In my mind, I characterize this time of year as the kick-off to event season. In my personal life, that means all of my favorite awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and the SAG Awards. Professionally, however, this time of year is all about the trade shows.

Our clients hit up the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show and the Digital Signage Expo (DSE), among others. Some of us at lotus823 are seasoned vets when it comes to trade shows, while others are just getting their feet wet. In speaking with my fellow loti, a number of questions came up in regards to trade show marketing. So, I’ve put together some FAQs on the topic to help any public relations specialist get up to speed.

Multiple clients are attending the same show. How do we pitch this? 

A major rule when it comes to pitching media is that you never want to double pitch a publication or bombard a reporter with multiple emails from one company. As such, it’s always best to first sit down and review the media list as a group. Then, the trade show marketing team can discuss which news is relevant to each reporter. This will then help determine which reporters receive multiple pieces of news in the same note.

Reporters appreciate this gesture since they are undoubtedly receiving hundreds of emails a day during trade show season. This also helps to ensure the media list is properly vetted and reporters are not being offered news outside of their coverage area, As a public relations specialist, I know that this is a huge pet peeve for reporters.

What is the protocol when it comes to scheduling media interviews onsite? 

I personally think it’s always best to schedule a formal time for a reporter to meet with a client. This will ensure that the reporter has set aside time for the meeting and the client is prepared for the reporter. However, with reporters receiving numerous requests, this is not always possible. If an interview cannot be made, that doesn’t mean the reporter won’t stop by.

Who knows what will catch his/her eye when walking the showroom floor! If the booth is eye catching enough, you may end up with more unplanned meetings than planned ones. The key here is for your client to get their name and brand out there, so, in this scenario, it should always be “the more, the merrier.”

Does booth design play a big part in trade show planning?

Yes, booth design is crucial when it comes to trade shows and the more eye-catching, the better. Of course, budget is a key factor when it comes to booth design. However, based on what the budget allows, it’s always recommended to have a booth on the showroom floor and to make it as interactive as possible.

Included in the look of the booth is also the feel. Some companies like an open floor plan where passers-by can see everything that is going on. Others like to keep it very closed in, creating an exclusive vibe. When choosing which layout works for you, it is important that whichever option is chosen, it is one that mirrors the brand image.

Below are some examples of what we saw at CES this year:

Audio-Technica booth featuring a two-story design and special stations to customize the product fit for visitors. 

AfterShokz booth with a large, eye-catching photo to draw visitors to the booth. 

Should there be greeters at the booth?

This would be a definite yes. With so many people milling about, it is important to have enough people staffing the booth, so every person that enters will feel acknowledged. These people should appropriately represent the brand and be knowledgeable on the products being shown. Oftentimes, these people are not the experts behind the product though so it is imperative that multiple product experts are onsite and ready with answers to questions.

Do you have any questions or tips when it comes to trade show marketing? We’d love to hear from you!

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