To say that the trade show industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis would be an understatement. We have had the rug pulled out from under us, we’ve been dealt a bad hand. All the clichés apply. Tens of thousands of companies rely on trade shows to make a big splash by introducing new products, expanding their brand, and increasing sales. It’s OK to mourn the temporary loss of those opportunities and acknowledge the stress. For a minute. The companies that survive will climb out of the funk, pivot, and find new ways to stay in front of their customers. The worse thing that trade show exhibitors and all event professionals can do is let paralysis take over. Staying proactive and productive during this uncertainty is absolutely what is required. You may be asking, what do we do now?

1. Contact your Customers Personally

Email campaigns are fine, but consider reaching out to your key customers via a phone call or video chat for the personal touch. Ask them how you can best serve them during this time. Think of creative ways to remain in touch such as a stay-at-home gift box to special customers. Now is not the time for the hard sell. Rather, listen to your customers about their fears and needs. When the worst has passed, they will remember those who were good corporate citizens.

2. Host Virtual Events

While trade shows and conferences are halted you still want to educate and inform your customers about new products and services, or ways to use them. Plus, your employees, who are likely working from home, will require training to stay up-to-date on product features and benefits. Choose a competent and knowledgeable facilitator to keep the session moving and on track. Remember, design your virtual event with your audience in mind! You will never go wrong. Companies should use experienced digital platforms and marketers that can help turn a humdrum webinar into an virtual event devised to keep audiences interested and engaged.

Digital Events

3. Attend Virtual Events

Many companies are providing free online classes about how to change course during Covid-19, how to remain relevant and stay connected to your customers and stakeholders.

Most digital events are free of charge on a variety of subjects. A simple Google search can provide you with a multitude of choices.

4. Develop New Content

Keep your content relevant and reexamine your old blogs. Much of your Evergreen content can be tweaked to reflect the current situation. Repost what you can without being tone-deaf to the pandemic but continue to develop appropriate content that sensitively reflects the circumstances.

5. Refresh Exhibit Properties

Exhibitors, now is the perfect time to make sure your properties are repaired, updated, and generally shined up. You may even take the time to dream up new designs for the wow factor when trade shows resume. Work with your exhibit house or warehouse manager to make sure your booth is up to snuff.

6. Develop New Messaging

While trade shows are halted, it’s a great time to reevaluate your brand messaging. If it’s time for a refresh you have the time to do it. When events resume you’ll have a powerful new story that resonates more deeply with your target audience.


7. Invest in your Skills and Personal Development

No matter your job description take this time to level up! Express Employment Professionals franchise owner Bruce Hein suggests that employees upskill on where they want their career to go when the pandemic is over. Have you noticed that your skills are lacking in a certain area, but haven’t had the time to improve them? Is there a need within your organization that could benefit from added insight and expertise that you could offer? Rarely have we had this much time at home. It could be an unique opportunity to further your education and bring value to your company.

8. Take care of Yourself

Finally, practice self-care. You know the drill, but during high-stress times it’s hard to follow. Eat right, exercise, breathe, meditate, get enough SLEEP. Remember what is important: health, family, friends, and community. Take the time to count your blessings and give yourself a needed break. At times of distress, distract yourself and if your stress level is in the “red-zone” try not to react to situations until a calmer head prevails.


Yes, we’ve been dealt a blow. Until our beloved trade shows and other corporate events resume, the new opportunities we develop and embrace can only benefit our customers now and in the future. So, what do we do now? We act. Let’s get crackin’. Spirits up.

Related article: A Message to our Clients During the Covid-19 Outbreak

We look forward to providing new opportunities to serve our clients, providing digital campaigns and experiences, or virtual events and webinars. Feel free to contact us.