|You invest a lot in the trade
shows that you exhibit at. How much? At 36% of the average trade
show budget, booth space costs are your single largest expense.
Plus, your choice of shows affects the rest of your entire trade
So which trade shows are worth your marketing investment?
Here are 13 signs itís time to stop
exhibiting at a trade show and ply your business down different
1. The Wrong Attendees: If your buyers are not walking a show, then why exhibit there?
The top reason exhibitors back out of a show, or take a smaller
booth size, is because they donít find high quality attendees.
The highest quality attendee looks like your best buyers Ė so
figure out what your buyers
look like, and then ask show owners
to prove that their attendees match your buyers.
2. Low R.O.I: If you have a slate of
trade shows that provide a range of R.O.I, then drop the shows
at the lower end of the range, unless they achieve other
objectives besides Return On Investment.
3. Decreasing Qualified Attendance: Perhaps your target audience is at that show Ö just fewer and
fewer of them over the years. If there are other
shows that keep
delivering, then shift more dollars to those.
4. Rapidly Rising Exhibiting Costs: Trade shows provide a great value Ė they bring
to B2B marketers a parade of potential buyers that allow
to meet more people face-to-face than they can from
months of cold calling. But shows that try to squeeze every
penny of profit from that advantage
risk killing the golden goose. Booth space and drayage costs
that increase multiple times faster than inflation? Not good.
Not good at all.
5. Not Responding To Industry Changes:
Change is inevitable, but a show that lags behind those changes
is no longer an attractive destination to hear the
A laggard show will not bring the right speakers, themes, and
educational sessions, which eventually will dampen attendance.
6. No Excitement: Is the prospect of attending the
show getting you jazzed? It should. You should be excited about
the networking, the potential business,
the industry buzz. If
itís going to be boring, then it may be time to leave.
7. Lack of Promotion: Itís harder to succeed if the trade
go all out to get attendees into the show hall. Itís also a
deterrent if the show makes
it hard for you to access attendee
lists to promote your presence directly.
8. Lack of Social Media Marketing:
If a trade show hasnít learned
how to fully integrate social media into their marketing, they
are missing out on a
sizable portion of their potential audience
that ignores traditional media Ė especially younger attendees
that help determine the future of the show.
9. Poor Welcome For
The best shows know that new attendees and new exhibitors are
what make the show grow, and they treat them
with care. If shows
ignore newcomers and just take them for granted, vote with your
10. No Exhibitor Advisory Committee: Good shows appoint exhibitors to an advisory
committee to get feedback about what changes the show can
to improve their exhibitorsí satisfaction. If the show doesnít
have an Exhibitor Advisory Committee, and wonít start one when
you ask, they
donít really care about your business.
11. An Ignored Exhibitor Advisory Committee: Almost as bad is a show
that asks for feedback, but then ignores everything exhibitors
tell them, nor
provides good business reasons for not
implementing exhibitor suggestions.
12. Little New Blood:
If every attendee is gray haired
and already knows each other, then the show is not going to be
sustainable in the long run.
(See Sign #8, about Social Media)
13. Unbalanced Focus On Attendees: We get it ó without attendees,
exhibitors would not have a reason to exhibit. So shows tend to
on the attendees, thinking that will be enough to
satisfy exhibitors. Not anymore. Exhibitors are also important,
and need care and feeding, too, or they
will take their
marketing dollars elsewhere.
If there are shows on your show schedule that do too many of
these things, then consider dropping those shows. Take those
budget dollars and expand
in trade shows that are doing well by you, and also consider
adding new shows to your program. Want help finding new shows?
Hereís a great article
that helps you find
new trade shows to
I donít want to sound all doom and gloom here ó there are
innovative, healthy shows that do the opposite of these 13
signs. Grow with these responsive shows, and you will grow your
Michael Thimmesch is the Director of Customer Engagement for Skyline