Pre-Show and In-Show Trade Show Marketing

Trade Show Marketing

In a past life we worked in the apparel business. In the apparel world launching a new brand is expensive and time consuming. Big retail buyers don’t want to take a chance on inventory that won’t sell, but at the same time they don’t want to miss out on the next big thing.

Trade Shows

One of the places people went to, and still go to find brands and buyers are big trade shows in cities like New York and Las Vegas. As a brand, to make a splash you need a big budget and high profile marketing. This is true for all brands, but in the cutting edge world of street wear aimed at the late teen market this is even truer. Especially the world of graphic tees. Almost no cost of entry and high margins when you have a winning brand. It’s a crazy business to jump into thinking you can win with no money.

Unless you were Mark Ecko. Do you remember the Ecko brand? Its iconic red target rhino logo? It was the buzziest of the buzzy brands launched in the 90s. There are a lot of stories about Mark Ecko, some true and some not, but one our apparel sales reps talked about one of his first trade shows. He didn’t have enough money for a booth so he went around with stickers, graffiti’d bus stops near the event center, and paid people to walk around in tees that said, “Who is Mark Ecko?” It worked. He built a buzz and people asked for Ecko Ltd. tees.

That was the early 90s. Today that would never work, right? Everyone is online.

Brand Awareness At Trade Shows

But what if there were a way to get your brand name out to likely attendees of your trade show, online?

When Mark Ecko was plastering his stickers and graffiti near the event center, most of the people who saw it weren’t in his target market, but some were. This same idea can be applied to trade show visitors at your show.

  • Lists of your customers can be targeted online
  • Lists of your prospects can be targeted online
  • People in and around the trade show location can be targeted online
  • Search engine searchers located near your trade show can be targeted online
  • People looking for information about your trade show name or speakers can be targeted

The end result is something like the effort Mark Ecko undertook in the early 90s.


Will it work as well as his effort did? Hard to say. He did a lot more than just one thing to get attention. Our apparel reps weren’t exactly his target market. They told us his story though, and that’s worth something.

Talk to us today about your trade show marketing programs.

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