As your company's Marketing Warrior, you know the value of trade shows in generating leads and cultivating existing client relationships. However, with a tight marketing budget you need some ammunition to convince the powers that be that the spend on trade shows is well worth the expense. Here are some talking points to help you when your boss asks, "Why are we spending so much on trade shows?"
1. We spend money on ads, money on direct mail, money sending our reps into the field…all in the hope that we can get face time with the people who matter. At a trade show, all of our best prospects are in one place at one time.
2. At a trade show, we get to see all of our existing clients in one place at one time. We can use the opportunity to ascertain their future needs and their current satisfaction with our products and services.
3. At a trade show, the industry press comes to us. They are actively seeking what’s new. We can easily make you and the rest of the senior management team available for quotes. And we can add to your stature by having you present a paper, participate in a panel, or play golf with our three biggest customers all in one foursome.
4. Whether it’s the trade press, a current customer, a future prospect or even some company that may be interested in a strategic partnership, we get to control the environment in which they evaluate us. We get to position our messages in their minds.
5. Also, Mr. Boss, you are always concerned the staff doesn’t keep abreast of the latest developments in our industry and is too self-focused. At a trade show we can spy on the competition, we can attend seminars by thought leaders and industry titans, we can get a pulse of what is on our customers' minds just by hanging out at the hotel bar.
6. Mr. Boss, do you remember that great idea you thought you had a few years back? We spent low-six figures pitching the thing in half the country only to find out our ‘whatchamacallit’ was being offered when the industry was clamoring for a ‘thigamajig.’ Had we only used the time at the annual trade show to survey the marketplace we’d have saved face, saved six figures and saved a season’s worth of product development time!
And when the boss says, “But all these expenses add up…” That’s when you agree they add up — to a very efficient use of valuable company resources.