The Trade Show is Cancelled. Now What?

  • Mar 5, 2020

by Amanda Hueneke


As coronavirus continues to spread, the events industry started to take note of the potential impacts as early as late January. When it became evident that the spread would continue, there was much discussion in forums such as the Trade Show News Network regarding the impacts and affects of the virus on the trade show and conference industry. Organizers are working hard to provide a safe, clean environment for attendees and in some areas, cancelling events all together. According to the Los Angeles Times article by S. Masunaga and S. Hussain, “In Europe alone, 260 conferences have been canceled due to coronavirus, said Sherrif Karamat, chief executive of PCMA, a trade association representing the business events industry.”


While public safety is paramount, this is a huge bummer for exhibitors. Cancellation of these trade shows and conferences leaves exhibitors bereft of the face to face interaction with their prospects; and with the challenge of reaching prospects and presenting product demonstrations in a personal way. Cancellations may also leave exhibitors left with costly product, marketing collateral and promotional items that were intended for the attendees. While the virus is impacting the economy and industry right now by these cancellations; exhibitors should still be encouraged that there are ways to put these items to work for them and hopefully negate economic impacts later this year. In other words, when the attendees and prospects can’t come to you, you go to them!


At Hello Imprint, we are up to this challenge and wanted to put together a few ideas to help you get past the disappointment of a cancelled show; and have a little fun reaching those prospects. Here are a few challenges you might be facing along with some solutions we think might help.


Problem: Attendees need to SEE my product to believe (and buy!) it. And I have all these promotional products that we wanted to give them!

Solution: Custom packaging like a mailer box, or a full color mailer envelope, sized to fit your sample product or marketing collateral- is an eye-catching way to send that product or your brochures directly to the prospect. According to a 2008 study by Ohio State University, feelings of ownership develop quickly when a product is in your hands. That’s why trade shows work- it gets the product in the right hands. Have your sales development team vet the attendees list and send colorful, eye catching packages to the highest potential prospects. There are a wide variety of custom sizes and shapes available, and we can help you design something that will really stand out. (And bulky mail is better mail!)



Problem: We need to demonstrate the product for the prospects so that they can understand how the product/service works.

Solution: Enter video and PRESS PLAY. USB drives can be data pre-loaded with your presentation or data; OR you can really grab the recipients’ attention with a sleek, customized video brochure loaded with your demonstration video (let us know if you need help with that). Video brochures even have the capability to be customized with the recipient’s name on the front. Who can resist pressing PLAY? Especially if the video has been created just for them?!?!?



Problem: The target prospect list is quite long and mailing product or videos to every single prospect will not fit in our budget.

Solution: Of course, we recommend vetting out prospects to get your highest returns for your higher priced product lines. But many companies have a variety of products in a variety of price points for their buyers. If you need a higher quantity reach, we recommend a creative direct mail piece with a specific call to action.

  •           For instance, personalized desk calendars (each month has the recipient’s name incorporated into the artwork!) could be sent along with the message of- “We hate we didn’t get to see you at the trade show, but we’d still like to get on your calendar for a zoom demo!”; or “Mark your calendar for the reschedule date, because we can’t wait to see you!”
  •          Utilize custom gift card holders and include with a coffee gift card- “Let’s have coffee together while we chat!”


Ultimately, the ideas are endless. We just had to cut them off there so that this blog doesn’t go on forever. For our email subscribers, we are sending out specific product ideas that will serve as solutions for these problems. If you’d like to join our email list, please jump on over to and click on the subscribe link at the bottom of the homepage.


In the meantime, let’s use this opportunity to flex our creative muscles and reach those prospects with a creative hello!





  • Category: Events, Marketing
  • Tags: tradeshow, cancelled, leftover promo, marketing, prospecting