It’s a subject that comes up every year. There is always an Account Manager who wants to do an exhibition because it’s closely aligned to their vertical market, but is there still real value in these events?
The internet’s exponential growth over the last decade has meant that we have access to pretty much any information we want, no matter where we are or what device we are viewing it on. Research in general, for that latest gadget, your next holiday or even which e-marketing platform you are going to deploy is at our finger tips 24 hours a day.
Before these technological advances, research was the reason I used to attend trade shows, but over the last 10 years, I have noticed a dramatic decline in both the size of events and the number of attendees.
There are many reasons company’s choose to exhibit at trade shows. For example, it’s a good forum to launch your brand into a new market or geography. It’s also good to have brand presence at an event well subscribed to by your customers. The other main driver is lead generation. How many of you can honestly hold your hands up and say you have had a really good ROI from events and exhibitions overall? I hope I hear about some great successes but in my experience the ROI does not stack up. Yes there have been shows where we have converted some great opportunities, bit If I compare it £ to £ against over marketing activities it probably comes out bottom of the list. When working out the ROI, don’t forget to include the investment of time from your employees, a trade show with 4 of your sales team not only means you’re paying them to be there, but also missing out on them selling elsewhere during that time.
If you are going to do trade shows and exhibitions then my advice is to pick niche events aligned to specific vertical markets you want to attack, rather that generic shows that cover your solution/product set. The key is to develop a proposition that really helps your target market overcome a ‘common challenge’. This way you will quickly gain engagement and been seen as a value add rather than a box shifter.
Surely it’s better to be the only company at an event that offers your products and solutions than being one of 150 all offering something similar?
I look forward to hearing your comments on this and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for all my latest thoughts…