How Trade Shows Work

Vertical vs. Horizontal Markets

Another thing to consider is whether your product or service should be presented at horizontal- or vertical-based shows, or both. Horizontal shows are shows with vendors who are selling a broader variety of products or services, and the attendees usually come from a single market segment and are looking for either very specific products or services or a broader variety. Vertical shows are more narrowly focused to just one type of product and market. The advantage of vertical shows is that the attendees are all from a very specific market, and your objectives for the show can be more focused. The disadvantage is that your product or service must fall exactly within the focus for the show, or you won't get the results you want.

Here is an example of these two types of markets: Shows for physical therapists or boating would be vertical, while shows for occupational safety and health services would most likely be horizontal because the attendees would be from all types of markets. There are also variations, with shows that bring in vertical sellers and horizontal buyers and vice versa. This is usually apparent when you look at the list of vendors and the list of attendees. Just remember to keep it in mind when making your choices.