Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 

References

Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/apr12/trade-show-trends-exhibit-surveys.asp&gt;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/jun12/research-social-studies.asp&gt;.

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