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By Rama Beerfas


December 1, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – We’ve identified the three components of a successful trade show marketing plan:

• Have a system in place for attracting potential customers to the exhibit.
• Qualify those people who visited the booth.
• Follow up with those visitors who left contact information.

The fact is that exhibiting successfully at a trade show means developing good pre-show plan to ensure that the people with whom you would most like to make contact know you will be there and have a reason to come visit your booth.


The first step in a pre-show marketing plan is to determine who will be attending the show that you would like to see while there. The two most effective ways to do this are:

1. Most, shows that have a pre-registration component for attendees will be able to make a mailing or other type of contact list available to you for a pre-show outreach program. You will usually have a choice to buy a full list or a filtered list based on your criteria. Wherever possible, filter your list – you will pay less and you will have a targeted list based on your specific needs.

2. Contact the customers and prospects in your database to find out if they are attending or considering attending. (As an exhibitor, you may even be able to offer them discounted or complimentary passes to get in. Check with the trade show management on this.)

Now that you know, or have a good idea of who you would like to connect with, the next step is to contact them before the show to let them know you’ll be there, what your booth number is, and, perhaps to set an appointment to meet with them on the show floor or for an off-the-show-floor meeting.

Contacting your prospects can take several forms. You can use one or combine several of them for the most impact. You can:

1. send out a mailer.
2. send an e-mail.
3. make phone calls.

There are several ways to make any of these outreach efforts more effective, driving the results you are looking for from your trade show exhibit: the promise of a gift, an entry into a drawing, special pricing, etc…. The key is to offer something that is attractive to your target audience and have them complete some sort of action that is of value to your continued marketing efforts in order to get the “prize.”

Next month, we’ll explore how to separate the wheat from the chaff (e.g. lookie-loos from qualified prospects) on the show floor.

Rama Beerfas is Chief Solutions Specialist for San Diego-based Lev Promotions, offering marketing consulting, promotional products, and business gifts. Lev Promotions also assists clients with tradeshow displays, pre-show planning, booth staff training and post-show follow-up. Rama also offers seminars and training in marketing and customer service related topics. She can be reached at (619) 697-2045 or at or visit Column requests and comments are welcome.

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