How do you get the most from your trade show?

This is the concern for companies of all sizes.  It takes a lot of time (prepping for the trade show and time at the event) and money (travel expenses, collateral pieces, exhibitor costs+) to join and prepare for a trade show.  Whether you’re an exhibitor, speaker, attendee, a member of the press or an industry influencer you have specific goals to fulfill and you surely want to get the most return on your investment (ROI).

There are many variables for a successful trade show exhibition including positioning on the floor, graphics, giveaways, brand message, press recognition, sales team interaction, and attendees.

Let’s talk about increasing traffic to your trade show booth and gaining qualified leads through a non-threatening manner.  These seem to be a couple of the biggest hurdles facing trade show exhibitors.  After we’ve addressed these concerns, it’s up to your marketing and sales team to turn those prospects into customers or upsell and secure the customer relationships.

Most trade shows are private, requiring the attendees to purchase a pass, but some are open to the public, depending on your industry.  Regardless, your goal should be to have unlimited traffic to your booth to increase potential future business and brand recognition.

Pre and Post Marketing Efforts

First, we’d like to state the importance of the pre and post-marketing efforts.  Many times these opportunities to engage customers and prospects are overlooked or are not treated with the same importance.  While it’s true, the majority of the interaction happens on the trade show floor, it’s important to guarantee traffic before the event begins.

The same goes for the post-marketing efforts.  The sales and marketing team should be following up with the prospects, engaging the customers and circulating the highlights from the trade show.  Get the most from your participation and continue talking about the event post show.

Social Media

With social media guiding us through all aspects of our lives, it should also be used at all corners of your trade show, including pre and post-marketing efforts.  Not only should you promote your booth on the company social media sites, but each employee attending should be regularly posting about the show floor activities, at the very least in relation to your company or booth.

Make sure to follow the venue and the trade show and utilize the preestablished hashtags.

How do you accomplish all of these?

Scavenger Hunt

Sure there are many ways to stir excitement and interaction at your trade show booth.  The most common is a contest, which usually contains a high ticket prize, but there are many alternatives.

Try something unique and truly engaging with your prospects and customers.  Try using a custom scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are not only fun and challenging but they can be used as a vehicle to educate your customers and prospects on your product, service or brand.  A scavenger hunt can be used to distribute promotional items, as opposed to standing around and handing out pieces without engaging the attendees or gaining leads.  It’s also the perfect way to involve your partners, distributors, or vendors.  Include them on the actual scavenger hunt to circulate the traffic to key booths or areas of the trade show floor, as desired.

Working with your partners and vendors is a great way to show your value, split the marketing costs and double the exposure and success of the overall event.

The scavenger hunt could take a few hours or continue over the course of several days.  It could begin before the trade show and end after the trade show has wrapped up.  It’s completely up to you and your preference.

Pre and Post Marketing Efforts

Start the scavenger hunt early and get your customers and prospects excited before the trade show even begins.  During this time, you could simply promote the scavenger hunt, give teasers for what’s expected, showcase prizes, or give them a clue or two in advance.  This is your chance to build anticipation and interest.  The response at this point could give you your VIP list to target for future efforts.

How far in advance should you start promoting?  That’s totally up to you.  You could begin the interaction a week, a month or six months in advance, as long as someone is dedicated to building the hype as the trade show creeps closer.

Once the trade show or scavenger hunt is completed, post the results.  We recommend after all the excitement has nearly expired but not too long after the trade show. You want to continue the fun not stall it into dullness.

Another suggestion, you might want to wait to award the big prizes.  This will give you another reason to reach out to the prospects and customers with more than business talk.  Again, keep the interaction going post trade show to establish a long-term relationship.


A scavenger hunt can and should utilize your social media portals to engage the participants.  This not only brings positive attention to your booth and company, but it also increases your online footprint and engagement, exponentially.

Having your prospects and customers posting to your social sites under your name gains you exposure to their online contacts, plus gives you additional online traffic.  This eliminates the need to rely solely on your sales and marketing team to take the time out of their busy day to post.

What are you waiting for?

You’re only as limited as your imagination.  Remember, a custom trade show scavenger hunt could include:

  • Partners, distributors, vendors
  • Speaking engagements or round tables discussions
  • After hours parties or gatherings
  • Sales and marketing team at the booth
  • Products, services or brand information
  • Promotional items, giveaways
  • Plus more

Don’t wait till the trade show is upon you.  Start planning your trade show scavenger hunt now.

Did you create your very own scavenger hunt, or did you participate in one?  Share your story with us!

If you’d like to learn more about our suggested themes and ideas, let us know.  We’d be happy to discuss and provide you with a free quote.

Thrill of the Hunt exclusively develops and administers to themed scavenger hunts for public and private events such as team building activities, company outings, fundraisers and private parties.

Remember, Everyone needs to … Experience the Game

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