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What Exactly Does An Exhibit Marketer Do?

Want a well-defined job description?  Then be an accountant.  Want to enjoy a variety of activities, both within exhibit marketing, other marketing, and outside of marketing?  Then aspire to be an exhibit marketer.

That’s one of the insights from the new white paper, The Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers.  For part of this research study, over 170 exhibit marketers answered questions about what their job entails, including what they do themselves, delegate, or outsource.  Read below for a summary of how they answered, and see how their jobs compare to your own.

Exhibit Marketers: Different Tasks, Different Levels Of Hands-On Involvement
Event marketers perform a wide variety of marketing and non-marketing tasks to help their organizations gather sales leads, build their brands, and achieve their marketing objectives.

Pre-show marketing and planning

  • In terms of planning, more than half the exhibit marketers surveyed take personal responsibility for:  
    • Event selection: 71.5%
    • Travel: 66.3%
    • Logistics: 55.6%
    • Staff training: 51.7%
  • Pre-show marketing has become increasingly important.  More than one in three exhibit marketers take personal responsibility for:
    • Pre-show marketing emails: 39.8%
    • Schedule in-booth meetings: 37.3%
    • Pre-show direct mailers: 36.5%
  • About one in five (19.5%) currently handle their own online social networking to reach attendees (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).  This aspect of the marketing mix is certain to increase if community building proves to hold a competitive advantage. 
  • Over the last two years, one-quarter of exhibit marketers (24.8%) say they have been spending more time on social media.


  • On average, exhibit marketers taking part in the study represent organizations that exhibit in 18 shows and sponsor 4 annually.
  • More than half (51.5%) go to over 80% of the shows and events they manage.
  • More than half the exhibitors (57.6%) said they man the booth at over 80% of the shows and events they manage. 
  • Exhibit marketing is more than just manning the booth.  Exhibit marketers take a personal role in:
    • At-show promotions: 53.8%
    • Providing in-booth demos: 42.3%
    • Speaking at educational seminars: 29.8%


  • More than one in three (37.1%) do their own lead follow-up.  Sixty percent delegate the responsibility in-house.

Other Marketing and Non-Marketing Activities

  • Other marketing activities that exhibit marketers are responsible for include:
    • Email marketing: 66.1%
    • Direct mail: 64.2%
    • Corporate communications: 63.6%
    • Product marketing: 63.6%
    • Public relations: 57.6%
    • Market research: 50.9%
    • Sales: 50.3%
  • More than half take part in non-marketing activities such as setting budgets (58.8%) or servicing customers (54.4%), while nearly half are active in sales (48.1%), and 31.9% interview and recruit employees.

One of the obvious, yet “aha!” insights gleaned from this research study was that exhibitors with inline trade show booths consider their job to be more strategic (69.5%) than island exhibitors do (49.4%).  That makes sense, because exhibitors in smaller booth spaces are often from smaller companies, where a higher-titled person is doing trade shows along with many other higher-level tasks to market and grow their business. 

So how does this compare to your job?  Are you doing all these things yourself, too?  Or do you have help to get it done, either in-house or outsourced?  Let us know in the comments box below.

Learn more about how your job compares to your peers by getting your own copy of The Evolving Role Of Exhibit Marketers , the new 36-page White Paper from Skyline Exhibits and Tradeshow Week Magazine.  Get your free copy by clicking here now.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

2 responses to “What Exactly Does An Exhibit Marketer Do?

  1. Mike, I love the quote under what I wish my boss knew: “Event planning involves 1001 relatively minor, though super-critical steps to ensure a smooth show.”

    So true.


    1. Thanks, Jeela. That was a gem of a quote. There was so much good insights in that section of the white paper that in July I will write a post on what exhibit marketers wish their bosses knew about trade shows.

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