Making the Most of a Trade Show

Promotion of a trade show event can be crucial to its success. This is best explained  in the following video by Bill Corbett, owner of Corbett Public Relations, Inc. and Digital Brand Marketing’s resident PR expert.

There are certain aspects to trade show events that are similar whether one is exhibiting or attending. There are other things that are clearly different. In my opinion, they are not nearly as  important as the shared aspects. The rest of this post will focus on the details of trade show ‘who, what, why and how’.

a trade show booth created by the Godfrey Group

A trade show booth created by the Godfrey Group © the Godfrey Group

If one is an exhibitor, he and/or she stands ‘behind the table’ of the display booth. A person, or group of people set up a display and ‘man’ the booth for the duration of the exhibit, handing out literature, talking with visitors and gathering their information.

The visitors or attendees walk around the venue, visits the booths, stops to gather information, talks with the exhibitors and attends the seminars.

Once can also be a speaker or part of a panel of speakers. There are many outstanding seminars at trade shows. They can be extremely educational filled with the latest technological information. There can also be opportunities to make contacts and connections.

the speakers at Trade Brooklyn

The speakers from dbmei at Social Media Action Camp, from left to right, Bill Corbett, Craig Yaris, Bssil Puglisi and Jeff Ogden.

Businesses will also pay to be sponsors. They participate in a variety of business categories. Sponsorship provides businesses with visibility and other perks. Sponsors can range from local businesses to rather large and well known corporations. Businesses do not have to attend the event to sponsor it.

Trade Show Sponsors

A visual of trade show sponsors at Trade Nassau on April 25, 2012 at the Chateau in Westbury. © Cardinal Trade Group

Why do businesses and business people participate in trade shows?

• to look for business
• to promote themselves
• to make new contacts
• to gain visibility
• to educate and be educated
• to demonstrate what they do or sell
• to share information and learn new things
• to network
• to find vendors

Whichever side of the table one is on, exhibitor or attendee, there is a necessary reciprocity for the trade show venue to work. These are probably the most important qualities on both sides:

• openness to unplanned opportunities
• friendliness
• helpfulness
• giving and receiving something of value for free
• generosity of spirit
• sense of community

I have participated in trade shows for many years and in varying industries. I have been on both sides of the  ‘display booth table’. To me the bottom line is, for the period of time that a trade show is happening, everyone involved in it is part of that community. This includes the attendees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, organizers and even the staff of the facility where the show is being held.

A photo taken at the LI Multi-Cultural Fair

A photo taken at the NY Multicultural Business Expo with from left to right, Basil Puglisi, founder of dbmei, Alison Gilbert, a dbmei blog author and Marc Neuwirt, owner and organizer of Expos Your Business. © Expos Your Business

The more we initiate things, starting with a smile, a friendly hello and a handshake, the better the results will be for everyone. It is that simple. The next time you are at a trade show, in whatever capacity, remember just this one thing. You will be amazed what a great time you have and how well things will go.

A collage of trade shows and other activities involving Digital Brand Marketing

Our cover photo montage composed of trade shows and other activities involving dbmei.


Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.

Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at or call 516-665-9034 ET




  1. Thanks for liking this blog post, Craig. It was an excellent show all the way around. Wouldn’t you agree. The irony is that even though the event was a ‘business trade show’, we need to use the same gentle, patient process there as we do in any other situation: Introduce, Engage, Relate. The days of ‘attacking’ potential customers with ‘a chance in a lifetime’ sale are OUT no matter where or how one meets.

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