What Makes a Trade Show Booth Great?

Categories: Trade Show Marketing, Trade Show Tips

You may have asked yourself the question “What makes a trade show booth great?” or “why does that company’s booth work better than mine?”

This is no easy question to answer as it can be approached from many different angles such as booth design, display graphics design, brand recognition, activity in the booth, and many others.

Instead, you should approach this question as a traditional marketing strategy instead, as you’ll find that what makes a trade show booth great is much bigger than the displays themselves.

Beyond the Displays

When thinking about your next trade show and your booth, you should think beyond the booth and displays themselves and start to think about topics such as keeping attendees engaged and working towards a goal you have set out for your shows (ie follow-up meetings, product demos, badge scan, etc.)

Your booth and displays are simply part of the equation for the success of your next show and you should strategize appropriately with this in mind.

If you don’t have any goals for your next trade show, you should highly consider defining them as they most likely already exist, they’re just not defined yet and are really critical for the entire setup of your booth.

Check out this article on trade show strategies here.

Attendee Engagement

Ok so you have your goals defined and outlined, but how the heck do you get those show attendees to care about you, your company, and whatever your goal is related to?

Well, you have a couple options and they all should be adjusted to your goals and also adjusted to your client base.

Got a high-tech, professional software company?

A cartoonish color palette and a dunk tank might not be the best idea…

Instead, you should consider an interactive touch-screen digital kiosk(s), tv monitors showcasing your products, hands-on demonstrations for your products (beauty industry?), and other merchandising choices.  

interactive product demo to keep attendees engaged

Read more about digital kiosks and getting more people into your booth here.

Making sure your booth staff is up-to-date and knowledgeable about your products is, of course, a very important task to do.

Depending on the size of the company, the people who staff your booth may range from lower-level employees to the engineers to dedicated salespeople or even your c-suite executives.

Whoever ends up staffing your booth must have up-to-date information on what they’re selling and be able to accurately sell, showcase, or otherwise further the goals that you set out for the show.

A fact sheet for everyone staffing your booth will help prevent any sort of information and message mismatch between different people in the booth.

The Booth Itself

Ok. So a great booth setup doesn’t necessarily mean a great show, but a bad booth can certainly harm your performance at the show.

You’ve probably walked a trade show booth and have commented to yourself about how a booth looked right? Either good or bad?

And if you’ve seen a bad trade show booth, you could probably point out a lot more easily why it looks bad than if it looked good. Maybe the graphics looked bad, it was too “busy” looking, or it looked empty?

Here’s a set of guidelines that can help you prevent a bad looking design and help the design of the booth itself help your show’s success.

#1 Keep your booth consistent

Take a look at this booth setup here.

example of consistent booth displays

This company is able to achieve an eye-catching, rainbow palette that looks really good. This is because the displays themselves are all consistent with each other, but where they all differ is their “background” color.

I guarantee that if the display units did not match each other, this design would look like an expensive eyesore.

But it doesn’t, because of the consistency.

#2 Keep it appropriate

You’ll want to make sure that your booth setup stays consistent with your company’s marketing plan and branding.

If you’re an executive consulting firm, you probably want to stay with the neutral color palette that your brand carries, rather than a color palette that could belong in a kids show right?

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever use bright colors or busy designs.

Just keep your clientele base in mind as well as your overall company branding and image.

#3 Keep people engaged

You don’t want to be that booth with no one but employees who are staring you down waiting for you to walk over.

Once a crowd forms, its much easier to attract more show-goers into your booth and, hopefully, you’ll be able to keep that momentum moving throughout the day.

Refer to the previous section on attendee engagement for more ideas on how to execute this successfully.


While booth design itself is important, you should consider the success of your shows to be tied to, yes, the design but also your strategy and goals at the show. Never place the success of your show on how well or poorly a booth is designed, but consider it a variable in the equation of your show’s success.

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