Tradeshow Marketing

Trade Shows in 2023: What Will Work and What Won’t?

Working on your B2B trade show marketing plan for 2023? Check out this post for the latest trade show trends you should not ignore.

According to the CEIR Index Report, the exhibition industry is expected to recover by the end of 2023 fully. But while it is great that we're finally bidding goodbye to the severe downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed in the last couple of years.

The pandemic has significantly impacted consumers, making it essential for event marketers to plan their exhibits, keeping the latest trade show trends in mind. If you are participating in trade shows in 2023, here's a list of things that are expected to work and ones you can probably ignore-

What Will Work in Trade Shows in 2023?

Let's look at a few trade show trends that will work in this year.

It’s All About Engagement

Engagement marketing, also known as experiential marketing, involves strategies and techniques that abundantly focus on audience participation. It helps businesses create an environment that fosters good, long-term relationships with users, customers, and leads.

But why an engagement strategy for B2B trade show marketing?

It is because it fulfills the growing consumer expectations of high-quality buying journeys. By encouraging participation, engagement marketing connects the audience with your brand in a unique manner. And it works exceedingly well for physical events like trade shows.

Here are a few tips for engaging your trade show attendees in 2023-

  • Consider installing a selfie station, photo booth, or other activities to improve brand engagement
  • Customized and branded giveaways or product/service trials are great ways to ensure people remember your brand well after the event
  • Booth activities like custom trade show trivia boost engagement and help brands with their event objectives

[READ: Why Have a Custom Trade Show Quiz at Your Booth? ]

Budget Cuts Will Stay Around for a While

Barring a few exceptions like e-commerce and healthcare, the two years of the pandemic were economically challenging for all industries. And this has significantly impacted the marketing budgets.

According to a Gartner survey, the marketing budgets in 2021-22 dropped to the lowest levels in recent history. While some recovery is expected, marketers would want to hold their purses tight and spend responsibly in 2023.

And given that exhibiting at trade shows is already an expensive affair, the need for cost-effective decision-making rises further.

A few tips for marketers to make the most of their trade show budget in 2023-

  • Compared to the larger trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show 2023, consider participating in more affordable smaller events.
  • Give the custom trade show booth a miss and stick to renting the booth
  • Booth sharing can be highly cost-effective
  • You can create an impact even with smaller 10x10 booths; save money by renting smaller booth spaces.

[READ: 10x10 Trade Show Booth Ideas]

Gamify Your Booth

Booth gamification is another trend that is expected to make a huge impact in 2023. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t understand how trade show gamification works. It is not about deploying any random game at your booth but carefully choosing a game-based activity that could support your business goals.

To give you an example, custom trade show trivia is a big hit at trade shows. The fun and challenging booth game attracts and engages the crowd and requires minimal setup and management. Moreover, the customized trade show quiz questions help exhibitors with their event objectives.

Last but not least, the booth trivia digitizes the lead collection process, eliminating the need for exhibitors to rely on traditional offline lead collection methods. So, the trivia is a perfect example of booth gamification.

You can check out our post on Choosing the Best Trade Show Activity for some handy tips on how to gamify your trade show booth for the best results.

What Won’t Work in Trade Shows in 2023?

Now that you know what'll work, let's look at a few things to stay clear of.

Offline-Only Trade Show Marketing

In our increasingly digital world, it'd not be wise to use offline channels only to promote your exhibit. Be it for personal or professional reasons; people now spend a significant chunk of their everyday lives online.

So, whether you’re working on your pre-show marketing strategy or want to spread the word when the event is already underway, digital channels can do an impressive job of expanding your reach.

Here’s how to use online channels to promote your booth-

  • Share videos and photos on social media to create a buzz
  • Engage with people on social platforms
  • Use email marketing to boost awareness
  • Use your website to let visitors know about your exhibit

[READ: 5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Booth]

Going Big on Tech and Sacrificing Personal Service

It is true that our everyday lives now revolve around a plethora of technologies. And it is also true that people prefer dealing with businesses they believe are high-tech.

However, to ensure people perceive your brand as technologically-advanced, it is not necessary to infuse each element of your trade show booth with technology. While based on your industry, you can use various tech-based elements; you should never sacrifice personal service in the process.

Remember that people attend trade shows for that one-to-one personalized experience. So, for instance, between well-trained booth staff and self-service kiosks, it’d be better if you go with the former unless there is an issue like budget constraints or a high-tech brand image is what you’re aiming for.

If you want to use technology at your booth, use these tips-

  • Create a video presentation for your product/service
  • Use large displays for presentations and marketing
  • Digitize lead collection
  • Use an online booth activity

Ready to Exhibit at Trade Shows in 2023?

If you're working on your B2B trade show marketing strategy for 2023, you should definitely consider these points. Lastly, be clear about your event objectives and start planning for at least a few months to ensure you can achieve your event objectives.

And if you're looking for ways to supercharge your event in 2023, our custom trade show trivia can help. Over the years, our trivia challenges have helped exhibitors create a buzz, attract more audience, and collect more engaged leads at the biggest B2B trade shows, and we can do the same for you.

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