Supporting The Value of Trade Shows
Maybe you’re hesitant about showcasing your company’s products and services at a trade show. Or maybe you’re even leery of just attending one. Well, don’t be. As they say, “The proof of the pudding is in the rising.” And this year, a LOT of rising happened at trade shows nationwide. If you need proof that trade shows are an excellent marketing medium, we’ve got it for you. If you need cold, hard, factual motivation to get you to the next event, you’ve come to the right place.
At this year’s primary trade show, Skyline hosted an in-booth game show called “Staggering Trade Show Stats.” The surprising statistics were shared with all the attendees in an attempt to help them see the need for and grow their trade show marketing. Here is the statistical justification for launching into trade show season in full confidence. It’s all you need to know (and more!):
- 99% of exhibitors discovered unique value from trade shows that they never found from other marketing media. The top three reasons were all related to visibility – they made themselves available to clients, customers and prospects made time for them, and they were able to meet with suppliers and resellers. For example, 60% said they appreciated the ability to meet, greet, and visit with prospects and customers in large quantities. Fifty-one percent valued the face-to-face meetings with customers and prospects the most. A close 47% valued meeting with suppliers, resellers, and other business partners one on one. In a business that is mostly about relationship and trust, these in-person meet ups are critical, and not only that, both parties seem to really enjoy them. Source: CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions
- 92% of trade show attendees commented that they attend trade shows hoping for a glance at new products. It is far and away the number one reason people flock to event halls. And it’s been the number one reason for over 25 years! People love to be in on the cutting edge and to be “in the know” about something first. Consequently, trade shows are the perfect place to introduce and feature new products and services. Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face
- 84% of exhibitors attribute their decisions about exhibiting at a trade show and/or expanding booth size to the “high quality of attendees.” This makes sense because when deciding where to invest your money and your time (not to mention all your energy), you have to make sure your market is set. This is closely related to the fact that:
- 54% of folks cited “favorable return-on-investment” as the reason for their return/expansion. If you exhibit at a trade show that matches your market, you’re going to have the best leads and the highest ROI – that’s just a mathematical fact. Furthermore, at least half of those polled considered “positive past performance” an important factor in whether or not to return or expand. This might seem like an elusive sort of criteria, but we cannot ignore the emotional/mental component of sales – people are attracted to where they have success, and not just monetarily. They are attracted to where they FEEL successful. Source: CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions
- 83% of exhibitors agreed that “building and expanding brand awareness” is a top-priority objective at trade shows. Along with reinforcing their brand, launching new products, and promoting new services, pushing brand awareness is the bread and butter of the marketing world. Source: CEIR Changing Environment Study
- 81% of attendees at a trade show have decision-making power or buying authority. This is a big deal. That means 4 out of every 5 people you pass in the aisles and greet in the booth could pull the trigger on that sale you’re trying to make. They are your potential customers. They don’t have to call the manager or the higher ups – they have the power. So remember this number in particular as you walk the aisles at your next trade show. Most likely, you’re talking to someone who is a potential for you. Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget
- 78% of trade show attendees travelled at least 400 miles to get there. That is important for a number of reasons. First, you are getting a national audience. Second, they travelled a long way – cater to them, pamper them, make it worth their trip. Third, they obviously came so far because they couldn’t find what they needed locally. This is your opportunity to fill a need that someone has found hard to fill! Source: CEIR report ACRR 1153.12
- 488%! That’s how much drayage rates have increased in the last 30 years. From 1982 to 2010, the average drayage rates have skyrocketed from $12.68 per hundredweight to $74.54. On the other hand, the design line in the average budget has decreased, dropping from 21% of the overall budget to just 10% in the same amount of time. The saving grace of the trade show has to be the modular exhibit systems and portable displays that are lighter and increasingly more mobile, keeping drayage costs down and trade shows affordable for most exhibitors. Source: CEIR / E2MA
- 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended. Expos do create new business opportunities for exhibitors. If you are sitting on the fence about attending an expo because you’re not sure if it is worth it, remember that your competitors will be closing the deals that you could have been closing.
- 67% of all attendees at a trade show represent a new prospect or potential customer. That means that 2 out of 3 people you run into at a trade show COULD be your next client. Trade shows are flourishing with new potential targets for your business. Make sure that no matter where you are in the event hall, you have on your best attitude and a smile that can light up a room. You never know when the person behind you in line at Starbucks is your next big customer. Source: Exhibit Surveys, Inc.
- 65% of all hard-copy materials distributed at trade shows ends up in the event hall trash cans before day’s end. Over half! According to Candy Adams, aka The Booth Mom, companies who blow their budget printing out hard materials are really wasting money. Instead, try giving away a branded flash drive loaded with your promotional materials.
- 51% of trade show attendees requested that a sales representative visit their company after the show. People are finding valuable solutions by attending trade shows and if you aren’t attending, you are missing opportunities of closing big deals.
- 50% of the nation’s largest trade shows take place in one of three locations: Chicago, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Consider making at least one of these cities’ trade shows a priority. Source: TSNN.com, The Trade Show News Network
- 46% (at least) of trade show attendees are in Executive or Upper Management. You’ve got a lot of clout walking around your booth! And with clout comes buying power and decision-making power. Remember to always treat everyone with respect; you don’t know who you could be talking to! Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face
- 45% of attendees visit only one trade show a year. That’s almost half. That means when you market at a trade show, you’ll have unique prospects there that you won’t find at any other exhibition. Source: CEIR Report ACRR 1152.12
- 39.2% of B2B marketing budgets were B2B exhibitions! That’s a larger amount than any other single marketing channel, and that number has remained consistent over the past several years, which demonstrates the steadfastness of trade shows. It’s hard to beat the mass appeal and mass exposure of a trade show. Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget
- 8.3 – this is the number of hours that the average attendee spends walking the aisles at a trade show observing booths and displays. That’s just about a workday. That gives you lots of time and opportunity to connect with your target audience. And since the top 3 goals for exhibitors are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building, you’ve got ample room to do all of it! Source: Skyline Exhibits market research
- 5,000,000! That’s the number of square feet that the most recent show hall in Shanghai, China boasts! A venue that spacious provides even more potential for large show to exhibit there. Source: News media
These are some numbers you can take to the bank! Armed with these statistics, you can make informed decisions about attending and exhibiting at trade shows in the upcoming year. Thanks to CEIR for all of their recent new research, which is the foundation for this article.
This article is inspired by "16 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows" by Mike Thimmesch and first appeared at www.skyline.com