Trade Shows: More Than Just an Event

Gwen Shields


At Altitude Marketing, a trade show is more than an event: It’s a state of mind. You can’t just arrive on show day, unroll a backdrop and expect the leads to roll in. There’s a lot more to it than that.

What does that mean? Here’s an example of a trade show strategy we recently executed for a 6-year-old high-tech company. By taking on the “View from 30,000 Feet,” they used a large industry event to fuel a record sales year.

  • Four months prior to the trade show, we pitched the leading trade publication on story ideas – and landed our client coverage in the pre-show issue.
  • Three months prior to the show, we made dinner and lunch reservations at the most coveted restaurants in the trade show city and arranged for a personal visit from the chef.
  • Two months prior, we created a compelling print ad to run in the show issue. The ad included a push to a show-specific landing page on the client’s website for more info.
  • Six weeks prior, we ensured the trade show display was on message and matched the overarching visual identity.
  • Five weeks prior, we sent out an email and a postcard to top prospects, inviting them to stop by the booth.
  • A month prior, we sent out a customized invitation to top prospects inviting them to dinner at one of the restaurant we’d booked earlier, then made follow-up phone calls for confirmation.
  • Three weeks prior, we set up the process to capture contact information at the show.
  • Five days AFTER the show, we sent out press releases to the key trade media, mentioning the new customers that were signed on as a result of the show. All press releases were posted on the website immediately after distribution.
  • Two weeks after, we created a follow-up ad in the post-show issue of the key trade magazine and thanked show organizers.
  • Two months after, we conducted a preliminary P&L to determine whether the show was worth the investment and whether they should consider going again the next year.
Gwen Shields

As Altitude’s COO, Gwen Shields oversees client-facing systems and processes to improve service and retention, ensuring production operations run smoothly and effectively. Her exceptional problem-solving skills and technical knowledge allow Gwen to understand and guide Altitude’s core base of technology-focused clients.
Gwen earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and worked in information systems and tech sales before becoming a part of Team Altitude in 2008.