• All Services

    As a HubSpot Partner Agency, Market Veep is committed to helping our clients reach the right people at the right time through a wide range of digital marketing channels.

  • Onboarding

    Get a faster time-to-start with pro onboarding solutions from HubSpot Certified Trainers

  • Integrations

    From Salesforce to Zoho, expertly integrate your sales and marketing systems

  • Migrations

    Move off of Pardot, Pipedrive, and other systems into your shiny new HubSpot portal

  • Blog

    A collection of marketing, sales, and HubSpot knowledge - with a look inside of the culture here at Market Veep.

  • Ebooks

    Regardless of the industry that you’re in, we’ve got an ebook full of fresh and actionable marketing insights to help catapult your brand to continued success.

  • Events

    Join us for our upcoming events and webinars or download recordings of previous events, webinars, podcasts, and more.

  • Case Studies

    Browse our case studies to see the real results we've achieved for real clients, just like you.

  • Tools

Trade Show Marketing Strategy: Top 5 Tips for Success

Trade Show Marketing Strategy: Top 5 Tips for Success When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

When approached correctly, trade shows can be an excellent form of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies.

Each year, convention centers and fairgrounds across the USA host manufacturing trade shows dedicated to everything from engineering equipment to textiles. 

Whether you’re considering attending such an event for the first time or are searching for a better manufacturer marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered. Read on for tips and tricks that can help you make the most of your next trade show appearance.

Follow your target audience.
Understand your goals.
Don't fly solo.
Find a way to make your brand stand out.
The power of the promo pen.
Trade Show Marketing Strategy: Top 5 Tips for Success Featured Image Bottom Icon
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Follow Your Target Audience 

We’ll fill you in on a little secret – not every trade show is worth participating in. A show that is too loosely related to your niche in the industry, or one that is likely to attract an audience that’s too business-to-consumer focused or business-to-business focused for your product…may take more time and energy than it’s worth. Any trade show that results in very few qualified leads might have been marketing dollars better spent elsewhere. Save your efforts for events that are likely to attract the most relevant manufacturing associations, customers, and fellow industry entrepreneurs. 

Understand Your Goals 

Setting achievable goals (How many leads? How many meetings or conversations with business leadership? How much attributable revenue?), complete with measurable metrics, is important in planning a solid trade show appearance. Keep in mind that your goals may be in a totally different scope from the company that rents a booth next to you – and that’s to be expected! You know best where you’re at in your growth process and what would represent a successful outing for your company.

Here are just a few examples of trade show manufacturer marketing goals: 

  • Raise business awareness
  • Spread the word about a new product or service
  • Collect email addresses for your upcoming newsletter launch 
  • Network with potential business partners 
  • Increase brand loyalty by engaging with current customers 

There are no right or wrong answers here. The important thing is to be aware of your goals so that you can come up with the best trade show marketing strategy to achieve them. 

Don’t Fly Solo 

If it’s your first time participating in a trade show, don’t make the mistake of showing up alone. Depending on what you hope to accomplish, there are a few people you might consider bringing along for the ride.

  • The People Person 

When it comes to effective trade show marketing for manufacturers, it’s important to attract conversations and make people feel welcome at your booth. Remember, trade shows are all about schmoozing with relevant decision-makers and getting noticed by engaging with people in person. 

If you don’t tend to be the peppiest, bubbliest person in the office, then bring along the guy or gal who is. Whether it happens to be your CEO or the intern that works in the mail room, ask them to tag along, buy them an energy drink, and watch them draw in visitors with their trademark charm. More conversations at the booth means more awareness and more positive interactions for people to remember.

  • The Business Person

If you’re looking to make business connections, manufacturing trade shows are an excellent place to do it. There are few more valuable opportunities where you’ll find this many manufacturing associations, clients, potential partners, and prospective partners all under one roof. 

Should networking and lead generation be among your goals, you’ll find nothing more frustrating than staying chained to your booth all day. That’s where the business person comes in – send them out to forge new connections and perform “outreach” that isn’t possible in the booth. They’ll take a sales approach to the trade show, introducing themselves to people, bringing the conversation around to your company, and discovering helpful relationships while you hold down the booth.

  • The Low-Key Spy

Competitor analysis plays a vital role in marketing for manufacturers — and any other business, for that matter. The trade show is a great place to have an undercover employee investigate what your competitors are up to firsthand. 

While it may seem obvious, just be sure not to blow the low-key spy’s cover by sending them out wearing a company t-shirt. The more they blend in, the better they’ll be able to collect valuable competitor insights, not to mention honest feedback from your own customers. 

