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Three trade show trends for 2019 and beyond

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Trade shows may be a traditional marketing strategy, but they’re still recognised globally as being a major way to raise company profiles and generate new business.

In the US alone, trade shows and expos remain one of the most profitable B2B marketing tactics and reportedly generated more than £13.2 billion revenue in 2017.

Literally hundreds of different trades shows take place at venues across the world every day. While the digital era is making it increasingly difficult for businesses to cut through the ‘noise’ and get their message heard, something totally different’s happening in the trade show arena. Companies are still getting to do that all-important thing – speak to prospects face-to-face.

Notably, trade shows have managed to stay relevant and highly successful over the years because they’ve evolved and adapted with the latest trends, such as these:


TREND 1: Going back to basics  

We live in the digital era. Where tech’s bigger, brighter and better and each development is more mind-blowing than the last. As a result, most people are accustomed to being wowed by digital advances – on-stand interactive apps, virtual reality, touch screen data capture, live streaming, clever lighting and more.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact people still love a bit of good old-fashioned nostalgia every now and then to break up the digital monopoly. Classic pursuits, such as giant buzzwires and table football, caricatures, quizzes and photo booths are just as capable as turning people’s heads, as the latest gadgets and gizmos.


TREND 2: Using data to delve deeper

While gathering details about stand visitors isn’t anything new, the way data’s being used is. 21st century digital advances mean it’s possible to obtain data analytics that can pre-empt people’s next steps before they’ve even made them. And companies are using this insight to tailor their customer journey and make their show appearances more customer-centric than the last.

Lead capture apps are a great example of this, especially as most can be directly integrated with CRM systems, saving businesses the hassle of inputting leads into their databases. This also means they can make almost instantaneous follow ups through channels, such as email or social. These apps can be used to create self-service kiosks too, which stand visitors can use without feeling like somebody’s watching over their shoulder…


TREND 3: Delivering customer-focused design

You know how we referred to customer-centric appearances in the last point? Well, the basis of this boils down to creating stands that aren’t static structures, but compelling experiences. Eye-catching stands are guaranteed to turn heads, but what about if they’re eye-catching AND highly relevant to your target audience?

Companies that want to remain competitive in 2019 and onwards, need to spend less time on looking flashy, and more time on putting themselves in their ideal customer’s shoes. And then build their stand around that. It can easily be achieved by asking these types of key questions:

Q. What does our ideal customer look like?

Q. Why will they be attending the show?

Q. What do they know about our offering?

Q. What are their pain points and challenges?

Q. How does our product/service help them overcome their challenges?

Q. What do we want them to do when they first see our stand?

Q. What do we want them to think/feel after they’ve visited us?

The rise of the trade show is something to be admired as it’s been shaped by no-end of trends, many of which we’ve seen and helped deliver over the years. The three trade show trends for 2019 and beyond above are just a snapshot of the direction trade shows are heading in right now. We’re sure the best is yet to come…

For help or advice on implementing these trends or for more insight, contact us on 0113 289 7733 or mail@sharmanshaw.co.uk

Three trade show trends for 2019 and beyond