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Apr 24, 201811:55 AMOpen Mic

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6 of the worst trade show marketing mistakes to avoid

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Trade shows and conferences are a still a key strategy in most business-to-business marketing plans, and they take up a large portion of the marketing budget because they have the highest cost per lead of any marketing activity.

How can you ensure that the time and money you spend on trade show marketing is effective and cost efficient? Here are six of the worst trade show mistakes to avoid for conference sponsors and exhibitors:

1. Poor pre-show marketing

Some companies mistakenly believe that the work starts when you arrive at the conference to set up your exhibit booth, but nothing could be worse for your trade show return on investment. Smart companies start marketing to trade show attendees before the conference begins through email, direct mail, social media, and individual sales outreach to set up meetings on site.

2. A boring booth

Trade show exhibit halls are designed for interactive experiences. So if you show up with nothing more than a backdrop and collateral on your tabletop, your booth will under perform. Using your pre-show marketing and the booth itself, create some kind of activity to entice people to stop by — either through a game, demonstration, or adding an interactive element. At the Culver’s Reunion conference, this booth had a Scoopie photo op standee as part of a scavenger hunt and an interactive map where an owner could put a sticker of their restaurant location.

3. An overly busy booth

The opposite of No. 2, don't clutter your booth with too much stuff. First determine the goal of the booth display, and then decide how you can get that message across with the fewest words and images possible. We’re looking for big statements here, not detailed paragraphs — save those for a brochure handout. Think of your backdrop as a billboard, it should clearly communicate a headline that can open a dialogue. The booth shown below asked a question of attendees using an interactive poll with tubes full of M&M candies, a natural conversation starter.


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