Reasons for exhibiting and why your business should be doing it
There’s no hiding the fact that putting your company into a regular exhibition schedule is a big commitment of time, energy and finances. Many businesses rightly question whether trade shows will provide the best return for their budget and if their marketing efforts would be better spent elsewhere.
Despite this important consideration, the exhibition and event industry continues to steam along with thousands of successful shows featuring world leading companies happy to invest year after year. Marketing methods live and die by their returns, so there has to be solid reasoning for the continued success of exhibitions and events:
Meeting the right people
Take a look at the visitor list for any exhibition and it’s easy to see why they can offer such a large return on investment. Event organisers do a great job of trying to ensure that the majority of visitors to trade events are the key decision makers within your company’s specific industry.
This can provide your business with a unique platform to reach a large, targeted audience that very few alternative marketing campaigns can reach.
With today’s technological advances we’ve never been better connected, yet face-to-face interaction remains the most powerful way to connect with customers and build strong business relationships.
A 2018 Harvard business review showed that 52% of exhibitors stated that event marketing delivers more business value than other channels, while only 8% believed that it delivered less.
Take a moment to think about it, would you make a major business decision without meeting the other party face-to-face? Personal interaction builds trust and will always leave more impact than other methods.
Although there are some exceptions, exhibitions and events will generally be focused on a particular industry or trade. Unless you’re incredibly fortunate, you are very likely to be attending alongside a number of your industry competitors and this can cause some justified concern over getting seen above the crowd.
Rather than seeing it in a negative light, there’s a lot of positives that can be taken from this situation. Every event provides many opportunities to meet your fellow exhibitors, with a comraderie being built over the course of the event (and a few drinks!). The people you viewed as competitors often turn out to be valuable partners with a natural synergy to your own business.
Even if there’s no partnerships to be made, where else can you get such an intimate insight into how your competitors are working? Being amongst your industry peers is always valuable, no matter how you look at it.
Being visible, getting noticed
Larger events can have thousands of targeted visitors, but it’s not only those in attendance that will notice you. Organisers want attention on their events and will go to great lengths to ensure that it is being promoted over as many channels as possible. As well as the organiser’s own press office, industry journalists are always in attendance and even a lot of visitors will fill social media with posts about the show.
This is an opportunity to showcase your brand. Don’t be shy in asking the organiser for as much promotion as possible, get yourself in front of the media and give them some content!
Don’t forget the importance of making your stand an exciting place that visitors want to share with others, a good design can help you stand out from the crowd in person and online.
Presenting your products the way you want
According to a 2018 consumer summary from eventmarketer, consumers rated events and experiences as the 2nd best method of advertising and understanding product benefits, with only websites ranking higher. In addition to this, 91% of those surveyed stated that they had more positive feelings towards a brand after meeting them at events and 85% would be more likely to purchase as a result.
Being able to have a direct interaction with a customer at an event provides the best opportunity to present your product or service to them. Questions can be answered immediately, solutions can be pitched and a cold visit can quickly turn into a hot lead ready for conversion.
With this in mind it is absolutely essential to ensure that your stand is staffed with the right people who can represent your business and leave your visitors with a lasting impression.
Taking all of this into consideration it’s easy to see why thousands of businesses make the exhibition circuit part of their marketing efforts. If you’d like to follow in their footsteps, read this handy guide to some of the do’s and do not’s for trade show exhibitors.