83% of visitors at a trade show can influence the buying decision. So if people say they don’t work we need to look at why.

As a team we are super passionate about our jobs. The below post isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad, only to point out that there are measures everyone can take to safeguard their attendance. This also happens to be an ideal starting point for fleshing out a strategy. If you want to set yourself up for epic results at your next exhibition, read on… 

Reasons why some say “trade shows don’t work”

Before we have our Debbie downer party, I have to point out that there really is a formula for success at these events. Lots of people (a lot of our clients) enjoy amazing results, but here is a list of reasons/excuses we’ve heard:

  • Just don’t work for our business
  • Everyone knows what we do already
  • People don’t place orders at trade shows
  • We get more sales from other avenues
  • Our social media works better
  • They cost too much
  • They are too disruptive
  • Take our team out of the field
  • The team think it’s a waste of time
  • We can’t compete with the big boys
  • We only want to talk to 4 people at the show
  • We only do it for networking

While it may seem all these points are valid, there is an approach to turn all of these objectives around into wildly successful exhibition campaigns. (*Harsh reality, people need to be willing and there is some work involved).

How to make your come back

If you fall in the category above or simply want to make sure your next event is mind-blowing, here are some tips.

Engage us. The end.

Just kidding ????

  1. Make a plan before you even book the space (with your exhibit supplier)
  2. Get clear on your desired outcome.
  3. What audience are you targeting?
  4. What key message will you share?
  5. How will you transform this into an experience?
  6. How will you convert people at/beyond the event?

Sounds simple. And it is, but you would be surprised how often people think they have this nailed and they have missed something crucial that limits your success (often before you have even attended the show).

Talking to your exhibit supplier right before you book your space and set your trade show budget is one of the smartest things you can do for your ROI.

When you have a third party (like us, wink, wink) steering you in the right direction it is SOOO much easier to formulate your plan of attack. We will help you book the right size space and make sure your budget will go far enough to achieve an adequate design as well as meet your goal for the show. Miss just one of these and you’re embarking on this process with one hand tied behind your back from the very beginning.

Developing the RIGHT strategy is more important than getting a pretty design across the line and making it to the exhibition looking the part – You guessed it – These guys say “trade shows don’t work.”


Key message and why it matters

The potential for a positive return from trade shows largely depends on how your target audience translate your message. Are you targeting the right audience? Are you delivering the right message?

Basically, what you say and how you say it.

There is no point having a tagline on a wall that doesn’t make your target audience want to stop and explore your stand.

We spend a lot of time working on this with clients and I might be giving away the farm with this tip, but really I would go as far as saying it is THE biggest factor to the success of your trade show.

But, if you’re corporate brand guidelines are crazy rigid, you might be stuck with what you say and have to fall back on other tools.

The #1 mindset shift 

This tip has helped countless clients. It’s from the vault but I’m sharing it today because if you’ve read this far down you’re serious and I want to support you in your quest for better trade show results.

** Treat the show as if it is YOUR event. You just happen to be holding it at an exhibition held by someone else.

It’s a simple mindset shift that works unlock creativity around trade show planning because you see it through a different lens. What you do with this new outlook is up to you!


If this post resonated with you and you would like one-on-one help getting the most out of your next trade show, reach out. We’d love to share some personalised ideas.

Yours in Exhibiting,