It’s trade show season and across the world companies are asking themselves “Should we go to Broadcast Video Expo / CeBIT / Gamescom (delete or add to as appropriate)?” You get the idea.
It’s all too easy to go to trade shows for the wrong reasons and easy to stay away because the costs seem high. The following points might make it easier to decide one way or the other.
Reasons to Exhibit at a Trade Show
1. Your customers will be there. Not only will you have the opportunity to promote your company to them and entertain them, but you will exert a presence in an area surrounded by competitors.
2. The right potential customers will be there. Ask the organisers to send you a detailed breakdown of job roles and companies who attended the show last year and who have registered for this year’s event. Ask questions around the industry and find out whether the majority of ‘industry people’ are going to the show or whether it’s considered a turkey.
3. You met the right people there last year. Our memories can fail us. Think back and check your notes. Who exactly did you meet last year? What business did you close as a result of the event?
4. There are highly relevant talks taking place. This will indicate the type of visitors who are likely to attend. High quality, relevant talks will also provide added value and draw the right people to the event.
5. Consider the entrance costs. If the event is expensive to attend and in a place that it costly to travel to, you are likely to have fewer visitors but potentially they will be of a higher level. If the event is free and in a large city, there are likely to be more visitors but there will be some ‘tyre kickers’ along the way.
6. Check the date. Have the organisers considered the date of the event? Are the right people likely to be able to attend? For example, if you are promoting vegetarian food products at a large food fair, what other events or religious festivals might keep some key buyers away?
7. Do the numbers add up? If you think you could get perhaps three new customers as a result of the exhibition, and the value of these customers might be $100,000 each, then the cost of a trade show at $8,000 might be OK. If you think that you will not get any customers, or you will only get one customer at $2000, then it’s a waste of money.
Reasons Not to Exhibit at a Trade Show
1. Your competitors will be there. Ok, this might also be a reason to go, but first you need to consider why your competitors are attending. Is it simply because they have always attended? Don’t get drawn into other companies’ lazy thinking.
2. You are offered a good deal for booking early. Woah! Rein in those wild horses and consider the Reasons to Exhibit listed above.
3. The trade show is taking place somewhere nice. This is the worst reason of all. Book a holiday instead!
One last comment about exhibitions before I slide off to book a holiday at the NEC Birmingham ;o) Even if you attend an exhibition with the right delegates, book a great booth space, design a wonderful booth and meet lots of fantastic prospects, it means absolutely zip if you don’t follow up your leads. What’s more, the follow up needs to be within a week after the show. Yes really.