The Definitive Guide To Data-Driven Trade Show Marketing

A lot goes into making a trade show a success – right from planning to booth designing, everything should fall into place for you to nail it. While you may have been doing all you could to make the most of every trade show, did it ever occur to you that you could probably get more out of it if you knew exactly what the audience wants? No? Well, it should have, but then, there’s always the next time.


Data-Driven Marketing For Trade Shows

Trade show marketing is supposed to be a two-way street, where the audience tells you what they want, and expect you to deliver, and for you to hit the bull’s eye, you must first unlock the information they share. Here’s why it’s a big deal:

  • Your audience would, of course, prefer a highly targeted and personalized message, and if you were to send one, back in the day, it would have taken some digging. Luckily for you, that’s not the case anymore. The information or data they share is easier than ever to interpret, and guess what, you need not be a statistician or a data expert to figure it out. If not for any other reason, data, at least for its ease of interpretation, should have found its way into your marketing strategy by now. Give it its rightful place!


  • What could also encourage you to embrace data, if you haven’t already, is the easy availability of insights. With social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook giving you access to what the marketing experts prefer to call “integrated analytics”, it’s time you get to know your audience better. The analytics, if rightly used, could be your key to fueling a conversation or better still, measuring the impact of your social media strategy on the whole.


Time For Some Result-Oriented Planning

With the right kind of data at your disposal, it is not only possible to add that personal touch to the message you deliver but to gear up for your next show as well. It’s a win-win! You could start off by keeping tabs on the latest trends – what it is that the audience likes to talk about these days – if they and you were to engage in an engrossing conversation online, what it is that might catch their fancy? Make your move, and when you are done, do use the analytics to your advantage to see what worked and more importantly, what didn’t.


There’s More To Engagement Than Meets The Eye

You may have been successful in making the audience stay long enough for you to finish the elevator pitch at a previous show, but how do you plan to spark their interest in the future? Again, that’s where data-driven trade show marketing comes into the picture. Whenever you engage with the audience online, you get your hands on what could possibly lay the foundation of a rather long-lasting relationship. For instance, if you were to find out that your audience sits up and takes notice every time you share some visual content on Twitter, you could optimize your marketing strategy right away, ensuring that none of your messages fail to deliver the results they are expected to.

The data is up for grabs, mostly for free and at other times, at an incredibly low cost; it’s up to you, whether or not you would want better audience engagement. Don’t settle for less when there’s no reason to!  


Lead Magnets To Increase Conversions At The Next Trade Show

A trade show is simply great, while it’s running – it lets you rub shoulders with peers from the industry, get the lowdown on the emerging trends, and showcase your products to the prospects. The question is: what do you come back with, once the show is over? Leads? Did someone say conversions? You sure did. But if you didn’t quite get enough of these at your last show, don’t lose heart. The next time, make sure to use a couple of lead magnets, the ones that let you maximize the number of targeted leads and resonate well with the prospects, and you are good to go.

Lead Magnets And Your Next Trade Show

What Lead Magnets Are?

Ever heard of “give and take”? That’s exactly what lead magnets are, or at least that’s how they work. You offer something of value to a prospect and in exchange, they provide you with their contact information. Win-win!

What Lead Magnets Are Not?

Anything you offer to a prospect if goes unnoticed or unconsumed is not a lead magnet, and definitely not a good one. For instance, a 500-page ebook or a 15-day mini course of sorts, in all probability, won’t be consumed. Hence, no impact.  

What Actually Works?

Now we are talking business.

  • Hit the bulls-eye – Anything and everything that’s even remotely vague would defeat the very purpose of going for a lead magnet in the first place. You must find a specific solution to a specific problem for the conversion to occur.
  • One big promise – While it may be tempting to offer a few unimportant things to your prospects and expect the contact information in return, that’s not how it usually works. They are looking for something big. A silver bullet, if you may, anything that turns the tables and makes them sit up and take notice.
  • It’s now or never – Newsletters are a big no-no and so are those multi-day courses that you would like to believe are full of knowledge. The prospects are looking for an immediate solution. So unless you can provide one, let it go.
  • Lay the foundation – See if you can offer something that changes the prospects’ mindset and encourages them to take the plunge, if not now then maybe in the near future.  

