Trade Show Trends and a Checklist for 2024

The Trade Show & Events industry landscape this year will be characterized by a fusion of technology, sustainability, and personalization

Author: Lori Michaud


In-person events such as trade shows are an incredible way to gain new clients and customers, as well as network with others and promote your brand.
The Graphic Group inc. partners with their clients to prepare a trade show plan, deciding on the right sales and marketing collateral to bring and provide all services. In this article, I discuss how to prepare print materials for a trade show, and what types of print collateral you should bring with you to your events.
Prepare your Print Ahead of Time
“Plan your work and work your plan” is a common euphemism for a reason, and trade shows adhere to the same principle. You should develop your trade show budget early on, which should include your booth space, your exhibit, banner displays, and sales and marketing collateral.
Print collateral at a trade show is mandatory, as you need something tangible that your potential clients can bring back to the office with them. Planning your print order ahead of time can go a long way, and giving your printing company advanced notice will save you money on your order. Additionally, you will want to review and proof your printed display materials and other literature a month before the actual event to ensure there are no issues and that your print material is exactly what you ordered.

Deciding on Which Material to Use
Deciding which print material to bring to a trade show should be among your top priorities in conjunction with your budget. At a bare minimum, you will bring plenty of business cards, a banner for your booth, and printed sales brochures to your trade show. Additionally, having printed table talkers can add catchy visuals and messages to otherwise flat, blank surfaces. Moreover, table talkers are an excellent way to start a conversation and if designed correctly can supplement your banner adding to the visual appeal of your trade show booth.

A few other print materials to consider are:

Retractable, signage & back drops: Retractable banners are an easy and versatile way to display a message at an event. They are ideal for trade shows and other events because they are easily portable and can help make your booth stand out from the rest. Your trade show banner design is critical in determining whether trade show attendees walk into your booth. The trade show banner serves three main purposes: attention-grabbing, brand awareness, and brand representation.
Branded Notepads: Not only are branded notepads practical for a trade show event, but they also allow your company to stay “top of mind” as they are likely to end up on your potential customer’s desk.
Promotional Items: Offering free, branded gifts to trade show booth visitors is a given in today’s day and age. By designing and printing customized promotional items, you can continue to promote your brand long after the trade show has ended.
Posters and Foam Boards: There are numerous benefits to custom foam board printing for trade shows. The signs are cost effective, lightweight, and easy to set up and take down.
Branded Clothing: When you are packing for a tradeshow, do not forget to include a few key pieces of custom business branded workwear in your wardrobe. Wearing branded clothing lets you advertise without saying a word. You will not only be marketing without any effort, but you will also be showing your pride in your business.
Flyers and Brochures: To engage with more visitors, companies can attract more people with enticing booth displays, brochures, flyers, and prize giveaways. The booth should be large if your budget permits, visible from far away and attractive to the eye displaying professional images and projects of the company.

Bags and Custom Totes: Choose trade show tote bags, messenger bags, or backpacks. Custom bags are a trade show necessity for carrying trade show materials.
Lead Cards: Lead cards are a phenomenal way to capture information from your visitors and offer your sales team a warm lead when you arrive back at the office.
Business Cards and Name tags: Easy networking. Business cards make it easy to exchange contact information during quick encounters on a busy trade show floor. They are convenient and quick to hand out.
Business Postcards: By sending out postcards ahead of the trade show with details of the event, including how to find you there, you will already have a warm meeting set up. It is also beneficial to add a call to action on your preliminary postcard to drive booth visits. This can be as simple as “bring/mention this card to booth #XXX and register. to win [a great gift item]!”

Make Sure your Display and Print Material Pops
No matter what type of printed sales material that you bring with you, it needs to serve its main purposes of catching the eye of trade show attendees, engaging, and drawing individuals into your sphere of influence. Digitally printed material that highlights your brand in a unified and creative way will ensure that your trade show is a success.
Find a Trusted Printing Partner
Having a trusted printing partner with turnkey printing capabilities can allow planning for and attending a trade show much easier. Having a printing company that understands your business needs can make procuring your trade show banners, displays, and giveaways much less of a headache. Additionally, having a printer who understands the fundamentals of visual merchandising will be able to turn your creativity into a reality and guarantee that your trade show is an unforgettable event that creates a positive first impression on new customers.
The Graphic Group, inc. exists to give their clients the best printing experience possible. We collaborate with our clients and help to create all the print materials for a trade show, or any other occasion, which requires engaging, purposeful, and creative print services. Trade Shows are all about building connections between people and your product or business.

Lori Michaud is the Marketing Manager for the Graphic Group, inc., which has been in business for over 27 years. This organization has provided printing, signage and promotional items to the region’s top businesses, non-profits, arts, museums, educational institutions, real estate, financial and healthcare companies.