Marketers have a love-hate relationship with conferences and trade shows. On one hand, conferences and trade shows are a lot of work. There are logistical challenges that seem to happen at every single event. Determining the ROI of having a booth in the exhibit hall or advertising in the event guide can seem impossible.

Despite the challenges, having a presence at trade shows and conferences is still one of the best ways to connect with your target accounts’ key decision-makers. According to a recent study, 82% of trade show attendees are directly involved in their teams’ purchasing decisions.

The question becomes…how do you maximize the opportunity of each trade show or event to generate some truly meaningful traction for your sales and marketing efforts?

3 Strategies to Take Your Trade Show Marketing to the Next Level

Here are three strategies and mentalities to consider as you prepare for the trade shows or conferences you’re attending this year:

  1. Promote an experience, not your product or service. The best way to stand out in a noisy exhibit hall is to create an experience that makes people want to stop and spend time at your booth. Creating an experience that surprises or delights attendees enables you to make much more of an emotional impact than selling them a product ever would. These experiences also make for a great word-of-mouth marketing opportunity since visitors will be more likely to tell other attendees to stop by.
  2. Treat everyone as if they’re already a customer. Your brand will make hundreds of new first impressions during a trade show or conference. One of the best ways to make sure it’s a positive one is to consider every person you meet as someone who’s already a customer of yours. This mindset will transform the way you interact with attendees and help create impressions that lead to connection. You never know when a seemingly unqualified prospect could get a new job and turn into a coveted lead. And, you’ll never get the chance to make another first impression with them.
  3. Find creative ways to grab the attention of companies in attendance. If you know a particular company or decision-maker will be at the trade show, consider how you can create intrigue with them. Whether it’s reaching out to them beforehand to stop by the booth to pick up an exclusive gift or grabbing their attention by mentioning how your service can help their specific brand, there are a lot of creative ways you can design your booth to attract specific target accounts in attendance.

If you’re looking to take your trade show or conference marketing strategies to the next level, we hope these ideas can spark some creative ideas.