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Search Market Mentors

Are You Ready for the Great Trade Show Comeback?

trade show comeback


The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on all kinds of in-person events over the past 15 months, including trade shows. As we head toward a post-pandemic state of normalcy, things are starting to open back up. In fact, a recent study found that nearly three-quarters of respondents would rather attend a live trade show than a virtual one, and seven in ten were willing to do so before Q3 of 2021. We’re expecting a trade show comeback beginning this fall and want to ensure you are ready to roll when the opportunity arises—either in person or virtually.

In fact, the first thing you should consider is the format of the trade show: is it in person, virtual or a hybrid? If any part of it is virtual, or if you have the opportunity to make it so, be sure you give that aspect full consideration so virtual attendees don’t feel like second-class citizens. Many people are still not comfortable traveling or have come to prefer remote events; giving them an engaging way to learn more about your products and services from afar can page huge dividends.

Here are a few more things to consider now to avoid unnecessary stress—and rush fees—later.

Be Visible Virtually

The pandemic rapidly accelerated the technology for virtual events, and we think they’re here to stay in some form. People were willing to cut everyone a little slack on the virtual front during the first few months of the pandemic, but by this point, patience is waning for a poor experience.

If you will be hosting a virtual trade show booth or event of any kind, make sure you have everything buttoned up in advance. This includes a professional setup and equipment so you look and sound great, as well as branded backdrops and the virtual materials you will present, from PowerPoint presentations to videos.

Even if the trade show is live, consider offering an aspect of it virtually for the people at home. For example, live streaming some or all of the sessions. Virtual reality has also gained steady momentum over the last few years; in addition to helping cut down the costs for travel and shipping, if done well, it can positively shape customers’ perceptions of your organization as forward-thinking, green-conscious and tech-savvy. If you’re not sure how to approach this, we can help.

Dust Off Displays

You’d be amazed how many details about your business may have changed over the past year and a half. Spend some time going through your storage area to ensure your displays are clean, in good repair and up to date.

If you’ve changed your branding, look, language, products or services, or if your current displays look tired and outdated, get new materials into production now to avoid last-minute scrambling. We can help with everything from displays and backdrops to videos, tablecloths and even branded apparel for your team—including face masks with your company logo.

Plan Ahead for Promo Items

While you are in your storage area, take a look at any materials or promotional items you plan to hand out at events to ensure you have what you need, both in terms of quantity and quality.

If you need updated sales sheets, rack cards or brochures, we can help with content, design and production. Looking for clever giveaways? We’ll brainstorm ideas and take care of artwork and ordering for everything from pens featuring your logo to something more memorable. Keep in mind that shipping for many products is still experiencing delays, so stocking up ahead of time will save you stress later.

Make Every Impression Count

Whether you are exhibiting in person, virtually or in a hybrid fashion somewhere in between, we can help you make every impression count. As a full-service agency, we have the in-house expertise so you are ready today for the trade show comeback tomorrow.