Choosing the Right Shows for
Your Portable Trade Show Exhibit

As you strategize on which shows to attend with your portable trade show exhibit, you need to determine those events that will most likely provide the greatest return for your time and budgetary investment. The following information provides insights and tips for you to do that.

Setting Goals

Before selecting the shows you want to attend, you must quantify your exhibit goals. While organizations use event marketing for different reasons, it is essential to have a clear vision of your specific objectives. For example, one or more of the following questions should address your event participation objectives:

  • How many leads or sales do you want to generate from exhibiting? 

  • How many key decision makers do you want to reach if you are introducing a new product? 

  • Do you want to secure media exposure, competitive intelligence or industry trend data? And if so, detail what you want to accomplish. 

  • How many current customers do you want to engage at select shows. If this is a goal, set specific objectives such as incremental sales from your existing customer base, hedging against competitor offers, and/or maintaining “share of wallet” among your customer base. 

  • Do you want to check out what a major competitor is doing with his or her portable trade show exhibit before you invest in one? 

Once you determine your objectives, put them in writing and use them as a starting point for considering specific shows to attend over a one to three year period (depending on your specific industry and planning time-line).

Defining Your Target Audience

Thoroughly understanding your buyers (industry, title, geography, motivations, product need/usage, etc.) and how purchase decisions are made are essential to selecting opportunistic events that will yield results.

This information should be the same target audience descriptive data that was used to develop your overall product message and portable trade show exhibit display.

Evaluating Shows

With a keen understanding of your objectives and audience, you are in a strong position to evaluate events and make thoughtful decisions about those that represent the best opportunities.

Begin by reviewing performance at shows you have attended in the past. If you have had two consecutive years of disappointing results with a given show, it may be time to remove it from your travel list. Conversely, make sure to keep strong performers on your "A" list to attend.

Then, carefully review other event options with the following considerations:



  • Ask for past attendee lists, counts and demographic information from show sponsors. This data will help determine the number and percent of attendees likely to be viable prospects for you.

  • Contact exhibitors from past shows to get a feel for the event and your potential. (Of course, it would be ideal if you could personally visit the show before participating.)Inquire about the type of booths on display and, if possible, determine whether your portable trade show exhibit is sufficient to attract attention from competitors.

  • Consider the city where the event is being held. Is it likely that a large number of your prospects will travel and attend?

  • Approach with caution any new show where no attendee or performance data is available. Even if the price is right, rather than pioneering new ground, your time may be better served elsewhere.

  • Evaluate your opportunities for enhanced visibility and awareness based on show participation.Ask your event sponsor about targeted marketing and sponsorship opportunities before, during and after the event.

  • Inquire about exhibit hall configuration and available space to ascertain your potential for securing a premium, high-traffic location.

  • Ask about conference services, power sources, plumbing, and any other associated fees you may incur with your portable trade show exhibit.

Once you’ve scrutinized your options, look at your final list of show choices and, once again, match them against your objectives and how you believe they will perform. Consider testing a new show from time to time when indicators suggest strong results. 


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Exhibit Space Requirements

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