Friday Infographic: The Marketing Power of Trade Shows

With all the hubub about social media marketing today, it’s important to remember that events are still a great way to get yourself out there! Infographic via (Click the infographic to enlarge and view)


For more helpful information, subscribe to the blog, visit The Exhibitors Institute Website or check out the Xtreme Xhibitor DVD.


What (Not) to Do When Leaving Your Trade Show Booth Unattended

Walking the aisles of a trade show, I find that about 20% of the booths are unattended at any given time. Always making sure your booth is attended might seem like a boothmanship no-brainer, but you’d be suprised — I know I always am!

Your booth might look great, but how can you engage customers if no staff is there?

If you absolutely have to leave (for example, if you’re a small business just starting out), your best option is to put up a sign advising your visitors that you will be right back in however many minutes. This way, you acknowledge the fact that you’re gone and show that you still care about your customers.

Also remember to have plenty of merchandise spread out (in an attractive manner) so that people can grab a brochure/business card if you’re not there. Many people already have a plan of booths to visit at a trade show, so the most you can hope for in that case is that they will come back. If they take something from your booth, then they should have a way to contact you later.

Don’t just rely on the person in the booth next to you to “watch” it while you leave. At best, all they can do is tell your visitors that you’ll be back — and they might not even want or be able to when they have their own booth to worry about.

Another situation I’ve encountered: exhibitors roost within sight of the booth, then swoop down on visitors when they stop or slow down for a closer look. When I talk to exhibitors about this, they say that someone is more likely to approach a booth if they don’t feel “threatened” by salespeople. But if that’s the case, they’d feel just as threatened by a salesperson appearing out of thin air, trying to talk to them.

An unmanned booth may be non-threatening, but it is also uninviting and can give the impression that you don’t care. No one would come to a trade show if they didn’t want the chance to meet someone face-to-face and talk about the product.

Murphy’s Law dictates that your best prospects will appear at your booth unattended, so of course the best strategy is to plan ahead: bring enough staff and schedule them well enough that at least one person is at the booth at all times.

Hope your next trade show is a success!

For more helpful information, read other articles on my blog or check out the Xtreme Xhibitor DVD.


Holding Your Booth Staff Accountable at a Trade or Consumer Show

This post is a continuation of last week’s post on quantifying objectives for your trade show/consumer show.

Last week, we said that we needed a solid number for goals such as qualifying leads for future follow up, or making sales to new/existing clients. When you come up with these numbers, you have to consider several factors, including:

  1. Size of the trade or consumer show
  2. Your company’s market share
  3. Size of your territory
  4. Individual experience & abilities of each of your staff

Once you have your number, be sure to communicate this clearly with your booth staff. Tell them their primary objective (e.g. qualifying leads) and then give them the number you are expecting (e.g. 2 leads per hour). You’ve now given them a target that they can reference as the show progresses, and made your own expectations for the show clear.

Why are clear objectives so important? One of the reasons is because many salespeople find shows frustrating because they’re not sure exactly how their doing or how it impacts the bottom line. But with a clear objective, they can have a real feeling of accomplishment and that’s what makes many salespeople tick.

Your objectives aren’t set in stone. You can always adjust them if your show isn’t going as well as expected, or you’re doing really well at one objective and need to focus on another. You can add up the results at the end of each day and let the salespeople know how they are doing. Your sales staff can also give you information from the frontlines that you can also use to tweak your objectives.

The point of having clear objectives isn’t to put negative pressure on anyone–it’s to make sure everyone understands what their role is in making your trade show a success!


Did I miss a key factor to consider when putting a number on your objectives? Have questions, comments or suggestions about exhibiting at a trade show? Post them in the comments! And don’t forget to like this post and share it!

For more information or tips on exhibiting at a trade show, see other articles on my blog or check out my Xtreme Xhibitor DVD.

You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


Upcoming Trade Shows & Expos in Canada: Sept 2013

Check out these upcoming events to see if they’re right for you. If you’re exhibiting at one of these events, let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter! You can find these events and more in our trade show calendar.

The National Franchise & Business Opportunities Show

Dates & Locations:
Sept 7-8: Toronto, ON — Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Sept 21-22: Quebec City, QC — ExpoCité, Centre des foires
Sept 28-29: Edmonton, AB — Millenium Place
Oct 5-6: Ottawa, ON — Ernst & Young Centre

Event Overview: Called “Canada’s Largest Franchise & Business Opportunities Show.” Aside from traditional face-to-face interactions with booth staff, it also features free seminars on starting your own franchise: seminars cover topics like choosing & evaluating franchises, legal considerations, human resources and marketing.

Visitor Profile:Potential Franchisees and local entrepeneurs. The show describes itself as attracting “serious prospects that have made their decision to invest and are now looking for the business that is right for them. ” The majority of attendees are between 31-50 years of age and male (59% male to 41% female according to their own statistics).

