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HIGH-IMPACT PRE-SHOW MARKETING: How to Identify and Attract

Enough of the Right Visitors to Your Exhibit

By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge


Successful exhibitors know that the competition for the attendee’s limited time on the exhibit floor is fierce. To get their fair share of booth traffic they do not just rent space, show up and hope people find them. They use targeted pre-show marketing to get “in the mind” and “on the agenda” of the right attendees before the show opens.


Consider these exhibition industry facts:

1. The average tradeshow attendee will visit approximately 31 exhibitors.

2. 76% of attendees arrive with an agenda of exhibitors they plan to visit.

3. As many as 3 out of 4 exhibit visits are preplanned.

4. Less than 20% of exhibitors utilize targeted pre-show marketing campaigns.


So how do you get on the attendees “must see” list? It’s easier than you think.


Below are four steps to help you fill your booth with qualified, interested buyers. Be sure to also view the :


Step 1. Invest in your pre-show marketing---Do your homework.

Of all the things you will concentrate on, pre-show marketing is one of the most important. It’s often the difference between a busy exhibit and standing around watching people pass by in the aisles.


Step 2. Identify who you want to visit your exhibit and build target visitor lists.

Start in-house with your sales team and your distribution channels. Build a list of customers and current prospects you would like to visit your exhibit. Include anyone who has inquired about your products or services over the last 12 months. Ask yourself “What types of companies and what job functions/titles do we want to visit our exhibit?”


Step 3. Give attendees a compelling reason to visit your exhibit.

Don’t just pitch products and services – focus on solving problems, creating opportunities and delivering meaningful value from a visit to your exhibit. Analyze your company, products and services carefully. What is your value proposition?

What problems do you solve? What opportunities do you create? What do you do better than your competition?

Use powerful visual images and captivate attendee’s interest with provocative benefit and solution focused headlines like: “Reduce downtime by 20%.” Everyone is interested in solving problems, reducing costs, improving results and getting more value. Tell them specifically how you can help and they will come running to your exhibit.


Step 4. Use pre-show marketing.

An effective pre-show marketing campaign touches prospective visitors before the show opens. With a little creative thought, some basic planning and focused execution, you can have a booth full of interested and qualified buyers. All it takes is targeted pre-show marketing.


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Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the “Tradeshow Turnaround Artist".

Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results to the tune of over $500M. Mr. Davis is creator of the PLRB Exhibitor Success Center. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or