Post authored by Evan Shubin
It’s a proven fact – trade shows have a direct impact on the bottom line. This is especially true for exhibitors, but also attendees.
Exhibitors benefit from nearly every single booth visitor. No matter who they are – repeat customers, new customers, or prospects – a booth visit has been proven to accelerate the relationship between the exhibitor and the person that stops by their booth.
When someone visits a booth at a trade show, that lessens the amount of time and the number of follow-ups required to get that person to purchase something. THAT is the real ROI that the exhibitor receives from having a booth at the show, and it’s been proven time and again by CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) and others.
In addition to that very tangible benefit, exhibitors can extract value from trade shows in a number of other ways:
- Market research and field testing: A trade show represents a “snapshot of the industry” at that moment in time. And what better way to discover what product features resonate with buyers? By asking booth visitors a few simple questions, exhibitors can glean tons of useful, strategic input.
- Media relations: Trade shows frequently generate significant media coverage, much of which is about individual exhibitors and the products they bring to market.
- New partnerships: In addition to accelerating the sales process, trade shows are a great place to forge new partnerships. All the right people are in the same place at the same time.
Attending a trade show also impacts your company’s bottom line. People who choose to come to the show gain that same “snapshot” view of the entire industry, but are also making an investment on behalf of their company that stands to make a nice return in the form of:
- Networking and potential strategic partnership opportunities
- Education and new skills
- First look at new products and services that could support their company’s efforts
- Immediate comparison shopping across two or more vendors
Yes, many of these benefits are available outside of the traditional face-to-face trade show, but they simply don’t pack the same punch when you’re not live at a major industry event. The ability to experience a new product, have back-to-back conversations with industry peers, and return home with a head full of new ideas is difficult to replicate elsewhere. Giving out free merchandise at trade shows will also make people remember your store if it is something they will constantly see. For example, giving out free bags or bracelets from the likes of SleekWristbands.com, will bring your business into conversation when people ask where they are from. It is definitely worth looking into to try and further improve your marketing schemes.
Skeptics say that exhibitors and attendees can get the same value through other means, without travel or time out of the office. However, a recent MPI Foundation report verified once again that face-to-face meetings generate a powerful ROI.
If you can effectively track the impact of such activities on your bottom line, you’ll find that participating in a trade show can be one of the most cost effective ways to move your business forward. Try it!
Evan Shubin is President of Results.now, Inc. and Exhibitor Invites LLC. To learn more about him, click here.