Exhibitor Profile: Lots of big names from many different fields, including restaurants, home improvement, jewellery and more. Exhibitors at the Toronto show include Shoeless Joes, Mac’s, Kumon (tutoring services). Exhibitor participation is by invitation only.


Date & Location: Sept 8-10 in Montreal, QC (Palais des Congrès de Montréal)

Event Overview: Largest networking trade event for the Canadian cycling industry with over 800 of the top brands in the industry. Features different pavillions as dedicated showcases for different kinds of products, including Health & Fitness, Triathalon & BMX. Also has a test track for pedelecs and e-bikes.

Visitor Profile: According to the event’s self-kept statistics, 74% of attendees are “Key Decision Makers” (i.e. owners/presidents, managers or buyers for businesses). It services manufacturers, distributors as well as buyers, managers and owners. Most retail businesses that attend are independent retailers. The event is trade-only and not open to the public.

Exhibitor Profile: Exhibitors include Axiom, Crank Brothers and Outdoor Gear Canada.

The National Pet Industry Trade Show

Date & Location: Sept 15-16 in Mississauga, ON (International Center)

Event Overview: Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the National Pet Industry Trade Show showcases products & services for all kinds of pets and their owners. It includes workshops & presentations that discuss concerns and developments in the pet product industry.

Visitor Profile: The show is open to both business owners and pet owners, but according to their 2012 statistics, the majority of visitors are pet store owners/operators or pet services (groomers were a separate category comprising 18%).

Exhibitor Profile: Suppliers, distributors and producers of pet products. Exhibitors include Blue Dog Bakery, Marshall Pet Products, Tropic Aquaria and Waggers Pet Products.

CanWest Horitculture Show

Date & Location: Sept 18-19 in Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building)

Event Overview: The largest horticultural show in western Canada and the meeting place for buyers & sellers of the nursery, floriculture and landscaping industries for 30 years. HIghlights include a Landscape Designer’s Symposium, New Product Showcase, Job Board and Tailgate Party & Awards.

Visitor Profile: Anybody involved in the industries listed above. 2012 statistics suggest that attendance isn’t concentrated in any particular demographic, with the highest group listed as “Landscape Professionals” (24%) and “Garden Centre” as a close second (22%).

Exhibitor Profile: No exhibitor list available yet, but past exhibitors have included NATS Nursery, Sun Gro Horticulture and Renee’s Gardens.

Canadian Wireless Trade Show

Date & Location: Sept 25-26 at the Toronto Congress Centre

Event Overview: This show was founded in 2011 and features 120+ exhibitors, sponsors and speakers in 30 sectors across the Wireless & Mobile Industry. Includes product showcases and Live Speaker Seminars from representatives of famous companies, such as Microsoft, Samsung and Constant Contact.

Visitor Profile: Described on their website as coming from a wide range of backgrounds & occupations including sales reps, consulting firms, app & mobile developers and corporate executives. The site advises that this is a trade only event, and requires some proof (business card, pay stub, etc.) that you are associated to the industry before you can enter.

Exhibitor Profile: No specific statistics given, but assumed to be the same kind of people attending. Companies listed as in attendance include Digital Innovations, Beats by Dr. Dre, iQmetrix and Moshi Corporation.


For more helpful information on trade shows, subscribe to the blog, visit The Exhibitors Institute Website or check out the Xtreme Xhibitor DVD.

Defining & Quantifying Objectives for Your Trade Show or Expo

Your objectives are the big picture goals for your trade show or expo–what you need to accomplish to be successful. You could have tons of reasons for being at a show, but it’s important to limit your objectives so you and your team can stay focused and be able to evaluate their performance.

Objectives fall into 2 distinct groups:

The first is generic goals: things you would like to have happen, but whose results aren’t very quantifiable. Some examples:

  1. Increase awareness
  2. Attract new agents or distributors
  3. Determine market position

And I’m sure you can think of many more besides. Although these goals are important as guiding principles for exhibiting at your show, I’d like to focus more on the second kind of goals: the quantifiable objectives.

These are objectives that you can put an actual number to. There are 5 main ones:

  1. Make sales to existing clients: shows provide a great opportunity to stay in touch or close sales that you’ve been working on.
  2. Make sales to new clients: remember to keep this number realistic. If your staff start to get frustrated, remind them that there are other goals as well!
  3. Qualify leads for future follow-up: depending on your product/service, many of your sales may happen after the show rather than during.
  4. Determine your buyer’s buying cycle: should you try contacting them again in a week? A month? Next year?
  5. Enhance your company’s image: this covers everything from social media presence to how the staff at your booth present themselves. Quantifying might involve gaining a certain number of new followers, shares or retweets on Facebook or Twitter.

Think carefully about your goals, both quantifiable and not, so that not only can you define success for your trade show/expo — you’ll have a way to measure it too!

For more information about marketing or selling at a trade show, visit