While some people claim that trade shows are obsolete and are a marketing tool of the past, there are still many reasons and benefits that keep them relevant. There is no doubt that, in the past, these types of gatherings produced some of the best return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, the number of attendees and exhibitors has decreased given the growth and power of e-commerce. However, even with the decline, there are still reasons why exhibiting at a show can produce meaningful results. The fact is that trade shows are a great place to pitch a product or service to a segment of the market. Their specialized nature attracts potential buyers. There are few marketing tools that allow companies to gather hundreds of qualified prospects in one place.
Lead generation and sales
One of the most important aspects of a trade show is that it is a gathering place for the industry. Therefore, individuals interested in the topic or sector of the economy will visit. What this means is that by exhibiting, businesses have access to qualified leads that are interested in related products or services. This idea of qualified leads is not something that is easy to develop or come across. Even for companies with an online marketing strategy that develop prospective customers through various channels, such a strategy takes time and will have a cost. Industry events will reduce this time, as face-to-face encounters provide an exchange that can take longer to develop online. Furthermore, businesses and interested parties can develop rapport with these exchanges. The environment allows for the transfer of ideas where visitors are not rushed and can learn about products and services.
Return on investment
Marketing personnel need to understand how a campaign is working and manage it effectively. Ultimately, the results need to be measurable, and adjustments should be made based on results. This is true for any style of campaign. However, traditional advertising is difficult to manage because the return on investment is hard to calculate. Much of the time, these types of marketing strategies using newspaper, magazine, or television are a gamble. Trade shows, however, do not have this issue. If a company makes an effort to categorize and calculate results, they can determine accurate measurables.
Additionally, because those attending already have an established interest in the topic of the show, the probability of success is much higher than other channels where sales personnel must qualify prospects. Well-developed trade show booths can attract potential customers in different stages of a purchasing decision. Even if a sale does not immediately occur, the interaction produces a lead. Companies can engage in a targeted follow-up strategy after the show to continue the sales funnel process. This can increase the return on investment after a show is over.
Networking and industry recognition
While exhibiting at a trade show can be expensive, another advantage is that it offers organizations within an industry the opportunity to meet and discuss the current state of their sector. This can help develop partnerships and strategic alliances that may be difficult to do without the environment and the possibility of meeting in person. It is easy for individuals to run into others in the same line of business and begin a conversation that can provide insight into new trends, changing services, and new products. While it is possible to learn this online, the perspective from others that share differing opinions and views may be easier given that the environment is more relaxed. Furthermore, people are more willing to share thoughts in a conversation than in something that anyone else can read online. This type of intel can be indispensable in maintaining and developing competitive advantages. Those that become regulars at a trade show can establish themselves as industry leaders, and such recognition is important in the area of networking.