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  • Zak A.

Don’t Make These Mistakes! Here’s the Biggest Mistakes Companies Make at Trade Shows


Trade shows are notoriously stressful events to plan for. This is especially the case with smaller companies that won’t have an entire department dedicated to this sector. There’s a lot of logistics, budgeting, and creativity involved all under a time constraint. Luckily for us, going to a lot of trade shows we’ve noticed similar trends with companies that aren’t the hottest booth at the expo.


  1. Planning doesn’t manifest itself as physically as one of the other mistakes we’ll see, but this can be the single biggest contributing factor in the success of a booth or not. I feel I don’t have to explain this one too in-depth on why sending your company to a tradeshow unprepared is a bad idea. This mistake is like the grandfather of trade show mistakes, if you don’t prepare then a bunch of other smaller mistakes umbrella out from it. “Rule of thumb”: prepare

  2. You need a social media presence. Despite your personal feelings about social media, it’s an indisputable fact of today. Want another reason? Your competition is doing it. Just do it, a lot of times it can be free advertising if you have fun and be creative. There’s a lot of businesses in my area that don’t promote on social media and I know a lot of people that won’t even go there just for that reason alone. It’s as necessary today as having your business/company logo on your booth.

  3. Another fairly obvious pointer, make sure you have a trained staff. If you went to a business, started talking to a staff member, and the staff member was bumbling, glancing around nervously, what would your thoughts be on the business? It doesn’t look great, so train your staff about what it is your pushing or trying to get out.

  4. Defined goals. There’s a lot of companies that think the trade show will be great exposure and a place to meet some potential partners. Not enough, it’s better to go to the trade show with a defined goal of 20 leads, for instance.

  5. Another common mistake I see a lot is ambushing your attendees. A researcher found the the majority of people want an interactive booth/display. It’s a fine line between aggression and passivity, with automated and interactive booth, no more annoyance and no more wasted time.

  6. Most important of all, follow up on leads or better yet, approach them at the event. A lot of money is wasted by not following up on your leads. Today’s trade show is not yesterday’s, there are ways to receive hot leads on the spot.

There you have it! These are the most common mistakes exhibitors make at trade shows. Feel free to comment your thoughts or other common mistakes you notice at trade shows.

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