Get FREE Trade Show Marketing Tips in Your Inbox! Click Here

Product Demonstrations- What You Need To Know


They Create Lasting Memories

Product demonstrations at trade shows and events create images in the mind of visitors who participate in them.  They work because:

  • There is action or motion.
  • The benefits are easy to discern.
  •  It delivers proof that the product works.
  • There is involvement by the attendee.
  • There is greater understanding through learning.
  • They involve all the senses which makes them memorable.

Check out this demo of Skyline WindScape® from our 10×10 booth at EXHIBITORLIVE 2016. The benefits of air powered exhibit technology are easy to discern here! The tower inflates in a matter of minutes with the touch of a button.


When deciding how to structure a product demonstration, keep in mind how adults learn:


Retention Rates

Lecture                                                 5%

Reading                                              10%

Audiovisual                                         20%

Demonstration                                    30%

Discussion Group                                50%

Practice by Doing                                75%

Immediate use of Learning                 90%


Now let’s look at the average memorability for the most commonly used exhibit methods:


Formal Product Demonstrations 80%
Informal One-on-One Product Demonstrations 79%
Static Displays 71%
Attention Getting Techniques (mimes, magicians, robots, models) 67%
Average of All Types 75%


The average effect of a demonstration at trade shows is higher because most demonstrations studied are interactive so the visitor actually “practices by doing.”


Effective demonstrations are planned and integrated into the entire exhibiting event so that the remainder of the event reinforces the demonstration and vice versa.
A demonstration is a good attention getter and an even better vehicle to assure information retention.  It accomplishes the former through action and the latter through involvement.

Demonstrating how to use your product beats the static booth, which only has the staff to gain attention and communicate the message.  The addition of a product demonstration for a small exhibit increases the attractiveness of the booth and the number of prospects that will be interested in visiting. Because a demonstration has the ability to identify the key points of benefits the product or service offers, it aids in organizing the booth activities.  It becomes the center of attention.

Product Demo

A product demonstration can assist exhibitors by

  • Allowing you to compete with the larger, more elaborate exhibits.
  • A demonstration can pre-qualify the prospects, since they visually can judge if there is an interest level before the visual engagement and verbal communication begin.


Both products and services can be demonstrated.  It just takes a little more imagination and creativity to accomplish results for the latter.

  • Decide what you want to say about your product. Focus on benefits, not features.
  • Decide how the product can demonstrate the benefits to support your verbal message. Design the demonstration to keep the visitors involved in the action.
  • Use a team selling strategy for qualifying and presenting:
    • Identify the booth staffers who have the ability to present the message and conduct the demonstration. At times, a professional presenter is appropriate, but for some exhibitors, technical sales or other experienced personnel can undertake the task.
    • Identify booth staffers who are good at “meeting and greeting” to engage, qualify and transition interested prospects.
  • Rehearse the demonstration in the office/plant before going to the show and at the show site to assure that there are no “stops and starts.”
  • Develop a system for transitioning prospects after qualification to the demonstrator. A good system for handing-off is impressive to the prospect and is efficient for the demonstrator.  By providing the appropriate level of qualification information to the demonstrator, it shows the level to which the greeter was listening and avoids the necessity of re-qualifying, which is annoying to the prospect.
  • Be professional and straightforward, as a product demonstration is not intended to be entertainment for booth visitors.
  • Reading nonverbal signs is critical.
    • Notice signs of pensiveness, which indicates deep interest (eyes up or down)
    • Watch for signs of lost interest (staring eyes – that cold, hard look)
    • Making solid eye-to-eye contact assures that you are reading the signs and indicating your interest in them and what they have to say.
    • Be aware of signs of daydreaming or disinterest eyes that are unfocused and staring into space
    • Be aware of eye movement of up to the right or left.
    • To the right…a sign of evaluating information that has been presented or heard previously.
    • To the left…determining the veracity of the information just communicated.
  • Even in a demonstration, the booth staffer should not do all the talking. Probing for needs and presenting benefits to fill those needs, then demonstrating how the product can fulfill the needs will be best received by the booth visitor.
  • Product demonstrations can be either conducted upon demand or according to a schedule. A combination of the two works best.  A good rule of thumb is to conduct the demonstration as many times as possible.  At a minimum, four times per hour should be targeted.
  • One-on-one demonstrations work best in small booths. When possible, design the demonstration for multiple visitors, since the visitors’ questions multiply the value of the demonstration and make it more memorable.

Have you had success demonstrating the benefits of your product? What tips and tricks have you seen work best? Let us know in the comments below.

Trade Show Tips for New Exhibitors Book

This 44-page book contains 25 articles on many key areas for trade show marketing, covering logistics; booth staff selection, training, and staffing; exhibit design; pre-show and at-show promotions; lead management; and measurement of your program’s results.

Most of all, it provides you with a base level of expectations you can take to heart about the challenges and potential to succeed at trade shows. These insights will allow you to shorten your learning curve and feel more comfortable even at the beginning of your trade show journey.

To request a free copy, complete the form below!

About the Author

Marc Goldberg, CME, Partner and Founder of Marketech Inc., brings over 35 years of cross functional marketing and management experience to his trade show seminars, conferences and measurement activities. Marc conducts programs at Exhibitor Show, TSEA’s TS2, Exhibit Marketing Institute and the Event Measurement Conference. Marc received his CME certification in 1999, from TSEA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Stay Up To Date