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What Does Success Look Like?

Characteristics of a Successful Trade Show Marketing Program

Over the 20+ years of serving clients across many industries, Exhibitus has made note of characteristics of trade show programs that seem to outpace their competitors. These differentiators are ones that companies should strive to achieve in order to reach the desired trade show ROI.

We are sharing the following checklist as one method to evaluate your own program’s potential for overall success.

A well-designed program demonstrates:

  • A well-balanced mix of business development and marketing communication goals and accomplishments.
  • A high degree of executive visibility, participation and support.
  • Direct linkage to sales activity and accomplishment.
    • Alignment with marketing and sales priorities in the appropriate regions.
    • Sales team documented impact on project proposal achievement, as well as customer and partner relationship management.
  • Integrated PR, advertising and influencer marketing activities.
  • Superior results compared to competitors at virtually every show in terms of the amount of press generated with articles that capture brand messages and accurate product details.
  • Maximum use of brand development and marketing communications opportunities in the exhibit, venues and show sites, as well as advertising and digital media expansion to the broader marketplace.
  • Campaigns, properties, demonstrations, and digital and social media are exemplary in their integration of branding, product and service promotion, and marketing communications.
  • Confidence throughout the entire team, including sales and executive participants, who recognize that the combination of messaging, branding and key contact engagement environments provide an effective marketing opportunity.
  • A financially justified measurement program that supports show and event results reporting, event selection, and “right-sizing” of budgets and resources for each show opportunity.

These accomplishments do not happen magically as a program matures. It requires considerable attention to improving and refining the approach over a number of years.

Use this list as a guide for assessing your own program’s weakness and strengths, and for setting goals or improvement targets.  Also, go to and take a free self-assessment survey to help you further evaluate your current program.  For more information about the process of improving your program, contact the Exhibitus Results Division today.