Thanks to new trends, emerging technologies and ubiquitous social media, determining how to allocate your marketing budget is no easy task. While partaking in the latest and greatest is important, you should never underestimate the value of the tried and true. Trade shows are marketing staples for a reason: They generate business and lead to sales.
Youíll Make New Contacts
If you have a killer booth and have designed your exhibit with care, thereís no better networking platform than a trade show. Regardless of whether you sell cosmetics or oilfield drilling equipment, you are among kindred spirits when you exhibit at a trade show. Their passions are your passions. Their bread is your butter, and vice versa. Most people you meet are potential customers, since trade shows are considered the low-hanging fruits of marketing. You donít have to search for customers; they show up neatly under one roof at the same time, ripe for the picking.
Your Competitors and Current Clients Will Be There
Besides making sales, collecting leads, focusing on networking and raising awareness of your business, trade shows let you scope out your competition. Visit your competitorís booth. Read the materials displayed in his exhibit. Is your competition focusing on areas you should consider too? Your existing clients will also be at trade shows. If youíre not there to protect your territory, your competitors could swoop in and try to steal clients.
Trade Show Attendees Are There to Buy
A solid trade show booth and exhibit represent investments. If you decide to attend, go bold with your exhibit so you drive traffic to your booth; after all, a trade show is a feast for the eyes, with competing displays, messages, giveaways, signs, audio, video, demonstrations, etc. Your booth design philosophy should be ďGo big or donít go at all.Ē This isnít the time to try your hand at an exhibit or booth design DIY. Enlist help from specialized trade show exhibit designers to create a buzzworthy booth.
Attending a trade show also requires a significant investment in registration fees, airfare, hotel, meals, and manpower. Why do companies pay thousands of dollars to send their buyers to trade shows? They do so to take care of business and return with the goods (or at least a stack of purchase orders).
The More Trade Shows You Attend, the Better Your ROI
Yes, youíll need to invest in wow-worthy booth and exhibit design, but youíll recoup that investment quickly if you attend multiple trade shows. Each event should bring new business. It will definitely raise awareness of your brand and familiarize potential customers with your business. Again, your exhibit and booth are direct reflections on your company. Make sure theyíre sending the message that your business is professional, compelling and clever. Investing in an exhibit you use once may not make financial sense, but it becomes a sound investment if you attend multiple shows per year.
The Statistics Donít Lie
If youíre a number-cruncher, chew on these statistics compiled by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.
Those compelling numbers add up to one conclusion: Trade shows are good investments and lead to future business. Plus, you never know what unexpected benefits could arise simply by chatting up your peers in other booths. Partnership, collaborations, joint ventures Ö if you donít go, you wonít know.