Trade Shows are not for the faint hearted. We look at why Trade Shows are an important part of your marketing strategy.

I have mentioned many times that exhibiting at Trade Shows is not for the faint hearted. I say this because, before you decide to invest, you must understand the pitfalls of not researching the subject. Not doing so will lead you to failure, or at best, achieving only a small percentage of what is available to you. We will talk about this a little later in the process.
The reason behind going to a Trade Show must be because Trade Show Exhibiting is a must do when planning your marketing mix. With all the available online marketing, face to face events are put to the side in the too hard basket. Online marketing and selling is keeping its momentum and growing, but not in all sectors and not in all demographics. You will have to establish your business is reliant on online marketing before concluding Trade Shows are not for you.
Here is another survey result I came across recently, which may give you some idea where you are at present with your marketing strategy
The effective ratings for marketing strategies:

  • 75% In person events
  • 66% Webinars & Webcasts
  • 66% Case Studies
  • 63% Whitepapers
  • 62% Videos
  • 60% eNewsletters
  • 59 % Blogs 

Person-to-person events are ahead of other strategies by a country mile. When you’ve established where your business stands in the marketing sphere, then you’ll see Trade Shows are still the medium to use and establish that face-to-face contact with your clients and prospects. Being at these events doing the expected face to face interaction will not only benefit your clients and your prospects, but it will also teach you and your staff more about your business and your product.

Many questions from your prospects will be loaded in favour of you and your staff, having to understand your business and your product better. There are many lessons to be learned, and many decisions to make. Before booking a space, look over these trade show benchmarks based on a survey of 2015 tradeshows including Technology, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, Security, Environment, Business Services, and Education:

Visitor Activity

  • 2.3 days Average days attended
  • 9.5 Average hours spent on the floor
  • 46 % Never been to a trade show
  • 40 % never been to this trade show
  • 35% attended the previous trade show                                                             
  • 25% attended 3 previous trade shows

Visitor Quality

  • 51% have a buying plan.                                                                   
  • 82% will be influenced by the trade show

Visitors Found Value

  • 73% consider it as great value.
  • 67% say they will come back next year
  • 58% say they will recommend it to their peers                          

Visitor quality has remained strong over the last 5 years with 50% planning to buy over the next 12 months and over 80% of visitors buying decision makers. 

We should not forget that from the first time humans exchanged one thing for another in a sale, it was done by one looking at the other, by shaking hands, person-to-person.  There are two types of trade shows that you need to consider.

Consumer Shows
These are designed mainly for B2C where you are aiming to make sales or meet new clients. This is also the right show if you are launching a new product, and want to market research the product.

Trade Show Only Shows
These are where the audience is more of a whole sale nature. Here you will find the decision makers, the buyers and companies analysing products. This is where you will be able to compare your product and your marketing strategy with your competitors.

Once you answer this, you are ready to move on with the rest of your preparation and goal setting. 

Do not invest before you answer these questions:

Are the organisers experienced in your field?
How many exhibitors did they have at same Trade Show over the last two years?
How many visitors attended this trade show over the last couple of years, and what was the main demographic of those that visited?

This will give you confidence this is a Trade Show even your competitors were willing to invest in with an indication the visitors are the same demographic more likely to be interested in your product or service

What is the marketing campaign for the trade show going to be like?
What is the nature of the advertising campaign?
Are there going to be any industry recognised speakers?
Where are they advertising the trade show? Which magazines, tv stations and what time slots?
Who are the major sponsors?

All of this should indicate if this is going to be a trade show you want to invest your hard earned money in. If the organisers are not investing, then neither should you. 

You also want to exhibit because you have some very important business goals you want to achieve. If you are thinking of going to a Trade Show because that is something you do every year, then you should think again. Trade Shows are expensive and require a lot of work.

Set one or two goals otherwise it will become a list of wishes and dreams, and achieve very little.
To enhance the awareness of your business and your product to the general public such as:
Launching a new product
Generating qualified leads
Getting noticed by a new segment in the market place
To survey the position of your company and your product, against that of your competition.

These goals are not compatible with each other and can’t be taken to the same trade show with hopes of achieving them all.

You don’t need go to a Trade Show unprepared and unarmed. Trade Shows offer marketing opportunities that a business marketing mix should not do without and is not for the faint hearted with a lot of work and planning required to achieve maximum success.