walk a tradeshowEven if your prime reason for attending a trade show for your company is to work the booth, you can learn a lot by walking the trade show in your off hours. You will not only get a needed break from being on display as one of the go-to people in the booth, you will also gain some valuable information that will benefit your company’s trade show marketing efforts in the future.

Maximize Your Time As An Attendee

The average attendee spends seven or eight hours roaming the floor. If you are working your own company booth, you will have even less time or may have to split up your time to see the show. Peruse the show directory to mark particular booths you want to visit in advance.

Are your competitors at the show? Make sure to visit their booth to observe their layout, location, apparent traffic volume, and more. Your competitors may not want to engage you in conversation, but you can take plenty of mental notes to help you compare their trade show presence to your own.

What’s Your Trade Show Strategy

To maximize your time on the floor, plan a trade show strategy for visiting other booths that allows you to take in their marketing flavor, as well as gather information about products and services on display at the show. Here are some of the things you should look for:

  • How do the other booths look? Are there any exhibitors who have jumped out of the box with their design? What booth styles are dominate?
  • What type of giveaways are they offering? Do booth workers dispense them to everyone or only those who stop and provide information?
  • What techniques are other exhibits using to attract visitors? Contests? Looping videos? Games and attractions?
  • Do they offer scheduled demonstrations or in-booth seminars?
  • What type of product information do they offer? Do they have only small tri-folds or flyers on the counter? Do they promise to mail more detailed information if you request it? Or have they gone digital with QR codes?
  • Does booth location seem to affect traffic?
  • When you stop at various booths, how do the workers engage you? How do they collect leads?


Make Interacting A Major Focus When Walking A Trade Show

Your observations will offer you insights about trade show marketing trends and valuable measuring tools for assessing your booth and presentation. But don’t just soak in the show vibes and keep walking. Interact! As you walk a trade show, stop and talk to booth workers. Don’t be afraid to leave your business card and pick up theirs. Approach them as a regular visitor might and ask questions about the products. If there is little traffic in the booth at the time, make “marketing small talk” about the show, how they think the traffic has been, how often they change their display, how lead quality has been in past years, etc.

This approach may slow you down a bit, but you may pick up more valuable information if you purposefully walk a trade show than if you whiz past every booth on the floor.

About the Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.