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Trade Show Strategies for 2024

Discover insider strategies to captivate and engage audiences, from show-stopping designs to unique swag and interactive social media integrations.
Trade Show Strategies for 2024

Event season is here, and companies will hit the road for tradeshows and conferences. Every exhibitor vies to attract visitors, make memorable connections, and drive business.

How can you ensure your booth stands out?

Let’s break down some strategies to elevate your trade show game:

1 - Go Big or Go Home: The Over-the-Top Booth

Imagine walking into a trade show and seeing something so dazzling it stops you in your tracks.

That's the effect SentinelOne aimed for at BlackHat, with a booth designed by Derse that became the talk of the show.

I saw this one in person at BlackHat, and it was awesome. Everyone on the floor was talking about it. This booth wasn't just a display; it became a destination.


  • Visibility: There’s no missing it. A booth like this draws crowds, making it a hub for attendee attention.
  • Buzzworthy: It’s not just about the day of the show. People talk about these booths long after, extending the life of your engagement.


  • Cost: Quality comes at a price. Setups like these could potentially run upwards of $100,000, making them a significant investment.
  • Scale: Even if you reuse the booth for smaller companies, this level of spending might not be feasible.

2 - Beyond the Booth: Integrating Social Media

One frequent critique of trade show booths is their temporary impact—once the show ends, so does the engagement.

To combat this problem, why not make your booth an experience worth sharing? Incorporate elements that invite social sharing and interaction.

One great example is a social media vending machine. To get swag you have to post on a specific social media channel.

This is also a great way to combat swag hunters, AKA people who just want swag and aren't interested in your company or product.

Source: tradeshowlabs


  • Extended Reach: Every share or post extends your reach beyond the physical confines of the trade show.
  • Engagement: Interactive elements keep visitors at your booth longer, increasing the chances of forming meaningful connections.


  • Size: Vending machines are pretty big Ex ( 72” tall, 35” deep, 47”). If you have a small booth there might not be room for much else.

3 - Unique Swag

Swag is a staple at trade shows, but let's be honest, another water bottle or coffee mug can make even the keenest attendee yawn.

Most veterans of trade shows have drawers stuffed with these typical items, and the excitement over acquiring yet another one is pretty much non-existent.

Moreover, with growing environmental concerns, the sustainability of producing and distributing large quantities of these often plastic items is increasingly under scrutiny.

Hot Tip: At every trade show or conference I have ever been to, attendees go crazy for socks.

Someone on reddit asked: "What’s everyone’s favourite TradeShow swag they’ve seen/gotten?" and here was the response around socks:

Instead of blending in with the usual, consider stepping outside the box with eco-friendly, innovative swag that attendees will not only appreciate but actually use, enhancing your brand's image as thoughtful and innovative.


  • You will definitely stand out from the crowd. By the end of the first day, your booth might just become the talk of the town as attendees seek out your unique swag.


  • Prepare for the swag hunters! Your booth might attract visitors who are more interested in scoring some cool freebies than engaging with your brand’s message or products.

Promotionsnow has some unique under $5 ideas!

4 - Low-Cost Activation Ideas

When it comes to creating an engaging tradeshow booth without breaking the bank, creativity is your best asset. Here are some cost-effective ideas that can draw a crowd:

  1. Sketch Artist: Hire a local artist to create quick portraits or thematic sketches. This unique attraction not only offers a personalized takeaway but also provides a memorable experience that attendees will associate with your brand.
  2. Interactive Games: Set up trivia contests related to your industry to engage and educate visitors about your products or services. This can be a fun way to generate buzz and encourage participation.
  3. Mini Sports Arenas: Incorporate mini-basketball hoops or putting greens to add a touch of playful competition to your booth. These activities are fun and provide a casual environment for networking and discussion.


  • These types of activations are relatively low cost and easy to implement, making them accessible options for almost any budget. They attract attention and can significantly increase foot traffic to your booth, providing more opportunities to engage with potential clients.


  • While these activities can draw a crowd, the leads generated may not always be the most qualified or interested in your specific offerings. The fun nature of these attractions may attract participants more interested in the activity than your products or services.
How These In-Person Events Are Breaking The Mold
Digital content and marketing is everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Scrolling through your social feeds is like being at a crowded party where everyone’s shouting to be heard. * “Check out my webinar!” * “Download my eBook!” * “Hey, watch me lip-sync to a 90s hit!” It’s exhausting. This is why in-person events can

What about if you are running your own event?

If you're running your own event driving attendance if probably the biggest challenge you will face.

Take a page out of HLTH's playbook to get influencers involved. In 2023, HLTH's affiliate program was a standout for its clarity and precision in communication, ensuring that all participants, from influencers to attendees, knew exactly what to expect and what was expected of them.


Clearly defining influencers' roles and benefits helps align their efforts with your brand goals, making the partnership beneficial for both parties.


Coordinating with influencers can be complex, involving negotiations, contracts, and ongoing communication to ensure alignment. This process can consume significant time and resources, potentially diverting attention from other critical event preparations.

Additionally, there's the risk of misalignment or failure to meet expectations on either side, which could affect the event's overall success.

About the author
Joey Labs

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