If you are a business or startup owner, chances are that you have an idea to visit a trade show is pretty high on your marketing to-do list. And endless media sources are generous enough to provide you with 1001 reasons why you need to join the extravaganza. But keeping in mind more than $621.4 billion (US) involved in the industry that event owners and numerous “expo servant” companies make from exhibitors it’s natural to doubt each one of them. So, would your business profit from a trade show? Short answer: no one really knows for sure. However, consider exhibiting a good move if your business follows into at least one of the groups below.
Can you flex on the competitors with your decade-long presence on the market? Were your ancestors the great-grandparents of the industry? Is your company name known to all as a synonym for the sphere? If you didn’t get those three straight away, you must exhibit.
Trade Shows not only provide you a chance to show off your booth but find a place in the community of professionals on the market. Consider it as your high school prom - you need to make a statement and show both clients and competitors that you plan to stay here for good.
88% of the participants treat trade shows as a chance to raise awareness about their brand and nearly half of them would be there for the first time like you.
A pleasing side of a good trade show is that many visitors are potential prospects and they consider working with you. Hopefully, you noticed the hidden “good” near the trade show. If an event isn’t targeted really well, you’ll probably get stuck with bored passersby only. Nonetheless, a well-marketed show with reputation and a name in the industry, the public would be a top notch.
For a lead that came from an exhibition, it’s calculated to cost $96. For the comparison, non-exhibition lead can be as pricey as $1,039, which sums up from $443 required to identify the target and $596 for field-sales calls.
Of course, there would always be visitors, who came just for fun or to explore trade shows for the first time. And surely some “spies” from companies, who decided not to exhibit themselves. Still, do your best to engage and track all visitors of your stand using vivid marketing moves and special apps. And consider calling the prospects you gathered after an event to close a contract. Though, it’s being said trade show leads take fewer sales calls: 3.5 on average compared to 4.5 for non-exhibition ones.
If your business is primarily targeted towards other companies or you want to explore this option, trade shows are a must. Business customers are extremely fussy and hard to catch. In their natural habitat, they hide behind the desk operator and a whole army of managers, whose job is to say “No” to you. On trade shows, though, they usually come by their own will and, as a result, behave more relaxed and opened.
87% of exhibitors report that their business clients are more achievable during a trade show.
Despite the efforts, some of them won’t be ready to sign a contract with you here and then, you’ll get a chance to receive a direct phone number of a person responsible and have your 5 minutes of face-to-face dialog. Thus, next time you’ll call them, you’d be not a Manager from NoName Inc. but John, from a Trade Show.
B2B trade shows are considered to be the #1 source of information for professionals in their field.
No matter if you dress Indiana Jones style or not, if your business goal is to make something new, use exhibition attendees as a focus group. Such events are perfect to incorporate as a part of a prototyping step for your new product or service. Even if the item you want to bring to this world is as basic as a carton box, gather feedback on it from the attendees and competitors. If you don’t have a physical prototype so far, present them a mock-up or a 3D model - simply speaking, something they can play with rather than a picture.
Goal to see new products and services on the market had been the #1 priority for attendees through 25 years. 92% of the visitors report that they traveled to see the new staff.
It is crucial to visit a trade show with such an intention before you’ll produce a huge batch of your new item. Let people review, test, even mock it. Where else would you find so many people wandering around and looking for an activity thus knowing your sphere?
“It’s weird attending a show with three prototypes and no inventory, but it cost less than buying the inventory and I’m glad I exhibited first. My product will be better when I do go to production, and I learned a lot about the art of exhibiting which I’m glad I learned before trying to seriously market my product.”
Having a local business is nice and tempting, sometimes it even gives you warm feelings. However, 80% of small businesses in the USA end up their path within the first 5 years on the market. As hard as it gets, among the reasons they fail there are factors like the inability to expand, customer unawareness and more. Thus, for those who feel a chilling breeze of bad luck around, exhibiting can be a nice chance to revive. Treat it as an inspiration and opportunity to not only find potential clients but also gain partners and ideas. And a Pro-Tip: you can also sell off some of your excess inventory while participating.
77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended
Also, going national and international is a great option to expand a company for good. No matter if you plan to open your own office abroad or just find partners and distributors to do it for you, an international trade show is a way to go.
It can be a franchise fair or just a massive industry exhibition that helps to make hands shake. For sure, consider the costs and challenges of exhibiting in a different country but don’t forget all the perks of it.
There are certain businesses, especially among service providers, which workflow is based on trust between client and company. It can be marketing, insurance, healthcare or another industry. For the target audience, it is crucial to know and see their partner, especially when they look for long-term contracting. Sure, you can lure them to your, as you hope, comfortable office but effort and expense for that hunt shouldn’t be ignored.
On a trade show, your lead cost is lower than usual. Though here you’ll need to overplay competitors, who attended as well but you can treat it as a chance to show off your clients who is better in this game.
65% of companies also suggest attending to see current clients and strengthen their established relationship with them. Despite already having customers’ contacts, face-to-face meetings are easier and cheaper on a trade show with a unique trade show atmosphere as a bonus.
Side note: your customers aren’t the most important human resources needed (but don’t tell them that). We mean, you can’t just order a good specialist from Amazon. Whether you need staff members, partners or distributors, industry-specific trade show or fair can cut down your costs on reaching the people you need.
“It has been a challenge to find and retain the right people. We have a large millennial employee base, which we are training and then have to replace after two years. We hired a dedicated internal recruiter to find talent.”
Make sure you select the exhibition correctly and catch the moment when professionals of the industry and enthusiasts are all gathered at one place and cheered by free snacks.
Should companies still exhibit at and attend trade shows?
Nearly 30,000 trade shows and conferences take place in the USA within a year. With more or less success exhibitions take on board both new and returning companies, who seem to positively review their experience. Maybe not each one of events is booked up by exhibitors but obviously not all of them are deserted.
Each event is targeted towards different attendants and exhibitors, which means certain events can fulfill your desires. With a well-planned budget and your goals set straight to the point, trade show can be much more than just an interesting trip for your company. The good and the bad news is that it’s actually in your hands how much will you gain from a trade show.