A systematic review of the trade show marketing literature: 1980–2014

Wondwesen Tafesse, Kåre Skallerud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The trade show marketing literature has been growing over the past decades, attracting a steady stream of research and journal publications. However, this body of research has not been subject to a systematic literature review. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to provide a systematic review of the trade show marketing literature with the aim of delineating its current state, trends, gaps and inconsistencies. To this end, multiple electronic databases were searched and 91 trade show articles published in 24 marketing journals were extracted. The extracted articles were carefully analyzed with the help of a comprehensive classification framework focusing on broad thematic, theoretical and methodological dimensions. The findings revealed that: (a) trade show research is marked by inconsistencies that concern core thematic issues, such as trade show participation modes, trade show activity stages and trade show performance; (b) trade show research is atheoretical for the most part, but has become increasingly theory oriented in recent years; and (c) trade show research is heavily dependent on a combination of cross-sectional designs and surveys, with limited application of other designs and data collection approaches. Building on these findings, the review proposes an extensive research agenda to help move the trade show marketing literature forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • B2B marketing
  • Exhibition
  • Literature review
  • Trade fair
  • Trade show

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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