How to successfully demo a product at your next trade show

92% of trade show attendees visit trade shows to discover what’s new in products and services. That means 92/100 attendees passing by your booth are potential candidates for your product demonstration, so long as your product is of interest and your demonstration is compelling.

A product demonstration is where you teach interested prospects how your product or service works. It allows you to introduce your product, explain its features and capabilities, and show potential customers how it could enhance their lives.

A good product demo will grab your target audience’s attention. It will help you build brand awareness by introducing prospects to your company and getting them excited about your offer. If you’re successful, you will convert many prospects into leads and many leads into customers.

On the other hand, a bad product demo is a waste of time, resources, and training. It can leave a bad taste in your customers’ mouths and dampen their excitement about your brand.

Luckily, there are many ways to create a unique and compelling product demonstration that clearly showcases your product’s value and convinces your audience to buy. Keep reading to explore these tactics in detail.

How to create a unique and compelling product demonstration

Tailor your demo to your specific trade show audience

You shouldn’t be presenting the exact same product demonstration at every show. If you don’t tailor your product demo to your specific trade show audience, it can come across as lazy, uninspiring, or simply unrelatable.

You’ll have the most trade show success if you match the style, tone, and content of your presentation to your target audience and what you know about them (demographics and psychographics).

Focus on the benefits your specific audience cares about

Additionally, you don’t want to focus on your company or the features of your product. Your product demo should focus on your customer and the benefits they’ll reap from your product.

Say your home appliance company offers a toaster oven that fully heats up in 60 seconds. The 60 seconds it takes to heat up is a feature, but the 2-3 minutes of time your audience will save reheating meals or cooking dinner is the benefit.

Your product likely offers many different benefits that appeal to different segments of your target market. Determine which this specific trade show audience cares about and focus on those.

Address your audience’s pain points

An easy way to ensure you focus on the right product benefits is to home in on your audience’s pain points. Then address how your product or service can address these pain points and enhance their lives.

According to Wordstream.com, a pain point is “a specific problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing.”

A few common types of pain points include:

Discovering your target audience’s pain points

There are many ways to discover your audience’s pain points. You can conduct surveys. You can speak to your customer service and sales teams to gain insight from the people who communicate with leads and customers every day. You can perform user testing or read reviews to find flaws in your product. You can also browse forums like Reddit and Quora to discover the issues people are facing.

Keep in mind that your audience may not even be aware of the issue they’re facing. In this case, you have two jobs to do:

  1. Convince them that they have a problem
  2. Convince them that your product or service will solve that problem, thereby saving them time, money, and/or frustration

Tell a captivating story

Simply showcasing your product’s benefits is not enough. Your product demonstration has to inspire your prospects to take action. One way to do this is to turn your product demo into a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Human beings are naturally drawn to stories, as stories allow them to insert themselves into the role of the protagonist, or hero. Stories enable people to imagine themselves overcoming the obstacles in order to reach their goal.

Of course, your product demonstration should show that your product is pivotal in helping the hero—your customer—overcome their pain points. Your story should clearly show how your prospect’s life would change for the better upon becoming your customer.

Consider using actual facts, figures, and case studies to supplement your story and provide some concrete evidence that your product directly contributed to the hero achieving his or her desired outcome.

Design your trade show booth with your demo space in mind

Your product demonstration is a vital piece of your trade show marketing strategy. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, strategically incorporate your demo space into the original design of your booth.

Here are a few tips for creating a trade show display and demo space that draws an audience and compels prospects to convert to leads:

Working with a custom trade show exhibit company

Strategically incorporating space, graphics, technology, architectural elements, and design elements into your booth is easier said than done. There are many benefits to hiring a custom trade show exhibit design company to build upon your initial concept and bring your idea to life.

A custom exhibit company knows how to customize every aspect of your booth to draw attention, accurately represent your brand, and connect with your target audience. They know how to best show off your products and services. They also know how to create a product demonstration station that connects with prospects and convert leads.

We took all of these design elements and goals into consideration when our team at BTWN Exhibits created this product demonstration space for home appliance company Coway:

Trade show product demonstration area for kitchen appliance company Coway.

Coway sought to showcase a range of their products at the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, Illinois. We created a sleek and warm exhibit, filled with product demos in a real-life context, to encourage trade show attendees to enter, explore, and linger.

The fresh fruit bar we created provided an eye-catching space for Coway representatives to perform live demonstrations of their Juicepresso blender. Trade show attendees had plenty of space to gather round and see the blender’s features and benefits in action.

Visit our “Custom Trade Show Display Showcase” to see more examples of our work.

Invest time in training your staff

Choose your trade show presenter wisely, as your product demonstration can make or break the success of your trade show appearance.

Your trade show presenter should be charismatic and articulate and exude a genuine enthusiasm for your product. He or she should be well-versed in your products and have the knowledge required to guide your prospects to the right product for their unique needs. Your presenter should also be well-groomed, clearly identifiable as a member of your staff, and be innately comfortable conversing with strangers and putting them at ease.

Practice your demo in front of a mock audience

Make sure your company representatives run through your product demonstration multiple times prior to the trade show.

Have other staff on hand to observe and determine whether:

Have the observers ask questions as if they were members of the audience so your presenters will be prepared to interact with real-life audience members and know how to adequately address their prospects’ questions and concerns.

How to advertise your product demo ahead of the show

There are many ways to market your product demonstration to trade show attendees before the show. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Mail out postcards

Mail out postcards to current customers, leads, prospects, previous show attendees, and individuals who are already listed as attendees for the upcoming show (if you’re able to get your hands on the list).

Include the following:

Launch an email campaign

Gear up a series of emails to announce your trade show attendance, your upcoming product demonstration, and the benefits of attending. Use what you know about your audience (job title, demographics, interests, behaviors, relationship to your business, etc.) to segment your lists and personalize your emails.

Promote your demo across all your marketing channels

Announce your trade show attendance and product demonstration on all your digital content and external communications. Make an announcement on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Modify your email signatures to include a callout about the show. Add your announcement to email newsletters and upcoming blog posts. You can even make your announcement by adding a banner to your homepage or Twitter.

Marketing team planning product demonstration strategy for trade show.

How to capture leads following your product demonstration

Just as you would never publish a product page without a call-to-action, you cannot end your product demonstration without telling your audience how to take the next step. Don’t assume they know what action they should take to express interest in your product or service. It’s your job to tell them.

Then, eliminate any obstacles between your prospects and the action you want them to take by having lead-capturing tactics geared up and ready to go.

If the next step is for your audience to schedule a one-on-one meeting, have a representative available to schedule a meeting right away. Or take advantage of your trade show booth’s built-in meeting room to have a discussion right then and there.

Maybe you want your prospects to sign up for a free trial of your service. Offer a laptop or tablet they can use to sign up right away.

If your next step isn’t quite so immediate, make sure you have a way to gather their contact information and take notes on their needs and the issues they’re aiming to solve while their challenges and pain points are still fresh in your mind.

Best apps for lead capture

Here are just a few of the many apps available to you for lead capture:

See our “Ultimate Trade Show Planning Timeline” for more tips on all the steps you should take in the months and weeks leading up to the show—or explore our blog for more trade show insights.

If you’re interested in learning more about custom trade show exhibit design, see more of our work or reach out to speak to a BTWN Exhibits representative.

Ready to create your next global brand experience?

Reach out, we’d love to help get your first exhibit underway.