Thought leadership for video marketing

Maximize Your Trade Show Presence With the Right Video

May 1, 2023 6:05 am Published by

Trade shows are fun, educational events with a long and proud heritage. The first one was held in London in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. That first show featured a wide variety of products from around the world. Everything from shoes to furniture was showcased. But things have gotten more funneled since then. Today, people come together and exhibit their latest and greatest products at trade shows dedicated to their particular industry. Frequently, the audience is both B2C and B2B. Take the Miami Boat Show, for instance. A consumer can look at and climb aboard any number of watercraft, from pontoon boats to a seven-figure yacht. Simultaneously, a propeller manufacturer can set up a booth and generate potential customer relationships with boat manufacturers. There are, of course, trade shows that attract more of a B2B audience than a B2C crowd–the World of Concrete in Las Vegas comes to mind, for example. But no matter who your audience is, trade shows are a place where people want to see and learn about the latest and greatest innovations in their industry. They offer fabulous business opportunities if you’ve got the right sales tools, and that includes a well thought out video that aligns with your strategy for the show.


According to the 2022 Display Wizard Trade Show Report, 64% of exhibitors said they intend to increase exhibiting at trade shows. That’s an exciting but increasingly crowded world! If you’ve ever walked down the midway of a county fair, you get the gist of what walking down a trade show floor is like. No, there aren’t quite people yelling at you like some carnival barker, but everybody wants your attention. Everybody wants you to stop and linger in their exhibit space. Everybody wants you to interface with a sales representative. And everybody wants you to watch their videos. Sometimes several videos within the same booth space. 

These videos should be produced with the environment of the trade show in mind and frequently aren’t. I’ve been to auto shows where manufacturers are showing exciting B-roll of their latest car model streaking across the Bonneville Salt Flats, or an SUV climbing up some mountain road. But any cool music or well crafted narration was lost because of the noise from the trade show floor. Similarly, I’ve been to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY, and watched videos about everything from seeding machines to farm combines. But again, there were lost sales opportunities. The trade show floor noise was loud and it drowned out the audio levels in the exhibit areas. Plus, there weren’t even supporting graphics to reinforce how this seeding machine could give farmers a better yield, or how that 24 row corn head combine is more time efficient. 

So with these experiences mind, here are some tips when considering the production of your next trade show video:

  • Take the noise factor into consideration and be able to tell your story visually through footage and supporting graphics. Or…
  • Have wireless headsets available where people can fully hear and appreciate your valuable story. Or…
  • Some exhibitors have a dedicated viewing area for videos as opposed to just wall screens. The smart exhibitors offer tables and chairs where the weary wandering floor walker can sit. The advantage here is that in a dedicated area, you can better control your environment and especially volume.
  • Be visually exciting with your footage. A headshot of someone giving a customer testimonial probably isn’t going to be very compelling or convincing. Not in this environment anyway.
  • Keep it short. In an enclosed or somewhat controlled video environment, two to three minutes. For screens outside of your booth area, these should be written and produced more like television commercials, 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Don’t have too many screens giving too many messages. Decide upon the two or three core messages you want to communicate. Like, “Leadership”, “Our Latest Innovation,” and “Our Promise To You.” Or, they could all be about three new models. But keep the messages simple. 


Ideas here could include generating buzz about your booth and video before the show even happens. This could be Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram posts as well as personable textable videos to fuel interest. Then, once the show is underway, there are a number of tactics you can employ to generate interest to cause attendees to pause and engage. One tactic is to offer complimentary beverages. Another is to offer a free giveaway. Still another is setting up charging areas for phones and computers. And even if you don’t set up a separate video viewing area, having tables and chairs is very inviting to the visitor. If possible, try to make parts of your exhibit interactive. Speaking of which, have you ever considered an interactive or touch screen video? A very compelling idea. It doesn’t even have to be a touch screen to be interactive. For example, imagine you’re walking by a booth with graphics on a screen that reads: “Welcome to XYZ’s booth.” Next graphic: “Get some free coffee.” Next graphic: “Learn about our new product, Zoomie, in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6”–and so on. Speaking directly to the viewer in their environment then giving them a simple countdown builds anticipation and keeps their attention.


The Center for Exposition Industry Research says that 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. So, right from the opening shot, let the viewer know that what they’re about to see is special. Whether it’s the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, a tropical rainforest, or a multiple screen shot with dozens of smiling mouths; whatever can dramatically and visually bring your story to life. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you know that we preach telling stories. We believe in videos that have a definitive beginning, middle and end. Even with the noise of the trade show and even if it’s done with stock photography and graphics, you can still tell compelling three-act stories. Although shooting your own footage, incorporating high production values and using professional talent is always preferable. Companies often spend hundreds-of-thousands of dollars on their trade show exhibits and the videos shown in those exhibits should be a respectable percentage of that cost. All too often companies underspend on their videos, which is something akin to building a designer home, then putting cardboard furniture in it. Videos should be a star attraction in your exhibit area. They’re nearly as important as the product itself.


If you get nothing else out of this blog, please get this: people expect to learn and be impressed at trade shows. Meaning, plan your strategy and initiatives for the video well in advance of the show. I’ve worked on national television commercials that were planned out for nine months before a single frame was even shot. Maybe that’s understandable since the commercial was going to air on major networks but, consider this: You only get one chance to make a great first impression and that happens on the trade show floor. 46% of the attendees will only go to one trade show a year, so decide strategically what you want to accomplish. If the video is going to debut at the trade show, what other incarnations of the video should there be? Should there be different lengths? Are parts of the video going to be used on Facebook? Instagram? LinkedIn? Your homepage? You should even plan how you’re going to feature your team and exhibit area during the trade show. Is shooting impromptu cell phone footage for the company’s Facebook really going to help you? Think through what you want to do and why. Maybe it shouldn’t be a cell phone video. Maybe a series of stills are better. Maybe a simple soundbite of someone trying a product and going “Oh, wow!” or “This is pretty cool” is all you need.


Hybrid Moon is a video ad agency that’s written and produced trade show videos for decades. We do pre-show planning and help clients develop strategy. We write and shoot for numerous industries. We take into consideration both the trade show environment and the video’s after use. We can shoot your booth during the trade show and film assets, like testimonials, for social media and other uses. Perhaps most important, we know how company videos are evolving. Today’s successful videos tell stories about making their customer’s lives better. They’re using concepts not unlike national commercials. They’re plugging into our emotions. They’re creating a bond between the brand and viewer. For reinforcement of this, please take a look at a video we produced during the recent ISC West trade show in Las Vegas, the nation’s largest trade show for the security industry.

Give us a call. We’re positive we can help take your next trade show video to new heights.