amika smooth over tour mobile popup
May 27th, 2024 | 5 min read
  • Product Sampling

Convert Curious Onlookers with Hands-On Demos

Just in time for the muggiest part of the year, in the muggiest region of the country, haircare brand Amika set out to launch its new frizz-fighting treatment in four U.S. cities. The brand’s mobile pop-up shop gave consumers a chance to feel and smell the new product on-site as well as take home product samples. At trade shows, the brand’s booth includes demos in a salon-style setting emphasizing the look and feel of hair treated with the new product.

To promote its personal grooming products to a key demographic — teenage boys — Axe traveled the country with its ChillMobile, a mini-salon on wheels that included product demos and styling as part of the product sampling effort.

Long a staple promotional strategy for food and beverage brands, live product demos can be a great fit for beauty, hair care, skin care, and other brands too. Whether in-store, at a trade show booth, or as part of a brand activation or pop-up shop, product demonstrations can be a powerful tool for brands to boost both sales and awareness. Here are some reasons product demonstrations are such effective marketing tools, and some tips for building your own demo experience.

Why Demos Work

Firsthand experience: Demos allow customers full sensory access to your product — they can touch, see, smell, and interact with the product — which means they get a better sense of what the product is and whether they would enjoy using it than they would from a description on a website or a social media ad.

On-site expertise: Because demos are often conducted by “experts” — such as chefs, bartenders, hair stylists, or makeup artists — they also teach consumers how best to use the product. That builds credibility for the product and your brand. Especially with higher-end products, “until a potential customer actually sees what your product or software solution can do with their own eyes, they won’t be convinced that your offerings will deliver the kind of value and user experience that you claim they can,” explains a blog post on

Product understanding: Consumers who attend a demo — or participate in the demo themselves — come away with a clearer picture of what the product is and who it’s for. They understand its features and benefits better than any ad or testimonial could communicate. And they also learn how to use the product, which builds a foundation for future success in using the product. Whether or not they decide the product is ultimately for them, they gain a new awareness of your brand and your products.

Personalization: Especially in one-on-one demonstrations, demos also create a platform for brands to identify and address customer pain points, while building the kind of memorable, positive experience that brand loyalty is made of. “If done correctly,” says an article on, “your product demos can combat any product-related concerns your customer might have, provide proof of your product’s effectiveness, and solidify your customer’s interest in your product.”

How to Make the Most of Your Product Demo

Focus on the audience: A great demo campaign starts with the target audience. Whether your brand sells its products to consumers or corporations, understanding the end user is key. Think about who your ideal customer is — the mix of demographics, interests, experiences, and characteristics that make that person someone who’s most likely to enjoy and/or benefit from your product or service.

With your ideal customer in mind, consider how your product benefits them. “Many product demos can fall into the trap of over-emphasising the features of the product itself rather than its benefits for the customer,” according to a blog post by DisplayWizard. “When running your demo, ensure you clarify exactly which customer pain points the product is aiming to solve, rather than simply listing its features.”

Don’t forget about the context: Research likely attendees — their demographics, their challenges, the location of the event, your product’s presence in that specific market. This will help you tailor the demo to the crowd that’s likely to show up. Long-established trade shows and expos often make this information available on their websites to help vendors decide whether to purchase booth space; use it to help design your demo.

Make the demo interactive: Encourage attendees to ask questions and try the product themselves. Keep in mind that allowing them to interact with your product creates a personal experience that will make them more likely to buy, says DisplayWizard.

product demo at trade show

Choose the right presenter: The person giving the demo should be both an expert on the product and charismatic enough to connect with attendees. Being able to answer audience members’ questions confidently is important, but so too is having the right energy and confidence. “You need to be able to explain the benefits of the product, but it is almost more important that these benefits are communicated by someone who actually believes what they are saying,” says a recent article by

Consider having more than one presenter or teams of presenters, so they can take breaks to maintain energy and focus. Have additional staff on hand to back up presenters in case of an equipment malfunction or other minor emergency.

Practice, practice, and practice some more: Not only do your presenters need to know the product inside and out, they also need to know how to use your booth’s equipment and hardware. Rehearse every aspect of the demo, including Q&As, so there are no surprises at the event.

BTWN EXHIBITS recommends having other staff watch the rehearsals to determine whether it’s clear and concise; that the content is interesting enough to hold attendees’ attention; and that “the benefits your audience would receive from using your product are the focal point.”

By following these steps and keeping your audience in mind, your brand can set up a product demonstration that effectively converts curious onlookers into customers.


Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.