How to Win at a Healthcare Trade Show With a Smaller Budget

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When you walk into the exhibit hall at a healthcare or medical show, you realize right away: There’s a lot of money in this room. Trade show displays at healthcare shows tend to be enormous and elaborate. Meanwhile, your smaller booth is tucked away in one of fifty rows, dwarfed by the major industry players.

Clients often ask us: How can I stand out at medical and other pharma trade shows when I don’t have a six-figure trade show marketing budget? It seems impossible, but it’s not. Here’s what we tell them.


1. Be colorful and bright. 


The visual language of healthcare trade show marketing is colorful, crisp, bright and bold. You may be tempted to swim against the tide and opt instead for a more classic or subdued exhibit design, but we don’t recommend it. You’ll just look like you don’t belong. FrontLine Exhibits’ in-house designer can help you create a custom booth that fits the pharma trade show look and perfectly represents your brand. You don’t need a 30- by 70-foot booth to make a confident statement!


2. Win before the show opens.


“No one knows how big or how small you are when you’re reaching out before the show,” Chase Howells, FrontLine Exhibits’ Senior Account Manager, tells clients. In pre-show marketing, the playing field is level — and that’s when you can score. At least two months before the show, send out mailers. Six weeks beforehand, send out a personalized email campaign. And three weeks before the show, set appointments with your top prospects.


3. Send a surprise. 


When’s the last time you got something fun in the mail? We don’t mean that pack of bamboo toothbrushes you ordered from Amazon, or the BOGO coupon for your neighborhood burger joint, but a genuine surprise. If you want to delight your prospects before the show, mail them something cool that will entice them to come visit your booth. If you want to guarantee they see it, send it via FedEx and make them feel even more special.