Trade show and marketing strategy

Published on by Tiphaine Bisson - updated on

Optimize your trade show experience


#1 A real return on investment

Did you know that?
75% of B2B exhibitors are satisfied with their return on investment! For 1€ invested, participation in a trade show allows companies to generate an average of 10€ in turnover.

#2 A proven format

The overall satisfaction rating for participation in trade fairs is 7/10.
65% of professionals consider trade fairs to be important for their company.
81% are satisfied with their participation.

#3 A whole community in one place

A trade fair is a time for partners, prospects and customers to meet each other at a key moment in the market. The trade show allows you to put the meeting at the heart of your marketing actions!
Participating in a trade show is :

  • The best promotional tool in terms of efficiency vs. cost.
  • A vector for accelerating competitive intelligence
#4 Easier press coverage

A trade fair is a special and privileged occasion where all journalists and specialised press titles are brought together.

  • Present your new products
  • Connect with journalists in the industry
  • Maximize your visibility in the media


It is the market overview and essential meeting of the profession. 

  • The entire industry at the same place
  • At the same time
  • Exhibitors and qualified visitors
  • Trends that stand out 
  • Exclusive content
  • A receptive target audience
Who to meet there ? 
  • Clients
  • Commercial leads
  • Future employees
  • Experts
  • Specialised journalists
  • Partners
  • Suppliers
  • Competitors
  • Etc

Human interaction is always more engaging than conventional sales techniques. 

Keys to success

1. Choose your stand position with care

2. Have a smart and attractive design, designed for the show

3. Use the tools availables - consider matchmaking services and badge readers 

4. Be active : organise demos, special events, talks

5. Arouse curiosity

6. Anticipate appointements - you can arrange your meetings weeks in advance ! 

What next ? 

80% of contracts signed after the event. Don't waste time cooling off ! Capitalise on the contacts you make, follow up quickly and individually and update your database to maximise your ROI. The more memorable the meeting at the trade show, the more receptive the visitor will be to another commercial contact - particularly if this happens soon after the show. 


Just like all your marketing and sales actions, your presence at a trade show must be measured, in order to estimate its contribution to your company's turnover. This presence is an investment of time and money that you must amortize and legitimize, by evaluating the commercial opportunities offered downstream.

ROI of an exhibition: what is measured?

To measure the return on investment of a professional event such as a trade show, apply a simple methodology by noting the following on the day:

  • booth attendance
  • amount of contacts generated
  • quality of these contacts: what was the profile of these people? Were they new players or already known contacts?

Determining the quality of the contacts generated at a B2B trade show makes it possible to sort out between simple contacts and potential leads (more qualified contacts) that can be exploited downstream.

Contacts vs. qualified leads

A lead is a qualitative contact that presents commercial opportunities. To get to know your contacts better, create a grid to qualify them from the most mature to the least mature.

To create this ranking grid, ask yourself the right questions:

  • Does your contact have a qualified short-term project?
  • Is his project coherent?
  • Is he a top decision-maker?
  • What is the estimated potential turnover?

Have you ranked the contacts from the trade show? Obviously, not all the opportunities identified will generate orders in the immediate future... Depending on the sector and the average shopping basket, the sales cycle can be long and conversion rates can vary! Contacts generally only materialize in a second phase. However, there are other ways to measure the commercial success of a B2B trade show.

On average, it is estimated that there is a return on investment of €10 for every €1 invested when a B2B company participates in a trade show. This marketing device therefore remains highly profitable!

The keys to measuring the ROI of a B2B trade show

You must be familiar with the ‘old-fashioned’ method consisting of collecting business cards and subsequently analysing the contacts by writing down what you discussed. Nowadays, the digital method has become more commonplace. But no need to worry, this doesn’t affect how you deal with your contacts, but instead offers ways of being more efficient and giving structure to how you organise the contacts you have collected, in particular through the use of mobile apps. In this domain, some trade shows offer tools to help you save time. Your sales people simply download an application onto their mobile device beforehand and then quickly and easily capture the details from visitors’ registration forms. They can also add specific information about their leads.

Take advantage of the visibility of press coverage

Publicizing your event is a way of maximizing your investment, because good press coverage gives you visibility with a qualified target audience. Don't forget to do a press review via your social networks and a dedicated page on your website at the end of the event.

The 2 tips that make the difference:

  • Invite a journalist to come and visit your stand to demonstrate the new products and services on offer.
  • Take advantage of the show's press service to maximise your chances of being quoted in a show communication and benefit from the event's spin-offs!
  • Follow the long-term prospecting work

To make the most out of the leads from your trade show, enter these specific contacts in your CRM solution or marketing automation program. This step will help you reconstitute the journeys of your potential customers, and therefore know more about them and be able to develop them using your conventional marketing and sales tools.

Measuring the ROI of a trade show is not an exact science… but it remains an essential step to estimate its contribution to turnover. Just like sowing a seed and only harvesting the fruit much later, a trade show can help to generate visibility and contacts on site, which it is then your task to convert in the following weeks and months. To make sure you don’t leave anything out in measuring the benefits of this media, there’s no magic wand – the main thing is to plan well in advance!