How to Create an Exceptional Trade Show Experience

04 May, 2023

Trade shows are an excellent chance to showcase your products or services, connect with industry peers, and meet potential customers. To stand out in crowded exhibition halls, it’s essential to invest in creating a unique experience rather than simply setting up a booth. Trade shows are an opportunity to deliver an exceptional, on-brand experience, if they’re handled with intention and in line with your strategic business objectives. 

Let’s talk about how to make the most of this opportunity. 

Huebner Marketing partnered with Daimler Coaches North America to introduce the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider, a state-of-the-art coach designed exclusively for North America. 

The debut took place at the first US-based Busworld – Exhibitions, and included a first-class experience on the trade show floor featuring two client coaches, a design studio, and thoughtful takeaways for test-ride passengers. The expo was topped off with a Mercedes-Benz Club event at Highlands Detroit, where guests enjoyed specialty cocktails from the 71st floor overlooking the Motor City Skyline.

How to Create an Immersive Trade Show Experience

Invest in Presentation

Investing in the entire trade show experience is crucial for success. It’s not just about having an eye-catching booth, but also about creating a cohesive brand presence that spans across all aspects of the event. This includes pre-event communications, branded materials, sponsored events, and any other visible representation of the brand. To achieve this, it’s essential to invest in strategy, product, and execution. This means developing a clear plan for how you want to represent your brand at the trade show, creating high-quality and relevant marketing materials, and executing your strategy flawlessly. By investing in a cohesive experience throughout the entire trade show, you can create a lasting impression on attendees and increase your chances of success.

Know and Speak to Your Audience

To make a lasting impression on attendees, you need to understand their needs, interests, and pain points. Conduct research beforehand to identify the key demographics and psychographics of your target audience. Then, tailor your messaging and marketing materials accordingly. Use language and visuals that resonate with your audience, and be prepared to answer their questions and address their concerns. It’s not just about knowing your product (or service) – it’s about knowing how your product can help your audience. 

Engage Attendees and Stakeholders Before, During, and After

Trade shows are not just about what happens on the exhibition floor. You can also engage attendees and stakeholders before, during, and after the event. Use social media, email marketing, and targeted advertising to build excitement and drive traffic to your booth. During the event, offer time-specific activities (such as test drives, demos, and product design sessions) that incentivize attendees to visit your space. After the event, follow up promptly and continue to nurture those budding relationships.

Plan Events Around the Trade Show

Hosting on-brand experiences centered around the trade show (ahem, and your audience) can help you create deeper connections with those who can truly impact your business. Consider sponsoring a cocktail hour, hosting a speaker session, or offering invite-only opportunities. Personalized events allow you to connect with your audience and build those key relationships that result in referrals, sales, and growth.

Pre-event invitations for test rides and cocktail parties were sent to attendees and target clients. Not only did we begin the conversation early, but we invited participants to have their questions answered during one-on-one meetings – and simply enjoy themselves during a cocktail hour. The evening event featured no pitches and zero information sessions – yet, displayed subtle and elegant branding throughout the venue, and specialty refreshments that evoked sensations of luxury synonymous with Mercedes-Benz.

Make Your Space Interactive

We touched on this a bit above, but are going to repeat ourselves because it’s important. An interactive space is an engaged space. It invites attendees in and allows them to get to know your brand, your reps, and your capabilities. It sows the seeds of strong relationships and encourages positive word-of-mouth referrals. Make your visitor’s effort to see your exhibition space worthwhile by providing them with an opportunity to 

Rest: think, lounge spaces

Recharge: Definitely option out a device charging station 

Learn: Consider one-on-one demos and sessions, and, as we did with the Tourrider, design centers.

Remember: Personalized takeaways based on their one-on-one sessions are great. A takeaway brochure doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Let Video Do Some of the Talking

Video can be a powerful tool for introducing your brand to trade show attendees and creating a welcoming atmosphere. A well-produced video can showcase your products or services, provide an overview of your brand’s history and mission, and feature customer testimonials or case studies. By incorporating video into your trade show space you can create a more engaging and interactive experience for attendees, and make them feel more welcome and informed. To maximize the impact of your video, think of creative ways to display it. Consider placing one or two larger monitors at eye level, facing the main walkways (for those not ready to say hello), and additional screens in easily accessible, comfortable places within your presentation space.

Think Outside the Box When Presenting Your Brand

Investing in the entire trade show experience is the most effective way to maximize your trade show ROI. Exhibiting is not just about having an eye-catching booth; it’s an opportunity to reveal a cohesive brand presence across all aspects of the event. Consider your target audience, and dig deep into the ways you may get through to them. Get them excited about meeting you ahead of time, give them a chance to feel seen, and provide them with valuable (or at least, exceptional) takeaways that will stay with them after the event. Follow up emails help strengthen your connection, and finally – invitations to your next event set you up for referrals and stronger sales channels. 

We wish you happy planning and can’t wait to receive our pre-show invites.