Where Video Meets Your Trade Show Strategy

If you’re planning on attending a trade show this year, chances are, the goal is to generate leads, connect with buyers, and let more people know what your brand is all about.

Your event ROI depends on your ability to capture attention and inspire the audience, right there in the booth. As such, you need to start thinking about using video to show prospects why they should care about your brand and ultimately become a customer.

Does your current trade show strategy include video? If not, you’re missing one of the best tools for relationship building and communicating value.

While event planning can get complicated and expensive, adding video to the mix provides a range of benefits—including a boost to your ROI.

Below, we’ll look at some areas where video can enhance your strategy:

Free Download: Best Practices for In-Booth Explainer Videos

Before We Get Started: Let’s Talk About Goals

What is your driving purpose here? Why are you attending this event in the first place?

The answer to this question should help you figure out how video connects to your other marketing efforts.

For instance, if you’re trying to get attendees to understand how a complicated product or service works, you might want to make a video that highlights customers using that product in their “natural habitat.”

Which, of course, helps people unfamiliar with your brand envision themselves using that particular tool.

Another idea is approaching this as a how-to type of video. Break down concepts into simple steps and make it fun.

Perhaps you are selling a service. Incorporating customer testimonials lends your organization credibility. Or, maybe the primary goal is to attract as many people as possible to the booth.

In any case, all efforts from pre-show social posts to in-booth demos should be linked back to that one goal.

Before the Show

Is someone from your company speaking at the event? Are you collaborating with other industry professionals? Build up the excitement by making a video announcement. Whatever it is, you’ll want to work video into your website content and social media plan to help drum up excitement ahead of the show.

Here are a few ideas:

Go Behind the Scenes

Whether you’re showing footage of your team setting up for the big event or you’re hinting at a launch, a behind the scenes video is a great way to build some buzz on social media ahead of the event.

Product Launch Announcement

Use video to make an announcement about a new product or line. The idea here is to tease the launch, so you don’t want to provide too many details, just enough to get them excited about the possibilities.

Here’s an example Square used a couple years back. It gives viewers enough of a sense of what the card reader does, but doesn’t give everything away.

Highlight Speakers

There are a couple of things you can do here. The first is getting speakers to record a video that teases what they’ll be discussing at the event.

Your other option is to make like Microsoft and feature last year’s content alongside this year’s speaker bios. This method allows you to repurpose content from last year’s appearance, while still offering potential attendees a taste of what’s in store.

At the Trade Show

We should mention this before diving into this idea of “trade show video.”

Video is a useful tool before, during, and after the show, but the video content you use on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter won’t look the same as what you show to people at the actual event.

Again, we’re back to thinking about your goals.

At the trade show, you want your video to help you tell your brand story—it’s not enough to play any video and assume that it’s exciting or even relevant to your display.

In reality, trade show video is its own type of content and needs to be treated as such.

Aesthetically speaking, video content should look similar to the pieces you use on social media, but you’ll need to approach this a bit differently to suit the purpose of the trade show.

Your video should function as a pitch, without getting too sales-y. Use images, storytelling, and statistics to show where you add value and why people should care about your business.

  • You want people to walk away with an understanding of what problem your solution solves
  • How that problem impacts visitors’ lives
  • How your solution will make their lives easier/better

There are a few ways you can approach the in-booth video, though methods are divided into two clear camps: content produced on the scene and content produced in advance. Here are a few examples of both types:

Video as a Backdrop

This booth we did for American Financial included multiple screens, including a video that played on loop in the background. While the booth included multiple focal points, this is a good example of how you can use a video that captures attention without taking away from the other elements in the booth.


Consider live-streaming your events to generate a sense of FOMO among those who couldn’t attend. If you’re giving a talk in the booth or on the main stage, why not go live? According to a study from Digitell, about 30% of people who watch live stream events will attend that event the following year.

Incorporate an Interactive Library

Another example from the Echelon portfolio is a project we did with Rotometrics. Our digital team created an interactive library that attendees could access via touchscreen displays. Customers could watch the content at their own pace

Explainer Videos and Demos

During the event, you’re in this rare situation. You’ve got buyers, vendors, and staff all together in the same place, along with a million other exhibitors competing for the same traffic.

Product demonstrations can enhance your presence at the show — a quick introduction to your brand, product, or service. The goal is to show, not tell.

But, also, maybe don’t show so much that visitors end up watching a feature-length film inside the booth. We recommend keeping any explainers or training videos under 10 minutes, preferably around five.

This gives you enough time to demonstrate value beyond a couple of bullet points while keeping the content short enough that attention spans don’t run out of steam before it’s over.

After the Show–How Video Keeps on Giving

You’ve spent a lot of time marketing to your audience before and during the event. But the work is far from done after you’ve packed up your boxes and gone home.

Leveraging video as part of your follow-up strategy not only gives you more mileage out of your show content, it also benefits sales teams by helping your brand maintain visibility among new prospects. Click To Tweet

A couple of ways to use video content after the event:

Repurpose Content for Later Use

And finally, you can repackage snippets from the show that reinforce your value proposition. Use videos as a way to connect with new contacts from the show in a way that’s a little more compelling than sending a follow-up email. Or, post sessions on social media.

In this example plucked from the SXSW Twitter feed, you’ll see that they’ve chopped up their speaker sessions into video content they can use after the event.

Compile a Highlight Reel

This example from Accenture is a video compilation of everything that happened on Day One of SXSW. This is a great example of how brands can use video to attract more people to their exhibit–whether that’s getting more traffic on Day Two or using the footage in a post-show social media strategy.

Record Interviews at the Show

Another idea is to interview attendees at the booth—capture testimonials and takeaways that help strengthen your brand—while also letting your customers do the talking. This technique will allow you to outsource part of the content creation process while driving an online conversation you can build on after the show is over.

Wrapping Up

No matter where video fits in with your trade show marketing strategy, you need to be sure that it helps viewers understand the story behind the brand.

That said, it takes some practice to get this whole video thing down. If you’re not super comfortable standing behind the camera, or want to take things beyond your iPhone’s capabilities, it might be time to bring in the pros.

To see our video chops in action, check out our 12 For 12 Series. It’s an original docu-series that goes behind the scenes with some of today’s coolest brands to uncover what makes them so compelling.

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