Find a Way to Make Your Brand Stand Out 

If there’s one thing trade show marketing should never be, it’s boring. No matter how flashy your booth is, keep in mind that there are going to be plenty of others a lot like it. 

That’s why it’s important to come up with unique ways to stand out in the crowd. While things like product demos and presentations can be effective, the more fun or interesting you can make them, the better. 

Imagine, for instance, that your company manufactures robotic technology. You might set up a game where visitors can attempt to win a prize by completing certain tasks with a demo robot arm. 

If you manufacture chemical pesticides, however, then you may want to consider turning to other tactics to draw customers in. Whether it be games, raffles, VR experiences, or giveaways, put a fun spin on your appearance! 

When it comes to trade show marketing, it’s all about creating a memorable experience for your audience. Everyone is here for the experience, after all. You might even consider setting up a photo booth, hiring a masseuse, or setting up a rest area where weary trade show attendees can relax and take a load off. 

The Power of the Promo Pen (and Other Functional Freebies) 

If there’s one corner your trade show marketing budget shouldn’t cut, it’s branded freebies. No matter how many fancy boards, brochures, or business cards you have printed, few will draw in the average customer as quickly as the offer of a free branded ink pen. 

A few hundred promo ink pens can be had online for less than $1 apiece. Each promo pen you give away will delight the average visitor because let’s face it – humans dig free stuff. 

Maybe your visitor will stick around to learn more about your product. But even if they don’t, they’ll leave carrying a portable advertisement for your business. 

With each use, the promo pen will serve as a mini billboard. One of the key goals of the show is to make your business name more familiar with people. Every time they see it (as well as anyone they happen to use it around), the pen's owner will be reminded of your name. 

In this way, functional freebies often end up being far cheaper than other types of ads, all while generating a higher ROI. You might even consider using promo items like t-shirts as prizes that visitors can earn a chance to win in exchange for their email addresses. 

There are now plenty of customizable functional freebie options, from water bottles and bags to USB drives and keychains. No matter which you choose, functional freebies can be an excellent yet stealthy form of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies. 

Want to Learn More Trade Show Marketing Tips? 

At Market Veep, we practice what we preach! That’s why we’d like to offer you the ultimate functional freebie in the form of a free marketing consultation. Contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis and pick up more great strategies for trade shows and beyond.

“ No matter which you choose, functional freebies can be an excellent yet stealthy form of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies.”

Image Shape

Get The Latest From
Market Veep


Get Growing! 

Download our eBook and get advice from 8 CEOs of  Inc. 5000 companies in their own words.



Market Veep is a great firm that handles all of our marketing efforts. This is the second time that I have used the firm. I highly recommend Market Veep!

Cres F.



Market Veep's Onboarding Experts in Inbound Marketing are an absolute game-changer! From the get-go, their approach was top-notch. Market Veep's team has undoubtedly set the bar high for excellence in inbound marketing. Five stars aren't enough to commend their outstanding service!

Matthew W.



As a growing business, setting up our first-ever HubSpot account was a crucial step towards enhancing our marketing and customer management strategies. From the moment we contacted MarketVeep, their team demonstrated professionalism, expertise, and a genuine desire to help us succeed. Overall, our experience with MarketVeep was exceptional, and we couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks to their guidance, we are now utilizing HubSpot to its fullest potential, streamlining our marketing efforts, and nurturing leads more effectively.

Jean M.



We had an exceptional experience with Market Veep! Their team is professional, super organized, and friendly, and I truly enjoyed working with them. They executed on time and made the process super easy with their organization and documentation. In addition, they provided additional guidance and answered my many questions as I was new to HubSpot, and provided documentation resources for future use. We're now set up to leverage all that HubSpot marketing has to offer, and we couldn't have done it without Market Veep's expertise.

Bailey G.



There aren't enough words to describe the outstanding, professional work MarketVeep has provided to our company. From start to finish, the website design/development team at MarketVeep assigned to our project was extremely knowledgable, respectful, efficient and timely. The results went above and beyond our expectations and we could not be more thrilled with the improvements to the user experience on our website! Bravo MarketVeep, we'll absolutely be back with more projects!

Nadine B.



We had a fantastic experience with Market Veep! Their expert team seamlessly guided us through implementing HubSpot and provided comprehensive training across Sales, Service, and Marketing Hubs. Their knowledge and support significantly enhanced our workflow and overall efficiency. Highly recommend Market Veep for top-notch HubSpot solutions!

Anneke C.