Is Tradeshow Marketing Dead?

With the way that everything has gone digital, including business, I can understand why you’d think that attending trade shows was only something that old people who have no grasp of the current times did. But the truth is that tradeshows and tradeshow marketing are still going strong. While the economy might not be the best it’s been, all that means is that business owners have gotten more creative about how they plan their tradeshows and how they market themselves.

Take a Look at the Statistics

You might be shocked to learn that statistics show that a majority of tradeshow attendees have buying influence, with roughly 40% of them having the power to make a final purchasing decision. Those same statistics show that more than half of those tradeshow attendees are planning to make a purchase in the next year. Customers are waiting eagerly for a sales representative to get in touch with them to make a sale. Something else to bear in mind is that tradeshows are one of the best places for business decision makers to find out what new products are saturating the market while they make new business connections and improve the relationship they have with their suppliers. By being able to accomplish so many important and long-term goals in one spot, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to go to a trade show.

A Plan to Succeed

In order to get the most out of a tradeshow, you have to go in with a plan. And not just any plan, but with a plan to succeed and accomplish a variety of goals. I recommend that you try to integrate effective marketing tools with any activities that you might have. You should also have goals for yourself as well as ways to set, quantify and identify those goals. Instead of diverting funds to a brand new marketing strategy, you might be better off attending a tradeshow or two instead. Tradeshows and exhibitions are two of the best ways to expose your business brand and the overall message of your business. You’ll also want to make sure that you keep that business brand and message in mind as you’re planning your booth in order that you and your business image can remain consistent both at the tradeshow and in day-to-day life.

You should also make a plan on which tradeshows and exhibitions you’re going to attend. You want to reach as many people as possible, and you’ll want to do it at a tradeshow that will allow you to do that. If your business sells construction vehicles, then you probably don’t want to attend a comic book tradeshow or convention. While there might be thousands of people there, none of them will be much interested in your business. I’d also recommend that you carefully choose the location where you set up your booth in order that you can attract as many people as possible. While you’re at it, see if any of your competitors will be there, both direct and indirect competitors. You may or may not want to set up your booth near theirs.

Drawing a Crowd

The ways that you can draw a crowd while attending a tradeshow include targeted direct mail, effective advertising and training your employees well. Putting all of these strategies to good use will turn your leads into sales. While having a large booth at a tradeshow can certainly draw a crowd, you need to make sure that the size of your booth fits your business needs. Will you need room to demonstrate the products you sell? If you’re unable to bring the product with you, will you need TV sets to display the product and explain how it works? Would a PowerPoint presentation work just as well? It’s best that you prepare to spend around $250 for every square foot if you plan on having a small tradeshow booth and roughly $200 for every square foot if you want a 30x40 island with just one level.

If your budget will allow it, you can hire professional actors to deliver presentations to your tradeshow audience. While TV screens and PowerPoint presentations do a great job of explaining your product, it takes a flesh and blood human being to adequately sell the product and connect with other people. Technology has made it so that people expect dazzling visuals, so make sure that you and your tradeshow booth deliver. Get people excited and interested in your product. Make it so that even people who aren’t interested or in need of your product can’t help but spend a few minutes at your booth it’s so appealing to the eyes, ears and emotions. The more senses that you can appeal to, the easier your message will be delivered and remembered.

Giveaways

Thank attendees for coming to your booth with a small token. Some of the absolute best tradeshow giveaways include tote bags, entertainment, raffles, food and USB drives. Tote bags can be used to carry groceries, books, baby supplies and lots more. They’re inexpensive and a great way to remind people of your business and your tradeshow each time they look at the bag. Entertainment can include concert tickets, movie tickets or passes to a popular entertainment venue. Since everything has gone digital, people can find plenty of uses for a USB drive, just make sure that the ones you give away can store a lot of memory to truly get people interested. If you choose to have raffle tickets, make it so that people have to be present to win in order to get them to come back to your booth. This draws a crowd and gives you a second chance to either form or strengthen a relationship. Snack marketers now allow businesses to print something on their packaging and in some cases on the food itself. People will undoubtedly get hungry while they’re at the trade show, so why not feed them and advertise at the same time?

Trade shows haven’t died out, they’ve simply changed, and you should change with them and use them as the vital and powerful business tools that they are.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2018
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