Weekly Insights: Trade Shows & Direct Mail – A Winning Combination

Connect-AprMay15One big mistake many exhibitors make is neglecting to do anything to promote their presence at a trade show. They somehow think people will just magically show up at their booth, or perhaps that attendees are already aware of — and eager to meet — them.

Unfortunately, these exhibitors are fooling themselves. According to industry studies, at least 75 percent of attendees arrive at a show with a pre-set agenda, and if they aren’t aware of your company, you won’t be on that list. Promoting the fact you’re exhibiting is key to building traffic in your booth.

Direct mail is one great tool for getting the word out in advance while standing out from the crowd. For example, how many e-mails did you get this week? How many text messages … LinkedIn messages … Facebook messages …?

Now how many pieces of postal mail did you get (other than bills)? I bet you can count them on one hand. So as a trade show marketer, you’ve got a much greater chance of getting attention with a physical piece of mail in their mailbox.

Recently, I was asked to write an article about how exhibitors can use direct mail to increase their results. The paragraphs above are the opening to that article in the current issue of Connect by NextPage. You can access the entire magazine online in Issuu or download the PDF or iBooks version here. You’ll find my article on page 15.

Also this week I had the opportunity to view and vote on the People’s Choice entries in the PIA MidAmerica Graphic Excellence Awards at a local event. There were some very creative ideas for tabletop signage, brochures and books, mailers, and more. I hope to have photos to share in an upcoming post.

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.


  1. By Marlys Arnold

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