The trade show business has been steadily rising the past few years and is projected to keep doing well. These events provide companies with a platform wherein they can launch new products, showcase goods, and network. But like any business opportunities, one has to carefully weigh the pros and cons of joining a trade show. While some sectors believe a company will benefit greatly from it, others are of the opinion that trade shows are just a waste of money. So, which is it?
The Case for Joining Trade Shows
- Increased Brand Awareness: One of the best things about joining a trade show is the boost of awareness it provides your business. You can put your brand out there in a major way and expose your company to numerous prospects. Seeing your company in action can also improve the odds of being taken seriously by clients who are already on your mailing list or sales funnel.
- Secure Deals and Close Sales: Trade shows are great places to get your clients in one place and talk shop. This is particularly helpful to companies with sales teams that have to regularly travel to connect with clients. If you have signed up to be an exhibitor at a trade show, you can set up appointments with clients and prospects in advance and meet them on neutral ground, away from the distractions of their offices and regular schedules.
- Generate Leads: The leads you get at a trade show can give your sales division plenty of prospective clients and months of work. These events will expose you to a broader market while giving you the chance to make a positive impression on a lot of prospects simultaneously.
Why Trade Shows Could Be a Bad Idea
- Exhibits Can be Expensive: Being part of trade shows entails shelling out money for the booth, setting it up and tearing it down, transporting all the equipment you need to the site, and paying the people who will man your booth. You'll also need to consider the cost of marketing materials and small giveaways for your prospects. While you're ensured of leads, it might take you months or even years to recoup the money you invested in a trade show.
- Low-Quality Leads: Not everyone who has stopped by your booth and made inquiries will purchase your product. Bear in mind that while trade shows attract big crowds, not everyone there has the clout to make decisions for their company. It's best to treat this event as an opportunity to generate leads, but understand that you still have to qualify those leads.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Join a Trade Show
It's easy to see why many businesses are keen on joining such a powerful gathering. However, being part of a big event can either give you the boost your company needs or hinder you from reaching your goals.
Consider the following before deciding whether you want to be part of a trade show or not:
Do You Have Enough Funds for it?
There's no guarantee that joining this types of events will generate a positive return on investment (ROI). If you don't have the financial means to spend on an exhibitor's booth or you're not sure you'll secure the meetings you need, then it's best to let this opportunity go for the meantime.
Assess your business' standing. Maybe it would be better to participate in the next event or to sign-up for a smaller, local trade show. This is especially helpful for small companies or those based in urban areas as it's less expensive.
Is the Expected Crowd Close to Your Target Demographic?
The golden rule of trade shows is to join events where the expected audience closely matches your demographic. Before signing up, find out from the show organizers about the attendees and ask questions that are pertinent to your business. Keep in mind that even if the expected attendees are in your target industry, that doesn't necessarily make them ideal prospects. You'll also want to know how many of them fall into the specific segment of the industry you are targeting. This is to ensure that if you do exhibit at the event, your service or product fits the audience and is something that they need.
Will it Provide New Opportunities?
Trade shows are not all about the ROI. Companies should also consider what opportunities the event will give them. Aside from potential sales and leads, these shows can also be the means to form solid partnerships with other businesses or to learn from different brands. These events can also be wonderful marketing tools, as it gives your company the chance to impress thousands of visitors.
Brands can benefit a lot from trade shows. But it's best to critically consider what your company's goals are and weigh them against the pros and cons of these events so that you'll get the most out of trade shows.[Featured image via Pixabay]