Partner with other exhibitors to get more bang for your trade show buckBy Robyn Davis, Trade Show Strategy Specialist

If you’re like most exhibitors, you’re constantly looking for new opportunities to get more “bang for your buck” at trade shows. In this article, I’ll introduce an idea that most exhibitors overlook: partnering.

Basically, the way it works is that, after identifying other exhibitors that serve the same event-specific audience as you do (but that don’t compete with you), you’d team up with them to promote each other before, during and after your trade show.

In doing so, you amplify your exhibiting efforts (their reach is now also your reach) and you position yourself as a more valuable resource within your industry (connecting your audience to additional, relevant offerings – essentially becoming a “one stop shop” without having to expand your product line).

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Choose the right partner(s)

    Above and beyond assessing a potential partner’s fit, professionally and personally, you need to confirm that your work together will be balanced. This doesn’t mean that you have to match dollar-for-dollar, hour-for-hour, or contact-for-contact; instead, you must set up a true collaboration, where both parties work and both parties benefit.

  2. Start the brainstorming process early

    Working together during your trade show (e.g. trading relevant introductions in the exhibit hall or co-hosting a special reception after hours) is a great place to start; however, just like in your individual exhibiting efforts, what you do before and after your trade show can make an even greater impact. To ensure you have enough time to incorporate your best (joint) ideas, you must come up with them well in advance of your trade show.

  3. Thoroughly train both teams

    At trade shows, your team dictates your reputation and results. When you collaborate with other exhibitors, their teams also impact your reputation and results. In order to ensure that each team can do their best work, you must train them thoroughly – making special note of your partnership and answering any questions your contacts may ask about it.

In summary, partnering can create a win-win-win situation for exhibitors like you. Try out the tips above at your next trade show and, for even more advice, join me at ExhibitorLIVE for my peer-to-peer roundtable session on this topic.

While in Las Vegas, Visit ExhibitorLIVE

AEM members are once again eligible for discounted ExhibitorLIVE conference sessions as well as free admission to the ExhibitorLIVE exhibit hall.

For free admission to the exhibit hall, AEM members should go to and select Exhibit Hall Pass from the menu bar on the left.  Click to register and enter promotional code: 9600V

To register for ExhibitorLIVE conference sessions, go to to receive a 25 percent discount.

For more information, contact AEM’s Mary Bukovic (, tel: 414-298-4173).