Conference Exhibit Success in 3 Steps

<< Case Studies & White Papers | November 29, 2022

November 2022

We were going to include the word “easy” in the title, but we all know marketing for conference exhibits is anything but easy. Still, success with these events is of incredible importance. Events are a key marketing activity. In 2023, in-person events will be back in full-force, coined by many as the “great return.” As a marketer this is in a way a return to normal—the only catch? There’s a new normal.

The truth is, you might not be able to simply resuscitate your old school conference exhibit strategies and pick up where you left off. Event costs are rising. Budgets are shrinking. And attendee expectations have increased. What does this mean for you? Your conference exhibits will be more scrutinized than ever before.

To clearly demonstrate the ROI of your events, you must show key stakeholders how your decisions of what events to attend, as well as the strategies deployed at those events, result in new opportunities and closed/won business.

Let’s quickly cover the best ways to achieve conference exhibit success in 2023 in three steps.


Set Your Strategy

  • Total Number of Appointments: this demonstrates the effectiveness of your pre-event marketing activities, sales team’s effectiveness, and overall messaging and event strategy.
  • Booth Check-ins: these also provide insight into your booth and sales team effectiveness. When comparing total check-ins to qualified leads, it will also help you understand the quality of the show’s attendee pool.
  • Number of Qualified Leads: provide insight into the quality of the overall conference exhibit attendees and are the first step in determining overall ROI.
  • Opportunities & Pipeline Generated: provide insight into the business potential of the contacts made as well as the effectiveness of your follow-up.
  • Revenue Generated: demonstrates the quality of your opportunities and the top-line financial impact of the events. It’s critical to track revenue generated so that you can measure ROI.
  • Return on Investment: is the cost of your event compared to the revenue generated. You may also choose to include qualitative insights in your reports (quotes from sales team) to help paint a picture of softer ROI—such as brand awareness


Separate Yourself Onsite

Your booth is the focus here. If you’ve done your pre-show due diligence, then this is the time to focus face-to-face with your visitors. Here are a few tips to maximize your time onsite:

  1. Be Clear. Conference exhibit attendees are there to solve a pain—let them know clearly why you are a solution to their problem(s).
  2. Be Different. Run-of-the-mill isn’t exciting. In a competitive world, where attendees visit only 14% of all booths, you must stand out. Think of eye-catching designs and activities to draw in the crowds. Contests, drawings, video, etc.
  3. Use a Theme. A theme throughout your communications makes you easier to remember. As a best practice, choose a theme that helps attendees solve a problem or achieve a goal in the form of a simple promise. Then apply that theme consistently at your booth and your other trade show activities.
  4. Try storytelling. When you use a story to sell, you help people experience the new world they’ll create when they invest in your products and services.
  5. Create a temporary workspace. Turning your booth into a temporary workspace versus a 3D ad—think amenities such as phone chargers, filtered water, comfortable seating areas, and friendly reps—means that you’ll extend that time and your conversation. Accessibility will win your major points.
  6. Have a Call to Action. Don’t leave attendees guessing as to how they should interact with you. Have a clear call to action to ensure there is a next step.


Post-Event Optimization

This is where many fail to capitalize on their events. Post-event follow-up is where you transform opportunities into dollars. The simple fact is that most leads generated at events are never contacted. Even worse? Most companies wait way too long to make its first attempt to contact a lead.

Our suggestion: tier your post-event contact strategy into A, B, and C leads.

A: Your MAIN priority. These are visitors who spoke to sales were actively qualified and are ready to have a sales conversation. Waste no time contacting them.

B: Secondary but still important. These are attendees who may have spoken with a sales or a field marketing rep and answered appropriately to at least 3 of your 4 qualification questions. Hit them up with an email.

C: All other leads.



Your conference exhibits may be more important than ever in 2023. Maximize your opportunities by building an effective plan that can be executed repeatedly and you’ll achieve the ROI you and your organization are looking for. For more on how to be a conference exhibits champion, check out this complimentary eBook from Cvent.