Most likely? Absolutely. But . . . only with your due diligence. With the increase of webinars, virtual events, and even social media, the advantage of actual face-to-face interaction and networking is more apparent than ever.
Don’t let up-front costs alone be a deterrent. Consider it an investment.
Just like everything else, it’s all relative. $20,000 to exhibit at a trade show is uber cheap . . . IF it generates two or three times that in revenue.
Data from a Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) study shows that 70 percent of attendees make plans to buy one or more products after attending a trade show and on average, 76 percent of attendees ask for quotes and 26 percent of those end up signing purchase orders.
Get to know the show’s attendee demographics. Search the event’s site and reach out to past attendees. What was their ROI and take away from the event? Keeping in mind how their target audience might be different from yours, ask what worked for them, and equally as important, what did not.
If a trade show will provide lead generation and brand awareness, don’t set an unattainable “take home” sales goal. If you position yourself correctly, those sales will roll in a few months later.[/three_fourth]
Time out of the office
A WHOLE LOTTA $
To fully investigate the depth of the event, don’t settle for simple space purchase. Even if it’s a contest within your sales team to generate the most new business, never settle for an idle presence.
Most trade shows will let you put your logo on the bathroom sink if you’re willing to pay for it (and if the venue will let you). While all ideas are not worth the money, there are ways to gain massive exposure and associate yourself with industry leadership, and most are associated with, no surprise, providing any degree of value or entertainment to the attendee.
[one_half][box style=”1″]“Free Wifi Area and Device Docking Station: Brought to you by Company A.”
“Tonight’s Game (music act, comedian, celebrity appearance, etc.): Made possible by Company B.”
“Complimentary Ice Cream: Have a great summer on behalf of Company C.”[/box][/one_half]
Many marketers have to plead their case to the money-powers-that-be to get any kind of event budget. Instead of a ‘yes or no’ approach, start where it makes financial sense and then keep close track of ROI.
One of the things people forget to ask is, “What is it costing us not to be there?”
Is your competitor gaining market share? Are you missing out on leads and potential sales? Although there is usually not a definitive answer to the what-if’s, it’s certainly something to consider in the evaluation process.
In fact, that same study from CIER indicates that, “72 percent of visitors say the show itself influences their buying decisions; 87 percent of attendees will pass along some of the information they obtained at the show, 64 percent will tell at least six other people about it.”
Good event marketing extends far beyond the actual event. A perceived negative about events and trade shows is that it’s “a lot of money for 3 or 4 days.”
First, as already noted, if you’re merely existing at an event, you are wasting your money and should stay home. The degree of your success is your responsibility.
Because essentially, it is. It’s your booth and your money being spent, isn’t it? Add your hook to hype your presence through your industry connections, website, and social media. And then, leverage the already present audience to your complete advantage. Host a 3 month contest, announcing the winner in your booth. Launch your new product with an active demo and then generate videos and photos for shared content. Use incentives for on-the-spot social media connection . . . possibilities are endless.
Sorry guys. “Go big or go home” doesn’t apply here. The goal is still quality leads over quantity of booth traffic and gawkers. Especially if you’re attending a particular show for the first time and keeping it cost-conscious, remember: Having a small budget and looking cheap are not the same thing. And on the flip side, spending a lot of money doesn’t necessarily scream, “You cannot live without me!”
Unless your message is clear, it just looks like you wasted a lot of money to confuse people.
If you’re a small or starter company, and you don’t want to put all your eggs in this one “show basket,” go to the show’s website and look at past exhibitor lists for opportunities to share a booth or sponsorship with a non-competing company or approach someone in your industry that didn’t exhibit last year.
If the money to exhibit just isn’t there this year, go as an attendee. Get the list of exhibitors from the show’s website and map out booths to visit and start building relationships. This will also give you an opportunity to check out the look, flow, and feel as it applies to your target audience and how you can use it to fill your marketing goals.
For more insight, make an appointment (well before the actual event starts!) to meet with the show staff as a potential exhibitor. Obviously their time will be limited but, I’d be willing to bet they’ll make time for a future prospect as well. Then start planning for next year.