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January 5, 2018
Trade Show Planning: 6 Important To-Dos During the Show
Bob Musinski
Bob Musinski

You’ve done all the prep work. You’ve strategized, meticulously designed your booth, scheduled interviews with editors and created social media content. Now the trade show you’ve been planning for months is finally here.

Stepping onto the trade show floor, there’s a lot going on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but you can ensure you’re staying on track by creating a checklist like the one we have in our trade show planning guide. Print it out and have it with you at your booth, keeping a digital version on hand as well.

This checklist is easy to follow and can maximize all the work you’ve done prior to the event in order to effectively drive prospects to the booth and make the most of your marketing budget. Here are six planning ideas covering strategy, booth design, PR and social media.

Strategy and Budgets

1. Schedule on-site booth walkthroughs.

Online listening tracks consumers’ conversations around a product and brand—and possibly an industry and competitors—and analyzes these trends. While B2B marketers might think they already know the sentiment of their target audience, online listening provides a way for companies to obtain unfiltered conversations and test the accuracy of their assumptions. This is a way to challenge assumptions with real world truth. 

By recognizing patterns among a brand’s consumers, the company can begin to specifically reach out and target that audience. For instance, if people who buy a product also like to travel, that knowledge can be incorporated into the consumer outreach. By utilizing social listening to create a more defined definition of a target consumer, companies can better engage with them.

Design and Production

2. Take photos of your booth.

You worked hard getting your booth to where it is now – document it! This may seem like a no brainer, but it can be easy to forget about when you’re busy talking to show attendees or walking the show floor. If you have to, set a reminder on your phone to take pictures of the booth with and without people in it. These photos can be used for social media posts as well as a reference for future shows.

3. Take inventory.

Don’t forget to occasionally take inventory of supplies in your booth during each day of the show. This will ensure you don’t run out of the basics: trashcans, beverages, pens, breath mints, etc.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you have paper and pen on hand for capturing details from conversations with editors and reporters. Having that information written down will help you when it’s time to follow up after the show (but we’ll talk about that later).

Promotional PR & Social Media Planning

4. Distribute press releases.

Press releases are an effective tool for getting the word out about a new product or your booth presence in general. We recommend distributing your press release the morning of the first day of the show. This will not only create awareness around any new products, but give editors some valuable content for during and post-show coverage. If you have more than one press release to distribute, consider scheduling one to go out a week prior to the show in order to tease any new products or notable giveaways and activities at your booth.

5. Capture discussion and editor questions during media interviews.

Media interviews typically span anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. During that short amount of time, a lot of topics can be covered. Be sure to write down important details from these conversations so you can remember to follow up. For example, an editor might be interested in learning more about a particular case study or want to schedule a Q&A with a company representative.

6. Post live content.

Never underestimate the power of social media. Posting on social platforms from the show floor is a great way to keep the conversation going about your brand and increase traffic to the booth.

For example, during last year’s International Roofing Expo in Las Vegas, we posted live content across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for Firestone Building Products. Live posting during the show earned the client nearly 6,000 impressions on Twitter alone, helping to drive traffic and draw attention to the interactive slot machine as well as the new product being showcased.

CBD Marketing's trade show planning guide, shown here, is full of important to-dos for B2B trade shows and events.

We created an at-the-show checklist for you as part of our extensive trade show planning guide to ensure you don’t miss a beat at your next event. Download the guide here – we have all the insider tips and tricks to make you the expert on pre-, during and post-trade show planning.

Online listening can be an especially effective tool for B2B marketing, helping companies develop refine or create personas, develop key messaging, solve problems, research opportunities and find the influencers in their market.

Interested in more ways to optimize your B2B marketing? Check out B2B Trade Shows: Turn Customers Into Loyalists and Digital is Taking Over B2B Marketing Budgets.