Trade shows and expos – are they still relevant?
Trade shows have made a comeback. A recent survey shows 62% of exhibitors plan to attend shows with the same or increased frequency as before the pandemic. 72% of expo attendees have expressed the same intention.
Sure, the trade show market hit a slump in 2020, from 15.58 billion dollars in 2019 to 5.6 billion a year later. But projections indicate that it will rebound to 14.5 billion dollars in 2024.
Trade shows and exhibitions are powerful for brand visibility. But, we know that. Here are the big benefits of exhibiting at trade shows now.
Gather real world market intelligence
The real value of a presence at a trade show or expo, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic which curtailed grand-scale in-person events, lies in sizing up competitors, seeing the changes happening with other players in the market, and making sure you’re still relevant.
Few industries have been unaffected by the pandemic. Consumer needs and behaviour have changed. Business requirements have changed. Everyone has had to pivot in response. How well has your business responded? Is your product or service offering still relevant?
At an expo, you are part of a cast of diverse industry players. You will have the opportunity to network with others in your industry, learn about new trends, and discover ideas and innovations that could influence your market, and your business, in the future. This will give you a better understanding of the threats and opportunities out there, as well as inspire new ideas and innovations within your business.
“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship – Peter Drucker.
Build human connections
If anything, the pandemic has shown us that connecting with people is an absolute necessity in business. Despite the world becoming ever-more digital, exhibitions also offer game-changing sales and lead generation opportunities you just won’t get anywhere else. When people attend an expo, they do it with purpose. They are in the mindset to discover new products and solutions to meet their needs. And remember, their needs have changed.
Your show stand is a meeting point for connecting and networking with potential customers face-to-face. It is a prime opportunity to engage directly with, and educate, the very people who need the products or services you offer.
Through these face-to-face interactions, you will glean valuable insights to help you to understand your customers’ needs, allowing you to position and refine your products and services to keep them relevant and valuable to your target market.
Capture leads and build your database
When it comes to growth, lead generation is the lifeblood of a business. Capturing new leads and nurturing old ones is critical to building a healthy pipeline of business. Yet, according to Forbes, generating leads is a key growth challenge.
Personalised lead nurturing can increase conversion rates by 63%. You don’t get more personal than face-to-face. Your show stand is your platform for meeting potential customers face-to-face to interact directly with them about their needs. People attend expos with intention. They are looking for solutions to buy then and there, or they’re there to buy in the future. This is why business owners and marketers still consider expos and trade shows as a top channel for lead generation.
Put time and effort into developing a lead-generation system before the show to ensure that leads and contacts are captured on the spot. Remember that even the best lead capturing systems will fall flat without timeous and personal follow-up after the event has ended. Follow-up and lead nurturing statistics from Marketo show that a successful lead generation process that includes nurturing will likely bring a higher ROI. Not only because it prepares leads to be sales-ready but also in terms of buying volume. Lead generation facts point to a 47% higher likelihood of a purchase by nurtured leads in comparison to non-nurtured ones.
Show, tell and sell to a captured audience
Brands that exhibit at live events are 28% more innovative when encountered face-to-face. Your expo space is your stage to show and tell people about your products and services. Engaging demonstrations and mini experiences allow potential customers to see, touch and interact directly with your products. It is your chance to show people how you can help them solve their problems or meet their needs.
If you have a brand-new product or service, use your expo stand to introduce it to the public through product demonstrations. This attracts attendees to your exhibition stand to experience the product and learn about your brand, presenting you with an opportunity to engage with them and capture possible leads. Product demonstrations at exhibitions are also a great way to ensure your product or service is reaching the correct audience.
Take the time to listen properly and learn more about your prospects’ challenges and tailor your conversations and demonstrations to ensure that they are relevant and meaningful to the people who visit your stand.
92% of trade show attendees say their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured. Many of them are there to buy what they need on the spot. This makes your show stand your shop front for attracting and connecting with prospects when they are receptive and ready to purchase. The face-to-face contact with them at your stand means you can close sales more quickly.
Create brand-activating experiences
Through successful brand activation at an expo or trade show, new brands are ignited, familiar brands are rejuvenated, and tired, lifeless brands are revitalised. Traditional marketing and advertising methods struggle to meaningfully activate a brand primarily because they’re one-directional. Consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z, no longer trust conventional advertising. They don’t want to be told. They want experiences. You can give them that at your show stand. Read more about unlocking brand activation through events and experiences.
Not exhibiting comes at a cost
The perception of a brand that is not represented at an event falls by 5%. This is true even for global brands. Not attending the key events in your industry can be more damaging than you think.
With over 25 years of experience producing world-class, memorable events, The Event Production Company knows the best ways to activate brands through events, expos and live experiences that leave lasting impressions. We will help you to conceptualise incredible brand activations that will get your brand and products noticed at trade shows and exhibitions. We provide an end-to-end service that encompasses goal setting, planning, marketing, stand design, brand activation and experiences, as well as digital infrastructures such as website landing pages, lead generation systems and more.