What is the difference between marketing and sales as applied to the trade show industry? Marketing is anything and everything you do to create demand for exhibit space in your show. Sales is the process of uncovering leads and turning them into paid exhibitors.
Marketing is typically handled by the same staff who do your attendance promotion. Here is what the marketing function includes:
Building demand by developing a truly unique rationale for the show.
Creating and maintaining the show's image so the brand is immediately recognized.
Developing relationships with the press, relevant associations and gurus so the buzz is out there.
Creating a direct response capability (such as a well designed web site) so that exhibitor inquiries are encouraged.
What you ideally want are exhibitors coming in over the transom due to this great marketing effort. Usually that is not going to happen, so next best is the prospect being more receptive to your direct sales pitch because, for example, they heard the buzz about your show.
Be sure your marketing people understand their role in supporting the sales effort.