Tradeshows are valuable sales and marketing vehicles to generate business through qualified leads and build brand awareness and relationships.
“However, with shrinking budgets and an uncertain economy, executives may be inclined to increase scrutiny of their trade show program,” says Rob Murphy, chief marketing officer, MC2.
To help marketing executives justify continued investment in tradeshow programs, MC2 has five top reasons to exhibit and maximize tradeshow participation in a changing economy.
1. Connect with more customers in less time
Tradeshows are one of the most efficient methods of marketing. It is an opportunity to connect with a lot of customers and specifiers in a short amount of time in one location. This focus translates into efficiency of time and effort, and therefore, dollars.
2. Uncertain times mean serious business
During an uncertain economy, budgets may tighten, but the need for new products and services does not necessarily stop. People attending tradeshows are serious about doing business; by not being present companies risk missed business opportunities. Think in terms of the quality not quantity of the tradeshows in your program.
3. ROI is not a luxury
Tradeshow impressions, contacts, leads and sales have measurable results with an actual value. Overall costs are easily computed. When reporting results to upper management and boards of directors, ROI is not a luxury, it is essential.
4. Showcase your brand without competitors
Consider exhibiting at a vertical tradeshow. This allows your brand to connect with a specific audience without the distraction of your competitors. For example, a high-end auto brand exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show, which put this luxury vehicle in front of a huge, affluent audience.
5. Greater Risk in Being Absent
Consider the long-term effect of not exhibiting at tradeshows. Especially in a bad economy, being absent from key shows instantly makes you a non-player in the field.
What You Can Do Now
• Before you reduce the number of tradeshows from your budget, quantify and qualify your investment. Why are we cutting our tradeshow schedule? Why are we not benefiting from our tradeshow participation? What are we not doing right?
• Establish a process for following up sales leads to get the most out of your tradeshow experience. Are you using all the necessary tools to measure and weigh results properly? Are you gathering and analyzing the right information?
• Engage staff and clearly communicate your company’s strategy to ensure everyone is on the same page. Do you mandate staff training in order to run a well-choreographed, efficient show?
• Consider the architecture of your exhibit to enhance each visitor’s experience with your company and its brand. Are you using or incorporating rental property in your exhibit? Is your booth design consistent with your branding and messaging platforms?