Is it really worth it? All the time and money and energy and set-up and tear down and time out of pocket. Are trade shows really all that great?
Turns out, YES! Yes, they are. Exhibitors value trade shows for lots of reasons, from helping them meet their objectives to just making their jobs more exciting.
But don’t just take me at my word. Look at the cold, hard statistics illustrating the truth of the importance of trade shows to an exhibitor. The Value of Trade Shows, a white paper published this year by Skyline and EXPO Magazine, details some of the following numbers.
1. 90% of the attendees you greet will not have had another face-to-face with another company in the previous 12 months. That gives you the upper hand to make a lasting first impression. It also provides the perfect opportunity to build relationships with current clients. By the time you greet attendees and offer a handshake, they are ready to meet you.
2. 92% of trade show attendees come to see and learn what’s new in products and services. That means that trade shows are the perfect place to roll out any new technology, improvement, or product/service your company wants to highlight. The audience is PRIMED for it. And you’ll be a sure-fire hit for meeting their expectations.
3. 88% of exhibitors agree that one of the top reasons they participate in trade shows is to build their brand and raise awareness of their products. There’s no better place than a trade show to visually stimulate an audience into recognizing and connecting with your brand. Trade shows have the flexibility and “wow” factor that no other marketing method can really achieve yet.
4. 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. That means that every 4 out of 5 people you meet and hands you shake at a trade show are potential customers, and they have the power to say “yes” to you.
5. 51% of trade show attendees request a sales rep visit their company following a trade show. So, half the people you’re meeting are wanting a follow-up of some sort. That’s because trade shows offer valuable solutions to lots of challenges. If you’re there, you’re closing on big deals!
6. 77% of executive decision makers found at least ONE new supplier at the last show they attended. That supplier could be you. And if you aren’t there, your competitors will be. Three-fourths of attendees are closing deals with someone, if not you.
7. Sharing best practices with your colleagues in your industry. Continuing education that occurs at trade shows can be invaluable, not mention the contacts you make at a show that can be a sounding board year round.
8. 72% of exhibitors attend to get leads. Trade shows are the number one spot for lead generation. Shooting fish in a barrel, as they say. If attendees come to trade shows primarily to shop, then it only makes sense that exhibitors are going to find new buyers and prospects in that crowd.
9. Competitors are prone to cast doubt on your company and capabilities if you are not at the show. Not only do have a competitive backlash from not attending the show, but you also lose most if not all of the other points made in this article.
10. 70% of exhibitors want to build partnerships within the industry. Most of us think of wheeling and dealing at trade shows, but trade shows are far more valuable than that. Trade shows are often the best time to forge and renew alliances with business partners and people in the industry.
11. 65% of exhibitors mention visiting with current clients as a primary reason to attend trade shows. Even with all of the available avenues to connect with people these days, it’s difficult to squeeze in a phone call, let alone face time, with clients who are already very busy on their own. Trade shows offer that opportunity. Besides simply visiting with their clients, exhibitors can roll out new products, check in on current needs, and just make sure everything is okay and that their relationship is strong.
12. 54% of exhibitors exhibit to stay in step with the competition. Let’s face it: the trade show bird is gonna get the attending worm. Competition is fierce, and you have to be where your competition is. ROI and audience match are important, but so is keeping your customer base protected. And if your competition is at a trade show, so are your customers.
13. Recruiting is also something that many companies have done with great success at shows. Generally most companies send their best people to trade shows and you can have access to wonderful talent that is all kept in the same place.
These are just the TOP 12 reasons that a majority of exhibitors agree on. Exhibiting at trade shows clicks a lot of the valuable boxes that people value. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between exhibitors and attendees. If you have some trade show nay-sayers around you, show them this list. It’s hard to argue with evidence!
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This article was inspired by "Top 8 Reasons Exhibitors Value Trade Shows" by Mike Thimmesch, and first appeared at www.skyline-etips.com/