win best in show rsa

How to Win Best in Show at RSA

The RSA conference is known for its incredible exhibits and networking opportunities. Here are five tips for maximizing exhibit design and impact at RSA Conference 2023.

The RSA Conference in San Francisco is one of the biggest and baddest cybersecurity exhibitions out there. Launched in 1991 with just a handful of attendees, the conference has expanded to multiple locations across the globe, with the most recent live U.S. event drawing over 40,000 attendees in 2019.

There’s no better place to connect with innovators, IT security professionals and decision makers in the cybersecurity niche than RSA. If you plan to exhibit at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for RSA 2023 and want to win Best in Show, consider the following five tips to catch the eyes of the judges AND your prospects.

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Tip No. 1: Embrace RSA’s theme for 2023… STRONGER TOGETHER!

Every year, the RSA Conference designates a new theme for the event producers, attendees and exhibitors to rally around. From April 24-27, 2023, the RSA Conference in San Francisco will focus on the theme, “Stronger Together.” As the RSA site wisely notes, “We are a community of many.” The rallying cry goes on to state, “No one goes it alone; we build on each other’s diverse knowledge to create the next breakthrough.”

As you prepare to design your booth space, graphics and experiences, ask yourself:

  • How can we as an organization show our team’s strength?
  • How are we supporting the industry right now?
  • How does our dynamic teamwork or networking align with and impact the cybersecurity industry?
  • Why does this matter to our customers?
  • How does our core values provide value to customers?
  • How do we explain that to customers in 3 seconds or less?

Use these questions as inspiration when meeting with your creative team and exhibit design firm. The theme doesn’t need to dominate your exhibit but making reference to it in an authentic way could score you big points with the judges.

Tip No. 2: Make it easy for customers to understand how you UNIQUELY solve their problems

Judges will favor exhibits that stand out on the crowded show floor, and creative exhibit graphics, intuitive booth design, interactive displays and lighting are all important elements when it comes to the looks department. However, judges at RSA will also consider your company’s impact on the industry, the value you provide customers and how you deliver that message.

From the prospect’s perspective, they want to know (as do the judges) how you will help solve their unique problems and achieve the outcomes they desire. And guess what? According to McAfee Chief Technical Strategist Ned Miller, MOST exhibitors fail miserably at this task.

At RSA 2018, Miller visited 566 booths in three hours but sadly, “every vendor sounded the same, and you had to go beyond the surface level to find out how they differentiate themselves. I left disappointed that not once did I hear a vendor talk about helping customers by focusing on their desired outcomes, value and service level agreements.”

What if your messaging could focus on solving customer problems and providing value? That’s a win in the judges’ eyes and the eyes of your prospects. Keep in mind, you only have a few seconds to get that message across before prospects pass your exhibit by. If you need tips on how to fine tune your messaging in face-to-face environments, we can help.

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Tip No. 3: Train booth staff on key messaging and engagement strategies

Even if your messaging is on point, don’t assume your booth staff will know how to deliver it effectively. You won’t win Best in Show at RSA if your team doesn’t know how to differentiate your solutions or engage with the judges (and prospects) in a meaningful way that also provides value.

We can’t emphasize strongly enough how important it is to conduct booth staff training regularly (prior to every show). New staffers need to learn everything from proper booth staff etiquette (no gum, no cell phones, proper stance and greetings, how to engage and disengage, etc.) to the best questions to ask to identify those critical customer problems and desired outcomes.

Both new staffers and veterans need to be trained to probe, listen, clearly describe how your solutions solve the prospect’s problems and explain why your solutions are superior in the marketplace. That’s a lot to learn, so don’t leave it to chance. Train, train, train!

Click here for a booth staff training guide.

Tip No. 4: Include shareable interactive experiences in your booth design

Nothing brings the traffic, fun and exposure like shareable interactive experiences do. People love sharing their experiences on social media, and judges will take notice if your brand and activities at your booth start trending alongside #RSA2023 hashtags. Need we mention that shareable experiences also kick butt in the brand awareness department?

And, if we’re being totally honest, creating over-the-top, shareable experiences is one of our very favorite things to do at The Trade Group. From a rideable, full-size, 3-D dinosaur  to a 3-story slide with a built-in, green screen photo opp for Google Stadia to endless virtual reality demo pods for Oculus—our creative team has a REALLY hard time saying no.

Check out our case studies for photos and details.

Tip No. 5: Step up your swag game

When it comes to promotional giveaways, we recommend a three-prong approach—one tactic to create a buzz and drive traffic to your booth, one tactic to garner prospect info in exchange for swag and one tactic to bring in top prospects. The first tactic could get / advance press (online and word-of-mouth) for your brand, because industry reporters and influencers always talk and write about who’s giving away what at RSA. That buzz brings in the traffic, which judges WILL notice.

For the second tactic, you can offer a limited number of higher value items in exchange for filling out a survey, attending a sales presentation or getting a product demo—ALSO buzzworthy. The third tactic takes high-value further, with those giveaways set aside for the top “A” prospects you want to score some one-on-one time with. A pre-show marketing campaign that targets those “A” prospects will help increase the number of engagements with decision makers you really want to meet.

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At past RSA Conferences, popular, buzzed about swag included everything from $5 Starbucks gift cards, socks, customizable T-shirts and wireless charging pads to ¼ zip fleece, Nintendo consoles, Lego Millennium Falcon sets, Macallan 18 scotch and custom vacations. Figure out what’s hot and desirable today, so your swag is buzzworthy come conference time.

Click here for more swag ideas.

Need help getting your RSA exhibit “Best in Show” ready?

Our friendly sales reps and award-winning design team are here to help. To learn more about the exhibit design, interactive experiences and strategic promotions services available at The Trade Group, give us a call at (800) 343-2005 or visit

By Robin Barhydt, Senior Account Executive

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