I once worked for a business that participated in more than 200 trade shows a year. The company was a B2C (Business to Consumer), and at the time the trade show division accounted for nearly one-third of their annual revenue. However, looking back we could have done more … a lot more if we’d expanded our thinking beyond trade shows. We were missing out. We should have been concentrating on event marketing not only trade shows.

Are You Missing Out?

If, like the company I worked for, you have trade show displays, trained show personnel, and systems but you’re only taking your team to trade shows then yes, you’re missing out. Event marketing should include more than trade shows. Here are a few of the events that you’re missing.

Sporting Events

Whether it’s auto racing, professional football, or the local little league championship game, there are event marketing opportunities available. Set up a booth, give away promotional products, conduct a drawing, and gather leads.

I volunteered for a 5K a couple of years ago. As part of the staff I handed out T-shirts and gifts to participants. Next to me was a sporting goods retailer handing out bottled water while signing runners up for a monthly newsletter.


Many concert venues offer the opportunity to set up a booth and market your product. This is especially effective if the acts draw a demographic that fits your target audience.


State fairs, county fairs, and 4-H fairs all make wonderful places to promote your business or not for profit organization.


A friend and I perform at several cars shows every summer. We set up a small PA, play some music from the 50’s and 60’s, MC, and allow the sponsor vendors to use our sound system to make announcements and advertise their wares. It’s a lot of fun and the vendors keep coming back.


There are dozens of charitable events that could fit your organization from golf outings to food drives, and more. Why not set a booth, promote your business, and give back to the charity? It’s a win-win.

Events are More Than Trade Shows

If your organization participates in trade shows but not other events, it might be time to expand your thinking. What event marketing opportunities are you missing? Look at the five event examples listed above. What would best fit your culture? Is it time to think past the trade show?

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