As a veteran marketer, I have seen many shifts in the industry, from not staffing a booth with sales people (their time is far too valuable to take them out of the field), to sending entire sales teams (they get valuable face-to-face time with customers and prospects). I’ve given away cars, provided a NASCAR experience, offered up shoe shines, and created memorable experiences. All as a way to drive traffic to the booth.

Every time a badge gets scanned, whether it’s a delegate, a speaker, a member of the press, or another vendor, that person becomes a trade show lead.


So how do you define a trade show lead? Is it the number of scanned badges? The number of quality conversations?

More importantly, how are you interacting with these potential leads? What type of experience are you providing?

Tradeshows provide a unique opportunity to go beyond digital lead gen activities. Here is where you get to shake hands and look the other person in the eye. It’s where you can have the 1:1 conversations critical for business success. Because as vendors, sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “official script” that we lose sight of the tremendous opportunity to learn what really matters “direct from the horse’s mouth”.

It’s all in the math

How do you balance those in-depth conversations with the need for leads? And how can you ensure that you are attracting the right leads to your booth?

For Avanti, many of the printers we speak to really struggle with the decision to buy a Print MIS. Because ROI for one print shop might look very different from another’s. As a result, a quick, 5-minute conversation can quickly become a 15 or 30-minute discussion.

There’s a standard formula that many marketers use when projecting lead targets at trade shows that focus on 3 metrics:

  1. Number of Exhibit hours – as set out by the show organizers (fixed)
  2. Number of Exhibit Staff – determined by you (fixed)
  3. Number of Interactions/hour – determined by the length of each conversation (variable)


Number of Exhibit Hours (fixed) x Number of Exhibit Staff (fixed) x Interactions Per Hour (variable) = Total Lead Goal

For example, if you’re in a 10 x 10 booth at Print 17 and expect each conversation to last about 15 minutes (4/hour), then the formula would look like this:

31 exhibit hours x 3 exhibit staffers x 4 leads collected per hour = 372 leads to collect.

That’s 124 leads per staffer based on 15 minutes of conversation per lead. That’s presuming a steady flow of traffic to your booth throughout the duration that the show floor is open. And it’s presuming you have the staff to engage in these conversations. That means adjusting the formula to account for breaks, traffic flow, longer (or shorter) conversations, etc.

The easier you make it for your prospects to not only find you but want to engage with you, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.

How inviting is your booth? Have you made it easy for visitors to book meetings with you? Are you leveraging the show’s hashtag throughout your social media channels? (ie: #Print17) Are you promoting your presence on your website? There is no shortage of pre-show marketing tactics to choose from.

At Avanti, we are providing our Print17 booth visitors a variety of opportunities to engage and learn about our Print MIS software. We run 30 to 45-minute product demos in our theatre; folks can take a load off, have a peek under the Avanti Slingshot hood, and ask questions. Need a more in-depth, tailored conversation? Our lounge area, complete with a comfy couch, is where that happens. We have demo pods set up around the booth, manned by the folks who can answer all your technical questions. We also have Print MIS business specialists who can have the conversations about what ROI from a Print MIS would look like for YOUR shop. And, of course, we have swag and plenty of collateral for you to gather and read at your leisure. (Just let us scan your badge please!)

Will a 15-minute conversation satisfy the needs of your booth visitor? Are you prepared to sacrifice badge scans for more in-depth conversations? What impression are you leaving with that visitor…and potential customer? And what about the folks at your booth who may be overlooked while you have those conversations with a “hot lead”?

Whether you’re a delegate or a vendor, trade shows like Print17 are a chance to share and learn about the challenges our industry is facing today and the opportunities for business growth.

With a winning formula, you’re one step closer to achieving your tradeshow lead gen targets.

Shameless plug: Do you want to know if there’s an ROI with Print MIS for YOUR shop? Visit Avanti in booth 635 for answers. Book a meeting at #Print17 | | #AskAvanti

See more posts by Joanne

JoanneGore_PrintMediaCentrJoanne Gore is the Director of Marketing for Avanti and a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News From The Printerverse. She has nearly three decades of B2B marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results. Joanne is an industry presenter, currently sits on the board of Xplor International, is the President of Xplor Canada, and is a returning mentor for the Ontario Summer Company, a Government initiative for youth entrepreneurship and employment. She graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.

Contact Joanne at and follow her on Twitter: @JoanneGore121


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