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The expo floor is viewed as a competition between companies to attract attendees. This perspective requires exhibitors to outshine their competitors by finding bigger and better ways to entice attendees to stop by their booth. But the landscape of marketing has changed, and this old-school view of competition is hurting your company and keeping you blind to strategic opportunities right in front of you!

Don’t let what seems to be a competitive environment cause you to overlook the possibility to collaborate with other exhibitors. Creating a partnership with a brand that complements with your own is an incredibly effective way to drive foot traffic, sales, and overall brand awareness. Here are a few ways you can utilize collaboration at your next trade show.


They key to any marketing collaboration is to pinpoint the company or companies that best complement your own. In the months prior to the convention, seek out registered exhibitors who are not direct competition but whose product and services would dovetail with yours. Chat with them about possible traffic-generation strategies and brainstorm ways to drive attendees to both of your booths.

If, for example, an attendee makes a purchase at your booth, your staff could follow the sale with a simple suggestion: “Considering you enjoyed our product, you should stop by X Company’s booth. They offer items that work great with this.”

Entice attendees to stop by every collaborator’s booth by offering an incentive for doing so. You and your partners could design a customized floor map that highlights all of the companies in the group. If an attendee stops by each exhibit with their map and gets it stamped, you provide them a special promotional item.

Team Up Outside The Show

You can capitalize on the power of collaboration outside of the trade show by creating an event where your and your partner’s clients can congregate. For example, you and your collaborators could host a dinner party and invite all of your current customers and potential leads. This results in the perfect way for Company X’s clients to learn about Company Z, and vice versa.

This social collaboration adds status and value to every partner in the group — each company is indirectly stating, “We are proud to partner with Company X and we stand by their products.” This comfortable social environment allows each company’s clients to feel at ease and trust the integrity of everyone involved.

Take advantage of your new partnerships by utilizing social media marketing before and after an exhibition. By combining each exhibitor’s online community, you can increase brand awareness and traffic to all of your booths. Let your current followers know why the partnership exists and how it can add value to your their lives.

Be Creative

Depending on your partnership, industry, and customer demographic, there will be distinct ways to harness the benefits of trade show collaboration. Take time to sit down and brainstorm strategies that will showcase the value of every brand involved. Whether you decide to offer a special sales deal when a customer purchases multiple partners’ products, or you work together to create a single product, it’s vital to leverage the value of the partnership as a whole. Be creative!

Share A Booth

You can take your collaboration to the next level by sharing an exhibit space with your partner or partners. This might seem like an unconventional strategy, but it can be a huge advantage for newer exhibitors with small trade show budgets. By sharing a booth space, you not only expose your products to the each other’s customers, but you split the costs of renting the exhibit space. You can place that saved money toward improving the overall quality of your booth, such as hiring expert staff, buying high quality promotional items, and designing a visually appealing exhibit.