Lead Magnet Ideas For Your Next Trade Show

  • Discounts – They always work, and for obvious reasons. Try your luck!
  • Handy guides – Just make sure they are somehow relevant to what you do or better still, what you offer.
  • Cheat Sheets – Keep them short and simple. Right from a handout describing the technology in use at your booth to a checklist that could help the prospects choose among two or more of your products, anything that doesn’t take much of their time should do the trick.
  • Surveys – Make sure to get their email IDs before they get to see the results. Give and take, right?
  • Catalogs / Sales Material – Instead of beating around the bush, you can actually think of sharing something that speeds up the whole process – your pricing list or a short description of your products and services could go a long way in ensuring that you get those conversions you have been vying for.

A Word Of Advice

Before you try your hand at lead magnets, make sure you have identified the ideal prospects, know where to find them, and have no doubts about what they would buy.

Tips To Identify Your Ideal Customer On The Crowded Trade Show Floor

So you did everything right and now your trade show booth is bustling with the crowd – a dream come true, right? Or is it your worst nightmare? Imagine, there are visitors all over the place, but you aren’t really getting anything out of them, no inquiries, no leads, no over-the-counter sales, no nothing. Yes, the competition is green with envy, congratulations, but it’s not like you are on cloud nine yourself. And all this because you don’t know your ideal customer, and who’s to say that even if they were standing right next to you, you’d notice. Well, there’s always a next time!

Identifying The Ideal Trade Show Customer

Do Your Homework

If you want to be able to identify your ideal customer on the crowded trade show floor, make sure you have the customer persona handy. Make no mistake, a customer persona is not a customer profile. There’s more to a customer than their name and the company they represent. What you need is a detailed, well-researched checklist of sorts, one that you should definitely not leave until the last minute.


Here’s what goes into making one:

  • Data you can fetch from the industry
  • Data that your CRM provides you with
  • Data you get to extract from the existing customer base


Here’s what it cannot lack:

  • Demographics – right from age and gender to the level of education and the region they inhabit, anything that makes them relevant
  • Objectives and pain points – the ideal customer is at your show, looking for a possible solution. It is only when you know what the problem is that you can offer one. And yes, they are vulnerable. Reach out!
  • Clear-cut distinctions – What does your ideal customer refer to, when on the lookout for information? The internet? Or are they more of a reader, with an avid interest in scouring the industry publications? How about brochures? You sure these won’t end up in the trash can? Get your facts straight!
  • Mode of communication: Are they open to attending a trade show in the first place, or would they rather talk to you over the phone?


Here’s what it does:

  • For starters, a customer persona gives you the lowdown on their purchasing behavior
  • Next, it helps you develop a deeper understanding, saving you from beating around the bush
  • And then, it pretty much makes it clear, how to market and more importantly, how not to

Send Clear Signals

For you to identify the ideal customer, they must come your way, to begin with. Don’t make do with subtle hints. They won’t cut through the noise. Only something loud and clear would.

  • Make sure that all your visual elements are spot on. You and we both know that you are out there to address their pain points, but what about your customers? It’s time you got the word out.
  • When you take to social media, try and hit the bull’s eye for once. If they find you relevant online, chances are that the two of you would hit it off instantly at the show.
  • Speak the same language. Right from your marketing collaterals to the graphics being used at the booth, every conceivable content should be full of jargon they comprehend or better still, relate to. So if it’s a millennial who is your ideal customer, you know what to do.

While it’s important to identify the ideal customer, the trick lies in identifying the one who isn’t, so you can save big on time, money and effort and channelize your energies in the right direction.

Stop Networking And Start Building Relationships At Trade Shows: Tips

Trade shows can cost you a lot of money, no doubt, and be time-consuming at the same time. So it’s only natural for you to try and make the most of your participation in one. In fact, you shouldn’t have to think twice before expecting something in return every time someone so much as strikes up a conversation. After all, what good is a trade show if you can’t do what you are there for – networking, right?

Wrong! Every time you make an attempt at networking, you undermine the importance of building something more substantial and meaningful, a relationship, which could go a long way in ensuring your success.

Why Networking At Trade Shows Is A Big No-No?

