Networking is described by Wikipedia as “a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded business professionals recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.”


Sounds a little stiff and technical, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. Networking is simply the act of connecting with others in the industry to share common experiences and explore the possibility of doing business together, in one form or another.

Marketing at a trade show or conference allows you to extend your efforts beyond digital and print strategies — and while that’s exponentially important as well, the timeless science of networking face-to-face will never tire from being one of the best business practices out there.

Attending a trade show or conference is a great prospecting strategy, but only if your business does it correctly.

Clarify your presence at the show:

  • Are you promoting and educating attendees about your products and services?
  • Are you demonstrating your product or service?
  • Are you interacting with prospective clients and customers?

Networking, generating sales and establishing a positive public perception of your business is important for business development and growth.

Tip: Analyzing your competition is not a good reason to attend a show.

Outline Your Objectives

What do you want to accomplish by sponsoring and attending trade shows and conferences?

Define your business objectives before attending by making your goals achievable and measurable. If there is more than one employee attending, defining individual objectives is also ideal — depending on their role in the organization.

Consider the Size & Design of Your Booth

An appealing exhibit will draw desired attention to your booth. It should also stimulate interest and questions through approachable staff.

You can include a draw or contest, but it should not be the sole means for getting attendees to stop at your booth.

Other things to consider having on display:

  • Interactive media or multi-media presentation
  • Social media engagement
  • Product displays and/or presentations
  • Signage and advertising displays

Convey the company’s unique value proposition

The material available at your booth must answer an attendee’s questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How can you help me achieve success?

Attendees source out information at trade shows that will help their business succeed, so the content in your materials must answer the three questions above.

What does your business do at trade shows that ensure it achieves success? Comment below.