In summer 2019 we partnered up with Europe’s largest interdisciplinary tech festival Tech Open Air 2019, where over 150 thought-leaders from tech, art, and science shared their vision on how they see the world evolving. The expo stretched over 4 000 m2 of space at Funkhaus Berlin, with 20 000 attendees looking to ‘future-proof their businesses and their lives’.


“The SXSW of Europe, only with more Hefeweizen”

– Bloomberg

DK&A’s Berlin studio is located at Ostbahnhof in the midst of the tech and startup scene, so it felt only natural for us to jump at the opportunity to partner with Tech Open Air 2019 as it hit town on one of the hottest weeks of June.

With companies increasingly relying on building relations to potential customers through inbound marketing and digital reach-out campaigns, the role of trade shows in B2B marketing has been seen as having a downwards trajectory. However, in a world that is becoming increasingly digital, recent surveys show that 40 per cent of 400 seasoned US-based marketers believe that live events are their most important marketing channel.

By following these 7 tips, you too may be able to create experiences that leave your prospects wanting more:

1. Thoughtful giveaways

Plastic wrapped rock candies and logo pens do not quite cut it anymore in today’s trade show scene, with prospects and event organizers becoming increasingly consumption conscious and environmentally friendly. Why not use this opportunity to show off your creativity, craftsmanship and brand values?

Our associates across our three studios had fun co-creating some laptop stickers (pictured below) and a new kind of dotted pocket notebook for our booth visitors to release their creativity in.

You can read all about the notebook design here.

2. Reach out to your network

Our team was excited to arrange meetings via LinkedIn and email long before the TOA19 app came out two weeks before the start of the event. Lots of event apps our associates have used have often suffered of demo effect – and the TOA19 app was no exception.

The most fruitful connections are rarely made at the booth working the crowds. Instead, find out more about companies you are interested in working with, contact your prospects with a well-thought agenda, and setup appointments well in advance to make the most of your investment.

3. Go social

Event coverage continues to be important in today’s social media and image-obsessed world. Use Twitter to share inspiring quotes from conference speakers, credit event organizers where it’s due, hype your prospects, and immortalise your booth design with some Instagram-worthy video and photos.

4. Find the right one

Benchmark trade shows with relevant attendee profiles, and work out what your goal is. Tech Open Air 2019 for instance has its roots in the Berlin arts and music scene, with a strong startup and student/graduate presence. Are these the people you are looking to reach, or would a more traditional fair do the trick?

Any marketing budget is limited, and therefore it is important to run your numbers to define what the minimum viable ROI is. This will help you with your post-mortem as the time comes to ask whether the event was a worthy investment for you and your business.

5. Make them feel special

Stay in touch with leads shortly after the event, and be genuinely interested in bringing additional value to their business. Also keep in mind that the employee experience starts in the recruitment process – so don’t keep those applicants hanging.

6. Construct with care

It’s easy to get stuck in spending mode when talking to possible outsourcing companies that design and build booths. Avoid single-use materials, and embrace design modules that can be rented or repurposed for future events or your office.

Our beauty of a coffee cocktail bar and wall panels, for instance, will find their new home at our Berlin studio.

7. Don’t sweat it

Getting to learn from thought leaders in your field, sharing your knowledge with others, and getting to know new people should leave you feeling inspired, not anxious.

Avoid stress by starting your trade show preparations early, latest three months before show time. It is easy to overlook a vital part of the preparations with so much on your plate, from research, outreach, lead management and logistics to merch and booth design, staff training and the communications plan.

Learn to take care of yourself during event work, especially if you are easily exhausted by being around people. Curate yourself a realistic event schedule, which includes also some alone time to let yourself refuel.

Remember there are also introverts amongst the trade show attendees. Think of activities, displays or icebreakers, which you could use to engage different types of audiences.