with my mates Brigham Glaser and Justin Clayden from Streaker (two crazy innovative guys who works on some epic tech projects) and we’ve summarised the top 4 that we think will really be revolutionising trade shows in 2019.

1/ Multi-Sensory Experiences

Customers are endlessly bombarded with information and in order to cut through the noise you need to grab their attention on all levels!

The best way to increase engagement at an exhibition is to get people to connect with your brand at a deeper level. This can be done through a message that resonates with them or an experience that is memorable.

At it’s core, this could be as simple as great service from your staff but since we are talking about up-leveling your attendance with latest trends you could also use AR and VR technology.

These are both immersive experiences that can gamify the most mundane topics. They are becoming more and more commonplace and I definitely see this trend continuing through 2019.

53% of people are more likely to buy from a company that leverages VR at a trade show than the ones that don’t. Why is that? Because using VR shows the prospect that you are at the forefront of a rapidly changing world, but also it’s a fun, immersive experience that gets attention.

With 98% of customers more likely to buy a product marketed through an experiential campaign, it’s definitely worthwhile exploring how you could be giving your visitors an experience that they can see, hear, interact with and even smell. (Yep, it’s a thing on trade show stands).

If you really want to stay ahead of the curve ball then layering in other multi-sensory opportunities, such as scent, can make a huge impact. In fact the the Sense of Smell Institute found that people remember what they smell to 65% accuracy, even after 12 months. That’s vastly above visual recall, which sits around 50% accuracy after three months.

The power of scent marketing is actually a big deal and not to be underestimated. Most people will focus on sight and sound in their booth design but by adding in smells you can really differentiate yourselves. Hotels have tapped into this, recognising that smells can put you in a certain emotional state.

When it comes to tapping into the other senses, you could consider using unique lighting design, 3D mapping,  touch-panel interfaces, texturised graphic displays, and interactive displays. These are all ways you can add sensory engagement to your exhibit design and make for a more enriched experience.

Thinking this all sounds too expensive?

It doesn’t have to be…

My advice to is to go back to basics when it comes to your booth design and exhibition strategy and think about what you want your audience to think and feel when they visit or pass by your stand. To give your attendees a full and rich experience with your brand it needs to be a well thought out execution rather than something that is purely gimmicky. Thinking through this stuff first means that anything you add will be adding value.

Work with your stand builder to creatively incorporate some of these elements in to your concept, but make sure that whatever you chose to do assists taking you closer to your trade show goals.

Eyes on the prize!!

You want to create long-lasting memories for them that will make them remember your brand for all the right reasons.

2/  Personalisation

Customers are expecting more and more – And it’s not their fault.

According to the Harvard Business Review, you can expect five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can boost sales by 10% using personalisation.

I definitely see this becoming more common in the experiential world of trade shows. Just like the warm and fuzzies you get from your local barista knowing how you take your coffee, there’s something nice and familiar when a brand can show it knows it’s customers.

It can be expensive, time-consuming and tricky to pull off if your data isn’t up to scratch, but a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work so well anymore. As a consumer we expect it now.

I cringe every time I get cat specials from our local pet store – I have only EVER bought dog products from them. #DogPerson.

It’s definitely worth your while to take the time to create a personalised experience for your visitors can pay huge dividends in the long term.  

AI technologies are leading the way in helping companies to personalise their customer interactions. Using facial recognition software it’s possible for your reps to instantly know who’s standing in front of them and what they care about most.

What I love most about this is that it’s a clever way to have a more authentic process without having to remember every clients preferences. The even cleverer (yep, not a real word) part is that it would work on prospects who aren’t yet clients! You would know what interested them based on their engagement with content – THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!

Wouldn’t you have an easier time converting sales if the process was smoother, more streamlined so the experience feels authentic? They would feel understood and you would be speaking to their interests – no more guessing.

Facial recognition is already out there – I promise you it’s not a pie in the sky idea reserved for the mega rich. We already have the technology to do it. It’s still a little expensive, but if you can build on the data you collect from audiences at these exhibitions, I see it being worthwhile. Especially for industries who find it hard to talk to strike up conversations with people who are not customers.

Technology such as chatbots and intelligent screens allow for the visitor who is more interested in self-serving. The use of chatbots has been seen to significantly raise engagement, seen in this case study of KLM. Being able to access the information that is of interest to them leads to a higher conversion rate.

Not ready to invest in AI technology? An easy way to get started with personalisation is to make sure that your pre-show marketing is personalised which allows for greater engagement and can potentially attract more leads on the day. Collecting data throughout the show can also help you curate content that matters most to your visitor.

3/ Robotics

Who doesn’t like to spend time with robots? (We treat John Connor as a special case, of course). The promise of world in which robots walk (or roll) amongst us has seems to have been just around the corner for so long now that we are left wondering just how long the corridor actually is.

In the 1960s it was thought that by the 1980s we would all be wearing wristwatch sized fusion reactors, such was the rapid progress of science and technology. Science and technology have marched on of course, but it turns out it’s jolly difficult to deliver on certain technologies and so almost 60 years since that prediction and not only are we not living the Jetsons lifestyle in terms of transportation, but the number of generally artificially intelligent humanoid robots on the planet is holding steady at zero. (There may be top secret exceptions to this, but it’s fair to say that they’re not exactly walking among us).

So it’s no surprise that when we encounter even a hint of our robotic future, we sit up and take notice. HSBC are using this to their advantage and are trialing Pepper, a social humanoid robot, with their customers.

4/ Take a #Selfie

The selfie trend is going nowhere so why not embrace it by adding some fun to your stand and having a selfie wall or a Selfiebot?

Visitors will love the opportunity to post something fun and you’ll get great brand exposure in the digital space. Where this really comes into it’s own is linking it to a campaign that helps visitors see the connection between your key message and your brand. I rabbit on about this a lot but it really does need to make sense for your brand.

If you give your audience a reason to take their photo and then link it back to your purpose, it will strengthen the connection you have with your visitor and make the experience more memorable. (Aim of the game, right?)

Good bonus – You will extend the footprint of your show by capturing moments to share outside of the event. Whether you use a photo booth set up or a selfie robot, this is a great way to improve engagement.

Any of these exhibition stand trends catching your eye? Need help implementing some new ideas into your trade stand marketing strategy? Then drop us a line! We really love to help you get some incredible results this year. Say hi at

Yours in Exhibiting,

Jess (Brig & Clayton)