Understanding Trade Shows: What is an Exhibitor and Their Role?

An Exhibitor at SSW Show

What is an Exhibitor?

An exhibitor, at its core, is an entity—often a company or organization—that displays its products or services at an exhibition or expo, conference, or trade show. The very nature of the term “exhibitor” indicates an act of showing or displaying, which is exactly what these entities do at such events. The exhibitor typically occupies a designated exhibit space, known as a booth or stand, where they engage with attendees and showcase their offerings. An exhibitor is not just an expository figure at an event; rather, they are active participants that contribute significantly to the dynamic environment of a trade show.

Exhibitors come from a vast array of industries, from tech startups to established brands, each with a unique set of offerings and marketing objectives. The exhibitor role is not restricted by the type or scale of the organization. Whether a company is part of the Fortune 500 or a small business just starting its journey, they can find value in being an exhibitor at a trade show. This fact speaks to the broad applicability of the term ‘exhibitor’ in the realm of event marketing.

What Kind of Trade Show Attracts Exhibitors to Attend?

10 AspectsDetails
Relevant Audiencetarget demographic or market
Industry Relevancerelated industry or products/services
Size and Prestigelarger
Quality Networking Opportunitiesprofessionals
potential customers
Geographical Locationmajor cities
locations that are easily accessible
Value for MoneyROI
Speaker Line-uphigh-profile speakers
industry leaders
Marketing and Promotionpromote through various channels
Past Successattendee turnout
exhibitor satisfaction
generated business opportunities
Good Organizational Structurewell-organized

What are the Benefits of Being an Exhibitor at a Trade Show?

Being an exhibitor at a trade show comes with a plethora of benefits.

Firstly, trade shows provide a concentrated audience of industry professionals, potential customers, and potential investors. Exhibitors have a unique opportunity to connect with this audience on a personal level, making face-to-face connections that are often more powerful than digital marketing strategies.

Another significant benefit is brand exposure. As an exhibitor, your brand logo will be displayed throughout your booth space, and possibly on the event’s landing page, offering opportunities for increased brand recognition. Moreover, showcasing your products or services at a trade show can also serve as an excellent platform for product launches and live demonstrations.

Exhibitors also enjoy the benefit of competitive analysis. By being a part of the trade show floor setup, exhibitors can observe their competitors, learn about their offerings, and gauge their marketing strategies. This can provide invaluable insights that can be used to refine your own business strategies.

What is the Role of an Exhibitor at a Trade Show?

The role of an exhibitor extends beyond merely setting up a booth at a trade show. They play a crucial role in the overall success of the event. Exhibitors serve as a magnet, attracting attendees—ranging from industry professionals to potential customers and investors. They generate a buzz and create a dynamic environment by showcasing their latest offerings, engaging in product demonstrations, and participating in business negotiations.

Exhibitors also have a crucial role in lead generation. By interacting with attendees and showcasing their products or services, exhibitors collect contact information for potential clients, investors, or partners. This can be a crucial part of their marketing strategy, as these leads can be nurtured into fruitful business relationships in the future.

Furthermore, exhibitors serve as a source of industry knowledge. By exhibiting their latest products or services, they provide attendees with insight into the current market trends, technological advancements, and the competitive landscape of their respective industries.

How to Apply to Be an Exhibitor at Trade Shows?

  1. Research Suitable Trade Shows: Find out which trade shows are most relevant to your business. Consider the industry, audience, and geographic location.
  2. Visit the Trade Show’s Website: Trade shows typically have detailed websites that include information about how to apply as an exhibitor. Look for a section titled “Exhibitors,” “Apply,” or “Get Involved.”
  3. Review the Application Requirements: Before applying, ensure you meet the requirements. These might include industry-specific qualifications, fees, and deadlines.
  4. Prepare Your Application: This usually involves filling out a form with details about your business, such as your company name, contact information, and a description of your products or services. You may also need to indicate the size and location of the booth you wish to rent.
  5. Submit Your Application: Follow the website’s instructions to submit your application. This might be done online or via email. Ensure you have a professional email address for correspondence with the event organizers, as this is typically the primary mode of communication. Ensure you provide all requested documentation and pay any necessary fees.
  6. Wait for Approval: The organizer will review your application. This process can take some time, so it’s essential to apply well in advance of the event. If approved, you’ll receive confirmation and additional information about setting up your booth.
  7. Plan Your Exhibit: Once approved, start planning your exhibit. This includes designing your booth, preparing marketing materials, and arranging logistics. Exhibitors should also pay close attention to their booth design, as it plays a crucial role in attracting attendees and making an impact on the trade show floor.

