Creating an Advanced Trade Show Marketing Strategy in 2023

A blurred Caucasian male extends his arm out. His hand is in full focus. Floating just above his palm are the numbers "2023" From that number, various lines branch out and point to various online icons, including a cloud, user profile, and search magnifying glass

The trade show industry was hit hard by the two-year COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2022, they slowly made a comeback. Next year, barring any new surprises, the trade show industry should be fully back on track, and exhibits will become more important than ever for businesses.

Trade shows are one of the only ways you can meet prospects, demo new products and services, and get a closer look at your competition all at the same time—that’s why they need to be a significant component of your 2023 marketing plan. 

So, let’s outline what you’ll need to focus on when creating your 2023 trade show marketing strategy.

1. Determine Your Trade Show Marketing Goals

Don’t start your trade show marketing campaign without a rudder and compass, and hope it goes in the right direction.

Every new journey should begin with your goals. A clearly defined list of goals will help you understand where your business is going and how you’ll need to get there. Goals will also help you measure success at the end of the year and help you fine-tune your trade show marketing strategy for the next season. 

When creating your goals, think beyond vague and generic attainments like generating more leads, making more sales, and increasing brand awareness. Instead, set specific objectives around each goal that can be readily measured and tracked. For example, if your overarching goal is to generate more leads, add a number to that goal. How many leads do you want to generate by the end of the fiscal year or trade show season? Your targets should be realistic and attainable within your working timeframe.

2. Plan Events Around New Launches

defocused background of public event exhibition hall show

Do you have a new product or service you’re planning to launch in 2023? There’s no better time to announce it than at a trade show. Recent data shows that 90% of attendees go to shows specifically seeking out new products and services. Remember that it’s a brand-new year for many businesses too, so there may be quite a few businesses demonstrating new products at industry trade shows. Before registering at a venue, check out the trade show schedule and the current list of exhibitors to see who will be there and what products will be discussed. You want to make sure that your product or service stands out among your competitors; if too many similar products are being launched simultaneously, customers will not be as excited. 

Once you find the right show for your product launch, plan your marketing efforts around it with unique banners and signage. You’ll also want to utilize other channels to expand your marketing efforts, including social media and email, which brings us to our next point. 

3. Utilize Email Marketing

a man holds a cell phone in his hand. The cell phone screen shows a large blue mail notification sign with the number 5, indicating that there are 5 unread emails. Beside the phone are several animated blue mail notification signs.

If you want people to show up at your trade show booth, you must let them know you will be there. Moreover, you need to give them an incentive to visit your exhibit. Of course, you’ll be using your social media pages, but an email campaign allows you to provide more in-depth information to prospects. 

Start emailing out at least a month or two before the show. Include the venue name, address, your booth number, a brief introduction to the team members who will be there, and any information about new products and services you’ll be featuring. When discussing your products and services, don’t get too descriptive. You still want to leave an air of mystery to it but include a teaser. At the end of your email, always include a call-to-action asking email subscribers to buy tickets, and be sure to offer them a free gift or incentive for doing so.

4. Follow Up With Your Leads After the Show

A male sales person sits in front of a large, Apple computer. He is wearing a black headset and smiling as he holds a white cup of coffee.

To back up your marketing efforts and expenditure, you’ll need statistics. And to get statistics, you need to follow up with any prospects. 

For example, if you led an email marketing campaign for your trade show, how many people from that email chain bought a ticket? And how many people who purchased tickets went to the show to grab their prize and learn more about your product or service? Did your team get their contact information, and did they follow up with them? 

Leads from a trade show are more influential than cold calling because you already know they’re interested in your products and/or services, and one of your team members has already made a personal connection with them. 

Don’t wait too long to follow up on leads. After the show, your team must get together and spend the next week contacting any leads. Be persistent with contacting them, but be sure to judge their initial reaction and interest level; you want to be sure you get in contact with them, but you also want to avoid becoming annoying or too pushy.

5. Manage Customer Relationships With a CRM

If you’re not using a customer relationship management tool (CRM) like SalesForce, you need to invest in one. There are many great CRMs on the market that are designed to serve any size business or budget. 

CRMs allow you to store information about a particular client, including the business name, the name of the primary point of contact, and any notes about the client. You can also upload files, including email correspondence with the client and quotes. Any person on your team can easily access all information in a CRM. 

One of the biggest benefits of CRMs is that you can automate certain tasks to create efficient workflow processes. For example, if a member of your sales team does convert a lead, the CRM can automate a task to transfer that account to an account manager. Then, the account manager has all the information they need about the client. CRMs also make it possible to automate social media and email marketing tasks, which makes following up on leads much easier and more efficient. 

6. Calculate Trade Show ROI

At the end of the day, you’ll want to know the return on investment (ROI) of your trade show marketing strategy.

Your ROI is the difference between your total trade show marketing expenses and your gross profits. Gross profits should only concentrate on profits from sales or leads actually produced from trade shows. It’s important to be as accurate as possible with these figures to get a true picture of how your trade show efforts are paying off for your business. 

Knowing your ROI will ultimately help you understand if trade shows are a good investment for your business.

Plan Your Next Trade Show With Help From GraphiColor

Increase your trade show marketing efforts with help from GraphiColor. Founded in 1984, we’re an award-winning exhibit design company that helps businesses in all industries. In addition to providing custom exhibit design and construction services, we offer trade show management assistance. If you need help building your 2023 trade show strategy, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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