Bob, Andrew, Brandon, Barry and Chris traveled to Las Vegas for the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Featuring the hottest trends in technology, CES showcases more than 3,600 exhibitors, includes a conference with 250 sessions and attracts more than 150,000 attendees from 140 countries.

So why did we send five of our best and brightest to Sin City? We take trade shows seriously. Trade show experiences and exhibits are key components to the work we do. After all, we’ve created unforgettable brand interactions for the largest display spaces at major shows including MINExpo and CONEXPO-CON/AGG and have the hardware to prove it. We’ve earned multiple accolades for our trade show work, including Best Trade Show Exhibit honors from the Ex Awards.

And while we were dying to see all things shiny and new at CES so we could keep offering our clients future-forward creative work, we know there are key truths to trade show success that have far outlived any trends.

The best exhibitors know:

1.     Trade show success goes far beyond the floor.

When a company commits to having a presence at a trade show, it is making a sizable investment. To maximize ROI, it’s important to view every moment as critical leading up to that trade show AND after customers leave the exhibit.

Use digital components like email and social to build the excitement before the event. Score placement in the airport or along the main route to the convention center to further drive attention to your space. Immediately after the event, follow up with leads and new contacts in meaningful ways that offer additional information and solutions to customer challenges.

2.     Use data to create personalized experiences and a deeper connection.

Trade shows can be overwhelming and impersonal. Attendees can wander into an exhibit space feeling like just one of the many, lost in the crowd. If brands can make this experience feel personal, the customer will feel a stronger connection to the company.

Data can make this possible. Marketers now have more access to data than ever before, which can enhance trade show experiences. This allows us to know what customers are interested in before the show begins, can help us understand their behavior at the show and even capitalize on leads gathered at the event.

Use available data to inform your exhibit design. Consider using RFID technology to help you understand where customers are going (and lingering) on the trade show floor. Collect leads digitally at the event, making sure to capture demographic info and lead-qualifier questions so that your sales team can follow up easily.

3.     Train, train, train the floor staff. Seriously – train them.

Marketers who build successful exhibits know the importance of hiring the right trade show staff and training them well. Floor workers should have a thorough understanding of how this service or product fits into the history and mission of the brand. They should be trained on how to best handle slow times during the show or how to engage different types of attendees.

Start by finding the right people. Not everyone is cut out to work a trade show floor – be mindful and interview for the job. Make sure potential workers understand the commitment the job entails. By accepting, they are agreeing to learn everything about what you are delivering in the show experience.

Also, properly prepare the hired staff by providing online training before the event. Because these workers ultimately deliver your message, be sure to treat them well. After the show, survey workers to learn about their experience. What worked? What didn’t? What were customers most interested in learning about?

The best trade show experience merges the latest technology with tried-and-true practices. Environment and digital conditioning, personal attention and a knowledgeable staff are trade show musts that never go out of style.

Want more trade show tips? Follow us on Twitter: @Simantel. Also, check out what our team saw during Day 1 and Day 2 of CES.