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5 Unique Trade Show Marketing Ideas to Help You Beat the Competition

Every company present at a trade show is contending for the same attention as you. How much traffic your exhibit attracts depends on how well you market it before the big day. You want to court the attendees in ways your competitor hasn’t thought about early in the game.


5 Trade Show Marketing Tips

Here is a list of some unique trade show marketing ideas to help you solidify your marketing campaign pre-show:


1. Create Buzz with Pre-Show Gamification

Gamification can entice even the most skeptical of attendees. It’s no wonder most exhibitors incorporate it into their custom trade show displays. Very few, however, think of using it before the show. Infuse interactive content into your social media posts, emails, and website announcements to get attendees excited about your exhibit.

You may create polls, quizzes, or assessment tests and see how many people take them. Doing so even gives you a projection of how many people you can expect at your booth.

Be as creative and flexible with this trade show marketing idea as possible.


2. Organize a Virtual Pre-Show Event

A virtual event is the best way to convince your target audience that your brand can address their problems. Hosting a virtual event can garner you extra points with your prospective clients. Also, virtual events are convenient, engaging, and easy to attend.

The most compelling events of such kind are webinars, virtual conferences, and live Q&As. You can host virtual events on platforms like GoToMeeting and Facebook Live.

Remember to include a compelling call-to-action asking attendees to visit your booth at the show.


3. Utilize Your Mobile Event App

Mobile event apps allow you to organize a central hub of communication with the attendees of a trade show. Through your event app, attendees can take part in discussion boards, surveys, polls, and quizzes. They can also get vital content, updates, and information about the show before the event.

You can use the feedback you get from communicating with attendees on your event app to plan your exhibit.

If you can’t afford a mobile event app, you can get a sponsor.


4. Personally Invite Existing Clients

As much as you want to generate new leads for your company, don’t forget your existing clients. Chances are, they will generate a huge chunk of your profit. They are also a credible source of social proof.

The most effective way to invite regular clients to your exhibit is through a personalized handwritten note delivered at least a week before the show.


5. Plan a Social Media Takeover

A social media takeover is when an employee from your company other than the usual social media manager connects with attendees on various platforms. It is a fun and interactive trade show marketing idea.

An upbeat sales-oriented member of your team can give attendees a look behind the scenes as you plan, tease an upcoming launch, run a contest, or respond to comments and questions.

A social media takeover humanizes your brand and creates anticipation among prospective clients.



A trade show is an investment whose payoff is measured in terms of the quantity and quality of sales, leads, and brand exposure you get. Engaging with your attendees way before they step foot onto the trade show floor is the best way to ensure you get these returns. It is also the best trade show marketing idea to show up your competition.