Trade shows are all about being noticed, and this can’t happen without staying on top of your game. In a study at the end of 2015, Exhibit Surveys found that 64% of trade show attendees were not existing customers of the trade show exhibitors they visited, and 38% stated that their visit influenced their purchase intent.

Staying abreast of the latest trade show developments is imperative to attracting that curious 38% of the crowd. Efforts should involve researching the most up-to-date trends and technologies and being among the first to present them to the public. Innovative merchandising and brand concepts, after all, are being developed at record speed.

The following are some new and inventive ideas for trade show exhibitors, and tips on how they can get ahead of the game.

Trade Show Exhibitors: What to Keep In Mind

1. Unique Experiences

In this modern age, experiential marketing is by far the most effective means of grabbing a consumer’s attention. A trade show booth is nothing without a memory that attendees can take away. Since typical 10 x 10 booths are a bit limited in space, designers must invoke an innovative spirit to make the most of that 100 square feet.

Creative ideas for experiential booth marketing always involve the attendee. Perhaps you can hire performers or have your marketing team create a game attendees can play. Whatever experience you choose, as long as it involves your branding, you are good to go! It’s important to remember to use your imagination. Experience is all about what you make it.

3. Technologies

Wearable technologies are taking off. Gone are the clipboards and the branded pens. Take for instance, companies like Poken––a cloud-based platform that makes sharing data instant and effortless. It’s an all access pass to trade shows, and trade show exhibitors are falling in love with it.

Boosting marketing and igniting conversation, attendees simply don these wearables around their necks (much like a name tag). Prior to the show, both vendors and consumers fill out a profile. This data is immediately transferred when a person is interested in an individual booth, and they touch devices with the vendor.

Wearable technology has greatly simplified information exchange. Just be careful as to not forcibly swap data. You run the risk of isolating your business if you accidentally connect with uninterested consumers via faulty technology.

3. Booth Design 

The first step to grabbing an attendee’s attention is to personalize the experience. What can your booth offer attendees that can be internalized as a personal takeaway? This should be about fostering a positive and personal connection to your brand.

In some cases, companies have bypassed booth regulations, and have parked trucks outside—guiding attendees to a booth experience that was literally “thinking outside of the box.” Mobile displays are another trend that has been taking off in 2016. Why explain to a consumer your equipment, when you can show them? For some companies, booth design that falls outside the realm of the traditional has been incredibly successful.

Staying One Step Ahead

Staying on top of trade show trends means knowing where to look. If you are waiting for inspiration to pop up on social media, chances are thousands of people are already familiar with the concept. You need to find the trade show exhibitors that attract your attention, and ask them who their exhibit companies are.

One of the deepest repositories for new information regarding the booth design industry are exhibitor award shows. Noting the concepts and methods that designers are winning awards for is the first step in familiarizing yourself with the marketing potential of a booth idea. Exhibitor Magazine holds their 31st annual Exhibit Design Awards this year, and if you are looking to what is trending for booth design, you will want to be there.

Trade show exhibitors will definitely think up a host of new ideas by the time this article is published. Creative ideas are inspired by those who are open to trying anything new.