The rule of seven is one of the founding concepts of marketing. The principle states that a recipient needs to hear or see a message at least seven times before it really sinks in and drives them to take an action.

Out of Home advertising takes the rule’s core purpose to heart. It’s an advertising format designed to reach people in multiple and organic ways throughout their day. Similarly, trade shows are spaces where it’s important to deliver multiple messages to audiences who are willing recipients to messaging. Digital marketing tactics work with Out of Home to offer effective delivery of the desired seven messages in dynamic and customized ways.

When we think about trade show marketing, we focus on a specific type of engagement that reaches a captive audience. I previously discussed the multitude of ways to optimize your trade show presence with Out of Home and Experiential marketing. This post focuses on realizing successful trade show marketing by overlaying digital strategies that enhance media and create messaging repetition. Key messaging can be distributed through multiple channels at the same time. Or, a better alternative is to create three touchpoint times: pre-, during, and post-event. A properly integrated media plan will maximize the physical media assets while interacting with people on a digital level during these times.


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The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The lead up to an event can often be the most exciting part. You have the chance to bring people together and generate buzz and excitement for the event. It’s also when the seven opportunities to reach your audience actually begins. Marketers often forget this important point in the life-cycle of a trade show. When ignored, it leaves to chance that people will organically discover a brand, booth, event, or experience once they arrive.

Here are some tactics that will allow you to take advantage and build recognition early, get your name in front of attendees and spread the word:

  • Email Campaign: Inform your target audience about important information and event details, like your booth location, and familiarize them with your brand.
  • Preregistrations: Allow attendees to preregister for games, raffles, and other experiences to build buzz and acquire potential lead information.
  • Invitations and RSVPs: Sending digital invitations can be an important touchpoint for gaining key demographic information from attendees.
  • Geofencing: Serve brand and product messaging to attendees before the event to drive awareness and impressions.


Strike While the Iron is Hot

During the event is the most critical point for serving up messaging because it holds the largest opportunity for advertisers. More and more, research shows that audiences connect brands with positive experiences. According to a survey, 72% of consumers say they positively view brands that provide great experiences (EventTrack, 2016).

There is no better time for this than reaching potential buyers and influencers at a trade show. You can showcase a brand and interact with an audience that have self-identified as your target audience. With this unique opportunity to deliver brand message, give them an experience they won’t soon forget. Consider the following:

  • Social Media: Given that nearly every attendee is armed with a social media connected device, capitalize on these potential brand ambassadors to share your content utilizing hashtags, photobooth/green screen, video of the exhibit booth, etc.
  • Data Capture: A trade show presence means nothing if you can’t prove its ROI. Use street teams with iPads to engage attendees and capture demographic and other information.
  • Raffles and Giveaways: Create digital game experiences that make people want to participate with your brand. Besides, everyone loves freebies!
  • IEET (Integrated Experiential Exhibit Technology): Enhance the attendee experience on the trade show floor and in your booth with VR/AR technology that transports them to another world. (What is IEET?)


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The End is Just the Beginning

Don’t let your competitor have the last word. Continue to check-in with your audience after the show to keep the conversation going. Remind them how great their experience was at the event. Provide shareable content they can send to someone who couldn’t enjoy the experience in real-time.

It’s also important to use the attendee data and information collected during the event to drive awareness and continue the buzz around your brand. This can include anything from sign-ups to how many hot dogs were given out!

  • Shareable Content: Create slideshows and sizzle reels from content you captured during the event.
  • Proof of Performance: Create a POP or case study from your event performance, including ROI and impression data.
  • Follow-Up: Continue your relationship with attendees who provided email addresses or otherwise engaged. Give updates on Experiential activations or fulfill on raffle/contest winnings.
  • Promote Extended Engagement: Provide links to webinars, future events, relevant products, and opportunities to further engage with your brand.


Typical trade show marketing solutions target attendees before the event as the attendees arrive, during the event with creative activations, and after the event as they head home. Digital outreach will enable the rule of seven, which expands the window for and type of engagement. This gives attendees a deeper understanding of a brand and makes the messaging and call-to-action more effective.

Strategic integration of digital methods allows trade show marketers to employ the best messaging and platform methods for reaching an audience. Show your marketing professor that you were paying attention!


Get in touch with us to hear more about the digital tactics discussed above. We’ll help you determine which ones are right for your business!