Maximizing Exhibitor Impact: Booth Design and Layout

A 20x20 booth design idea

A crucial element that aids in maximizing the impact of an exhibitor at a trade show is the design and layout of their booth. This is the physical embodiment of the brand and serves as the point of contact with potential customers, partners, or investors. Thus, it’s essential that the booth is designed in a way that is both visually appealing and functional.

The booth should effectively communicate the brand’s message and make a lasting impression on attendees. This can be achieved by incorporating the brand’s logo and colors into the booth design, using engaging visuals and interactive displays, and ensuring that the booth is staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic representatives.

The layout of the booth is equally important. It should be designed to facilitate interaction with attendees, showcasing products or services in a way that is easily accessible. If possible, an exhibitor could also include a comfortable seating area where more detailed discussions or demonstrations can take place.

One should not forget about practical aspects such as storage for promotional materials, lighting, and power supply. It is also advisable for exhibitors to ensure their booth design complies with the guidelines provided by the show management.

Trade Show Etiquettes: Do’s and Don’ts for Exhibitors

To succeed as an exhibitor, it’s critical to follow certain trade show etiquettes. This not only ensures smooth operations but also reflects well on your brand. Let’s explore some key do’s and don’ts for exhibitors.


  • Be prepared: Ensure you have everything you need for the show, from promotional materials to business cards.
  • Be professional: Maintain a professional demeanor at all times, regardless of the situation.
  • Be proactive: Don’t just wait for attendees to approach your booth. Engage with them and start conversations.
  • Be knowledgeable: Make sure you and your team know your products or services inside and out.


  • Don’t be late: Arriving late or leaving early can make a bad impression.
  • Don’t eat at the booth: It’s unprofessional and can deter attendees from approaching your booth.
  • Don’t leave the booth unattended: You might miss out on potential leads.
  • Don’t forget to follow-up: After the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you made.

Achieving Exhibitor Goals: Lead Generation and Sales Tips

Exhibitors participate in trade shows with the primary goal of generating leads and boosting sales. Here are some tips to help exhibitors achieve these goals:

  1. Create a pre-show buzz: Use your company’s social media channels, blog, or email newsletters to let your audience know you’ll be exhibiting at the trade show. This can increase the number of attendees who visit your booth.
  2. Attract visitors to your booth: Make your booth visually appealing and engaging. You could use interactive displays, contests, or giveaways to attract more visitors.
  3. Engage with attendees: Be proactive in starting conversations with attendees. Ask about their needs and show them how your products or services can solve their problems.
  4. Collect contact information: Use lead capture tools to collect the contact information of potential leads. You could use a simple sign-up sheet or a digital lead capture system.
  5. Follow up after the show: The trade show isn’t the end of your marketing efforts. It’s essential to follow up with your leads after returning home from the trade show. Send them an email thanking them for visiting your booth and offering further information about your products or services.

By following these tips and understanding the role and benefits of being an exhibitor, companies can seize the day at trade shows, making the most of the opportunities these events offer. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a first-time exhibitor, trade shows can be a powerful tool in your marketing strategy.


Being an exhibitor at a trade show is a powerful strategy to expand a company’s reach, increase brand visibility, generate leads, and boost sales. Understanding the role of an exhibitor, the benefits of exhibiting, and the best practices for maximizing your impact and achieving your goals are key to your success at trade shows. From the booth design and layout to observing the proper trade show etiquette and effective lead generation techniques, every aspect is critical.

Getting Started With Aplusexpo

If you’re looking for a reliable partner to help you navigate the ins and outs of trade show exhibiting, Aplusexpo is a company worth considering. As an exhibition construction service company, Aplusexpo offers a comprehensive range of services that include design, installation, storage, and transportation.

With Aplusexpo, you can expect top-notch booth designs that reflect your brand identity and attract potential clients. Their team of professionals understands the nuances of creating an effective exhibit space and can handle every aspect of your trade show presence.

Whether you’re a first-time exhibitor or a seasoned veteran, Aplusexpo can help you seize the day and make the most out of your trade show experiences. Choose Aplusexpo and step into the world of trade shows with confidence and peace of mind.

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