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Trade show trends


Insights from InfoComm

Our team recently returned from InfoComm, where we helped Legrand create the largest exhibit on the show floor – a commanding 100’ x 120’ exhibit! Virtually tour the space here.

InfoComm is the largest audiovisual and integrated experience event, and we’re here to share our top brand experience takeaways that can be applied to almost any event.


Differentiation was hard to find at InfoComm. We saw lots and lots of monitors, but not a lot of content that told the story of why one monitor was superior to another. We often see this happen at trade shows, and it’s unfortunate because many products have a very compelling story that should be shared.

If you’re exhibiting at a show where you have a similar product to others, it’s crucial to tell your differentiation story in a compelling way. There are many ways to differentiate not just with messages but unique architectural structures, varying material, and clear branding with strategic graphics. A unique differentiator was a microphone company that had a talented live musician performing on the show floor. This was an excellent way to differentiate and show how their products work while also engaging and entertaining the audience.

Thought Leadership

The AV world does thought leadership well. We saw many companies leveraging their content and sharing it in large group presentation formats.  It was common to see groups of 10+ people walking the show floor going on “booth tours” where they were all from the same company in their matching polos listening to presentations. Then, they would all walk together to the next booth and hear another presentation. Other industries should absolutely do this! It’s such a great way to introduce yourself to other products, familiarize yourself with options, and grow together as a team.

Many companies had stages and mini-theaters set-up with microphones to host these “booth tours.” This is a great way to gather attention and position yourself as a leader in your industry. Whether you have engineers, scientists, food influencers, or other individuals who can command the attention it’s a strategy that works across industries. People go to shows to learn something new; if they learn from you, they might give you their contact information and ultimately their business.

Cultural Relevance

Another great insight from InfoComm is the idea of e-sports. One exhibitor we saw had an engagement area where they demonstrated their products through an e-sports area. They had two to three people playing a video game and one person announcing. There was always a crowd around watching and engaging. It was a culturally relevant way to showcase their products and capture attention. What made this successful is that the engagement was live, real-time, and interacted with the people right in front of them.

Whether you’re planning to exhibit at InfoComm 2020 or want to infuse your next brand experience with differentiation, thought leadership, or culturally relevant integrations, I’d love to talk to you!


Natural Products Expo West


Natural Products Expo West

Last week we sent our natural and organic foodie clients off to Natural Products Expo West – a show with more than 80,000 attendees all focused on healthy products and innovation. They arrived on-site with more than four nParallel semi-trucks and exhibited 3,200-square-feet. These powerhouse companies showcased their products with innovative recyclable material and greenery like moss and live plants.

Our clients drove foot traffic and sales for their brands and were thrilled with the creative execution that our team delivered upon to make their exhibits stand out on the show floor.

We’re proud to work with these trend-setting and pioneering companies!


How Exhibit Dollars Were Spent in 2017 & the 2018 Forecast


How Exhibit Dollars Were Spent in 2017 & the 2018 Forecast

2018 is here, and everyone in the trade show industry is in full swing with their focus on upcoming shows. 2017 is long gone from the trade show world, and it’s truly a thing of the past. 

Today, our emphasis is on helping clients strategize around how they can differentiate on the show floor, be more memorable with their on-site presence, and further help our clients engage at trade shows.  

Before we completely forget about 2017, we received a fantastic report from the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, also known as CEIR, called 2017 How the Exhibit Dollar is Spent. When reading through, we found some really interesting nuggets about how exhibitors allocated their resources in 2017. The study also outlined a few predictions for 2018 that we think you’ll find interesting. 

Takeaways from 2017

Roughly $25 billion was spent on exhibiting in 2017! Here’s how it breaks down: 


  • Exhibit space: 37.9% 

  • Show services: 12.9% 

  • Exhibit design & fabrication (including graphics): 11.4% 

  • Travel and entertainment: 10.9% 

  • Shipping & transportation of exhibit materials: 8.9% 

  • On-site promotional materials: 5.2% 

  • Off show floor promotional expenses: 3.9% 

  • On-site sponsorship/advertising: 2.9% 

  • Lead management & measurement: 2.7% 

  • Pre-show promotions: 1.7% 

  • Exhibit staff training: 0.7% 

  • Other: 1.0% 

Exhibitors with larger booths allocated more of their resources to the design of their space as well as shipping fees.  

When looking at companies with smaller budgets, they spent slightly more on giveaways, lead management equipment, and services. 

Look-Aheads for 2018

60% of exhibitors plan to either refurbish their current booth, purchase a new one, or rent an exhibit. 

We find this point really interesting: Larger companies plan to refurbish their booths, where slightly more mid-range companies plan to invest in a completely new exhibit. 

As it relates to industry specifics, almost two-thirds of medical and health care companies that exhibit plan to use the same booth as 2017. When looking at communication and IT companies that are exhibiting in 2018, more plan to use their same booth yet have a higher intent to rent. The industrial/heavy machinery and finished business inputs industries also have more plans to rent exhibits. 

The trends from the report showcased that companies with more square footage on the show floor plan to rent an exhibit vs. those who use a smaller footprint on the show floor. 

All of this to say, the trade show industry is not slowing down, it’s continuing to grow.  

Reach out if you want to chat with our team about 2018, we’re all ears and ready to help you strategize your program.