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Trade Shows Are Back: Are You Prepared?

Every industry has a trade show that everyone waits for. It’s the one where the big deals are made, and new products are launched. Start-ups plan their debut based on show dates while hotels, restaurants and car services eagerly await excited attendees. Recent evidence reveals that trade shows are coming back, which is great news for both the $11 billion trade and exhibition industry and the sectors it serves. 

What is the “New Normal” for Trade Shows?

Most experts agree that it may take another 18 to 24 months to establish a new baseline for trade shows, but every week brings an announcement of a show shifting back from virtual to live. While some enterprises continue to restrict travel for events, there are new shows popping up in many sectors to serve the needs of fashion retailers, hardware manufacturers, yacht sellers, and mobile device purveyors. 

trade show safety precautions hand sanitizing stationIn every case, show organizers are balancing the available show space with the number of attendees they can safely support. While masks are optional at many events, signs that point out hand sanitizing stations share space with those that advise against hugs. 

Now is the time to help companies get back to telling stories and promoting their products. In every sector, companies will be considering which show to attend, what budget they can allocate, and what collateral they need to stand out. For customers who are relying on your help to make their big return, here are five ways you can support their success. 

Five Tips for Trade Show Success

Tip #1: Get An Early Start. Don’t wait for customers to come to you in a rush! Instead, engage with your clients early to help them assess their readiness to return to live shows. Create a Return to Trade Shows program that starts with the shows they want to attend, where they will be located, and their approach to the show. Think about pull-down signs, backdrops, business cards, and flyers—but don’t stop there. Keep going. What new products have they introduced? Have they changed their marketing approach or refreshed their logos? Do they have new locations or dealers? Did they update their packaging? Quality time invested early in the planning process pays off for both you and your customers.

Tip #2: Design an Eye-Catching, Well-Branded Booth. It may take more work to have successful shows this year, so how to plan a trade show booth may look a little different. Help your customers strategize to link the look and feel of their booth with what is needed to both attract attention and support their marketing messages. (If you don’t have an in-house design team, a graphic designer or marketing agency can help with this). Your customers will need the right signage to draw them in, and on-point materials to hand out. trade show booth design diagram

Tip #3: Choose Promotional Items That Will Attract Booth Visitors. An attractive trade show booth is a great start, but the more people your customers can pull into their booth for conversations, the better. What are the trade show trinkets that passersby can’t resist? Everyone loves picking up buttons and tote bags, but why not consider taking it up a level and adding product trading cards? They are a fresh addition to brochures and catalogs to help spotlight product upgrades and new product launches. Personal wellness items like hand sanitizer also continue to be a popular draw. 

Tip #4: Be Prepared for Last-Minute Needs. For companies serving the trade show market, signage and promotional options are endless, as is the need for patience. For every business that carefully plans its return to live events, there is another that waits until the last minute to make a commitment. To provide better support for customers who are racing against deadlines, keep a special list of signage and brochure options that can be fulfilled on a short turn-around. Remember that 4over is often local, and never far away.

post trade show communication options  including postcards, thank you notes and moreTip #5: Stay in Touch After the Show. To maximize the value of attending a trade show, it’s important to keep the conversations going! Post-show thank you cards are one way to make the first move. Other options to suggest to customers include sending high-quality new product announcements, clever product update postcards, and of course, holiday greetings and gifts.

Trade Shows Are Good for Business

The return of trade shows is driving sales to existing customers, helping new customers find solutions, and promoting brands. It will also help refresh and maintain relationships with established customers and partners. There may be a few more elbow bumps instead of hugs and handshakes, but conversations and deals are already happening. 4over has plenty of inspiration for you and your customers—visit our new Trade Essentials page to learn more! 


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