The Hidden Benefits of Trade Shows: Why They Don't Cost, They Pay

May 09, 2024

Trade shows play important roles in marketing as well as business networking. People will seek to meet people and companies at their own level in the supply chain, as well as potential suppliers and potential buyers. Generally there will be a central trade show floor with trade show booths where people exhibit their goods or services, and throughout the day there will be seminars for continuing education on matters relevant to the industry, like best practices, trends, and regulation.. Trade shows often involve a considerable investment in time and money by participating companies. The planning includes arranging meetings with other attendees beforehand and resources to follow up on opportunities that are created at the show. Costs include space rental, booth design and construction of trade show displays, travel, accommodations, and promotional literature and items to give to attendees. In addition, costs are incurred at the show for services such as electrical, booth cleaning, internet services, and drayage (also known as material handling). This local spending on logistics leads cities to promote trade shows as a means of local economic development, as well as providing opportunities for local businesses to grow, and attract new businesses to come.  Here is what you get from a trade show event you attend:

1. Generate New Sales LeadsGenerate New trade show leads

One of the most important advantages of trade shows for any exhibitor is that they’re a place to find new clients and customers. At many trade shows a large percentage of attendees are managers, buyers, and other decision-makers. They have the authority to make purchasing decisions, and, often, they’re looking for solutions to specific problems. If they find the solution in your exhibit, they could be ready to make a purchase right then and there.

Even if they’re not quite ready, you can still capture their contact details and funnel them into your sales cycle for future sales opportunities. Qualified leads are just as valuable as instant sales. It just takes time and a little nurturing to get them past the finish line. 

2. Demonstrate a New Product

Have a new product that deserves attention? A trade show is the perfect place to showcase a new product. You can offer hands-on demonstrations and show potential customers exactly how they can benefit from using it. It’s always easier to sell a product to an audience that can visualize what it will do for them, and a product demo is perfect for this purpose.

3. Truly Connect with Your Customers

A main benefit of trade shows is the personal element of an in-person event. Being able to meet customers and clients face-to-face is an important part of developing strong business relationships. In-person meetings add a personal touch that is an integral part of gaining the trust of a client or potential client. For exhibitors, it’s also a chance to get unfiltered feedback from booth visitors and customers.

And the trade show benefits extend to attendees too: These interactions provide potential and existing customers the chance to have their questions and concerns addressed in person. Especially for potential customers, getting to chat face-to-face can be an important part of making a buying decision.

4. Boost Brand Awareness

Exhibiting at a trade show gives you a unique opportunity that you won’t get via any other marketing method. It gives you a chance not only to connect with your target audience but to showcase your brand as well. Your exhibit design—and the way you choose to style it—can be an effective way of communicating your brand’s values and business ethos—one you can’t quite replicate anywhere else. For new brands and startups, attending trade shows is a way to establish your presence in the industry and show prospective clients and customers what you have to offer.

5. Market to a New Audience Demographic

It can be challenging to market to new audience demographics. On social media and other familiar marketing channels, it’s hard to give people a sense of what your brand is like, and that can hamper your success. Exhibiting at a new trade show can be an effective way of reaching a new audience segment. You get to showcase your brand and products at the same time and do so in a way that’s specific and personal.

6. Forge New Business Relationships

Attending trade shows is a great way to meet your customer base face-to-face, as well as to find new customers. But customers aren’t the only people you can meet at trade shows. There are also potential mentors or mentees, alliances, or partners to be found at these events. Every trade show you attend is a chance to expand your business network and create new business relationships while strengthening existing ones.

Not every trade show exhibitor is part of your competition—and not all lucrative business relationships involve customers or clients. For instance, if your business relies on suppliers, manufacturers, or distributers, then some trade shows may offer the possibility of finding new companies with which to work.

7. Learn About the Industry

If you’re new to an industry—whether because your business is new or because you’re taking an existing company into a new market—then attending trade shows can be a great way to learn more. At most trade shows, exhibiting companies get at least one or two free passes to keynotes, conference tracks, and other associated event content. That can provide valuable information to give you a greater understanding of the industry and your company’s place in it.

8. Scope Out Your Competition

Who are your closest competitors, and what are their trade show marketing strategies like? A benefit of attending trade shows can be a quick and easy way to gather information about the companies you’re competing with. At any trade show where you exhibit, make sure to spend at least an hour or two on the show floor and ask yourself a few questions:

  • How do your products compare to those of your competition?
  • How do your marketing methods stack up against theirs?
  • What are attendees responding to on the show floor?

9. Recruit New Employees

If your company currently has recruiting goals, exhibiting at trade shows can be a good place to find prospects to fill open positions. Even if you’re not actively recruiting, this can still be an opportunity to find people you might want to employ in the future. Trade shows are hubs for enthusiastic people who love the industries they’re in. And it’s a definite timesaver to have suitable people in mind when a vacancy becomes available.

In conclusion, the benefits of trade shows are undeniable, with a focus on the valuable connections and relationships that can be formed. From generating new sales leads to boosting brand awareness, forging new business relationships, and even recruiting new employees, trade shows offer a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse range of individuals in the industry. By attending trade shows, exhibitors have the chance to learn, grow, and expand their networks, ultimately leading to potential business success. So, whether you're a seasoned exhibitor or new to the trade show scene, make sure to take advantage of the people you meet at these events and see how they can propel your business forward.

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