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Taking the Leap: Dos and Don'ts for Scaling Up to a Large Exhibit

Your brand is growing, and you’re considering expanding your trade show presence. How do you navigate planning a large exhibit experience? 

With the right strategy, a large exhibit enhances your brand’s visibility, allows your team to better engage attendees, and significantly boosts your trade show outcomes.

Here are the important dos and don’ts to help you successfully scale up to a large exhibit. 


Outline clear goals and objectives. Determine your business objectives and how you’ll measure success and report on exhibiting results. This will help you focus on the activations and features that are most important and ensure that you have the data needed to evaluate your outcomes. 

Understand your industry landscape. Be aware of trends in your industry and consider what types of experiences will resonate most with your audience. Whether it’s product demos, interactive digital experiences, or expert presentations, ensure that your booth offers compelling reasons for attendees to engage with your brand. 

Know your audience. Develop a deep understanding of the needs, challenges, and expectations of your audience, including partners and existing customers familiar with your brand as well as new prospects and media. Craft an exhibit experience with attendee journeys that are engaging and informative for all segments of your audience. 

Generate pre-show buzz. Utilize pre-show marketing to inform your audience about your presence at the show, build anticipation, and drive traffic to your booth. Invite attendees to your booth with email campaigns, social media, and direct outreach. Include details on what they can expect, such as special activations or giveaways, product launches, or educational sessions. 

Work closely with your exhibit partner. Connect with your exhibit partner early in the planning process. Understanding your brand, business objectives, goals, and budget will help them design a booth that brings your brand to life and maximizes your trade show results. They will identify the best solutions for your needs within your budget, such as rental and hybrid exhibits. Incorporating rental offers the flexibility to scale up to larger exhibit sizes while reducing costs and maintaining a custom booth design. 


Don’t start with design. While it’s tempting to dive into the creative aspect of your exhibit first, don't fall in love with a design that may not align with your objectives or budget. Instead, consider what you want attendees to experience in your exhibit, how your lead generation strategy fits with the attendee journey, and what activations will contribute to measurable results. 

Don’t assume you can just double your budget. If you’re scaling to a large exhibit from a smaller inline space, such as 10'x10' or 10'x20', don’t assume you can simply double your previous spend. There are many additional costs to consider in a larger space, such as increased drayage, more graphics, and rigging for higher structures, in addition to a larger exhibit. 

Don’t limit your booth staff to your sales team. While your sales team is important to include in your booth, a successful large exhibit requires diverse booth staff. Include team members who are knowledgeable about your products, can engage attendees effectively, and provide support for demonstrations and digital activations. Training your team to work cohesively, communicate your brand messaging effectively, and understand the lead qualification process is crucial for maximizing engagement and achieving your goals. 

Don’t underestimate the capabilities of digital. Digital activations aren't just to capture attention; they're powerful lead generation and measurement tools. Integrating digital activations in your exhibit to capture valuable data on content engagement levels and booth traffic flow provides insights into what worked well and where improvements are needed. 

Don’t ignore your data. Gathering data during the show is only useful if you have a plan to analyze and act on it post-show. Review lead capture data, engagement metrics, and feedback, and develop a strategy for extracting insights and following up with leads to convert them into tangible business opportunities. This will help you measure the success of your exhibit and refine your approach for future events. 

Universal Lead Capture allows your booth staff to easily capture leads, including contact information and important qualification details, so it’s ready for post-show communications and easily available for your sales team to continue the conversation. 

Scaling up to a large exhibit space is a significant investment that can yield substantial rewards if approached strategically. By avoiding common mistakes and following best practices, you can create an impactful exhibit that attracts the right audience, maximizes engagement, and delivers measurable results. Remember, success in a larger space requires more than just scaling up your previous efforts—it demands a thoughtful, comprehensive strategy that aligns with your business objectives.