Trade shows are not usually regarded as a natural part of a company’s marketing budget or bigger strategy to promote the brand, but rather as a bigger moment in the company’s timeline. It’s easily understandable since trade shows mobilize a lot of resources that initially don’t have a direct link to marketing - travel, accommodation, buying an exhibition booth, logistics and a personal expense budget for the employees there.
It’s treated completely different and there are companies who are hesitant to even plan for a trade show, much less incorporate it in the company’s marketing strategy. Although we understand the hesitation, we want to present you with the facts and the benefits that make investing into going to a professional event a smart decision. It may even become the backbone of your marketing efforts to grow your industry reach.
- Immediate ROI – the return on investment is usually what everyone is talking about since you’re going to be sinking a lot of money into going to a single event, and much of the cost has to do with getting there and getting through the event. However, as soon as you start taking down sales leads and information for direct orders, then you’ll have a clear idea just how much money you’ve generated. You don’t have to wait long to know, if you’re a big success or not.
- Capture momentum with social media – one of the challenges companies that aren’t in the consumer-popular niches and industries struggle with is what to post on social media. The trade show gives you enough material to work with. The benefits here are many – you’re sharing relevant and useful content online (snippets from conferences and the map with your booth marked on it), turning a live event into something permanent, and developing a brand personality and style at your social media.
- A Wide Geographic Reach – trade shows are increasingly an international affair and what this means is that you don’t have to spend so much money to target buyers in markets that are far away from you. All the regions and markets come to you. All you have to do is get them to come to your booth.
- A Rich Marketing Mix – a trade show doesn’t end with your booth and printed materials. You can take advantages of speeches, demonstrations, contests, award shows, workshops and competitions to capture the attention of trade show visitors.
- Expenses Are High – Companies that are active on the trade-show circuit end up spending upwards of 30% of their annual budgets on trade show marketing, so you’re making a huge commitment as a business. If you don’t perform well, the costs can impact you for the next several months.
- You Have to Get It Right – Trade shows are not the type of marketing activity to do without a good plan. You can’t experiment. You can’t improvise. You can’t hope for the best. You need to think every facet through before you even reserve the booth, and iron out the details prior to any commitments.
- Everything Can Go Wrong – Once you’ve planned how you’ll perform at the show, it’s for the best, if you planned for what to do when things go wrong. You have to understand that things will go wrong in new and creative ways. You don’t have any control over things like human errors, weather and technical malfunctions.
You have the pros and the cons, but is trade show marketing a viable option for you? Who are the companies that regularly present themselves at events and conventions?
You’ll not find an industry without its own trade show. The best example that we have is POTATO EUROPE, which targets the potato growing regions in Europe and is a highly specialized event of a B2B nature. While trade shows do target the end consumer, most cater to professionals and it’s why they’re so useful in making sales.
Brands that have tangible products to place on the market (be they machinery or software, for that matter) are the first to invest in trade shows and invest a lot.