  • People are not naive. They know exactly why you are reaching out to them. They don’t like being used. Nobody does.
  • You are not the only one who’s trying to forge a connection with them. They would have been to several other booths before they finally show up at yours. They are done collecting business cards, half of which have already found their way to the trash can, and yours won’t stick around for long either. So much for networking!
  • They despise small talk. While they would love to know more about you and your brand, a customary chit-chat won’t do the trick. They expect you to stay in touch after the show and would give you some extra brownie points if you do.

How To Build Relationships At Trade Shows?

  • Ask the right questions – questions that may go beyond the scope of the show or might not have anything to do with your products. As long as you don’t invade their privacy and assure them that it’s not a one-off interaction, they’d have no qualms answering.
  • Be a good listener – it’s only human to think about what you would say next while talking to someone, but that’s not how you build a relationship with anyone, let alone those you meet at a trade show. Listen. Just drop the guard for once, and be all ears.
  • Use the right body language – Nothing’s worse than faking interest in what they have to say. Do everything you can to create a rather inviting atmosphere. Don’t cross your arms or legs, maintain eye contact and do not forget to nod. You know the drill!

How To Nurture The Relationships Post The Shows?

  • Connect with them online. Find a common ground and engage them in engrossing conversations. Comment on their blog posts and invite them to forum discussions.
  • Understand their problem areas and offer a solution. Unsolicited emails and handouts won’t go down well with them, but if you address their problems, they will be thankful. If you don’t offer what could be a potential fix, do go the extra mile and connect them to someone who does.
  • Invite them to non-networking events in the area. Free lectures and seminars should do.

Remember, you can’t force people to do business with you, but if you build a relationship with them, you won’t have to; as simple as that!

The Importance Of Visual Elements While Branding Your Booth

Remember that old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words?” There’s a reason why it hasn’t really sunk into oblivion. And you, as an exhibitor, must not forget what a picture can do, for all you know, there’s always a next time – a show where a picture or two could be the difference between success and failure, just saying!  

Visual Elements And Branding Of Trade Show Booth

Words do have their impact, no doubt, but a picture sticks around for longer. So if you opt for a couple of visual elements at your next trade show, chances are that the audience would be much more receptive to what you have to say. In fact, if you were to pass on handouts or leaflets, which would anyway go into the trash can, you could never get them to pay attention. On the other hand, if there are some pictures to look at or videos to watch, they’ll be all eyes (and of course, ears).

Why Are They Important?

Believe it or not, but your audience is always on the lookout for something new, and if you don’t offer a breath of fresh air, somebody else would, and well, they won’t mind making a detour. They are done the reading. They won’t anymore. If you want them to stay past the elevator pitch, give in. And it’s not like they have an aversion to information. They don’t. They are more than open to the idea of learning more about you, your brand and the products you offer. That being said, they don’t have the time to. So either you make a move, or they will.

What Are The Benefits?

You mean apart from the fact that your booth would be a quite a crowd puller?

  • Visual elements resonate well with the audience. They get your message loud and clear and find out all there’s to know about your brand.
  • These elements help increase your brand recall value. What the audience gets to see stays with them for a while. So if you were to give them a follow-up call a day after, you wouldn’t have to try too hard to jog their memory.
  • Pictures, videos, and graphics are known to bring out emotions, laying the foundation for trust – something that every brand vies for, don’t you?
  • A trade show can get pretty competitive, and you have no choice but to stand out. You can, but only if you have a story to tell. And that’s exactly what visuals do for you. Did we tell you they are great storytellers?
  • The right kind of graphics and a well-thought-of placement strategy will leave the audience asking for more. They’ll either happily give your their email IDs, hoping to get more information in their mailbox or head straight to your website. It’s a win-win!

What Kind Of Visuals Work?

While it may be tempting to put together some moving pieces and throw in random colors, there’s more to getting your visuals right than meets the eye. Make no mistake, unless you know your audience, you won’t be able to step into their shoes, failing which your visuals would simply fall flat, causing you more harm than good.

  • Hit the bull’s eye – Even if there’s no supporting content, the visuals should stand out, on their own. A picture of your team, your logo, any of your bestsellers, anything that warrants a glance and doesn’t take long for the audience to connect the dots.
  • Weave a story – Tie one element to another, and make sure there are no loose ends.
  • Get your facts straight – Comic sans is a big no-no if you are a pharma company. Know your own business, before the audience gets to know you.

And yes, like everything else that has anything to do with marketing, visuals too should pass the litmus test for you to know that you have not been using the wrong ones all this while.