When it comes to growing your business or launching a new product, trade and consumer shows can be the most effective and fastest way to gain industry insight, capture new prospect leads, and network with potential new customers.
You can learn more from the time spent at a trade show than you can in months of research. The key is selecting the right show to make the most of your budget.
Selecting the Right Tradeshow to attend can make a big difference to your success level, qualified leads and sales—versus spending money, time and energy with no return.
You must decide on the goals for exhibiting at a trade show before you decide to invest then you can evaluate the merits of the shows you are considering attending.
Questions to ask when deciding on which trade show to attend?
1. Who do you want to reach at the show?
There are different types of trade shows you can attend but they may not suit the audience you want to reach. If you are offering professional services such as legal advice or accountancy services, you may not wish to attend a trade only show. And vice-versa if the decision makers you need to engage with are at higher level of organisations then there is likely to be no point in attending consumer shows.
2. Stay with the same or consider new show?
There are two groups of shows you should be evaluating: the shows you are presently attending, and the shows you want to consider for future participation. For the shows that you are presently attending, it is always a good idea to review the success of previous visits to the show and evaluate the return you got on the time spent there. “Return” can be measured in sales, leads generated or brand awareness for example. Shows that you may not have attended before can be evaluated in terms of the amount of vendors they have had year-on-year for example. A positive trend can indicate the merits of exhibiting at the event.
3. Match your business objectives with the trade show
Selecting the right shows means matching your exhibiting objectives with the right target audiences; the right timing to meet buyers’ purchasing patterns and the ability to show and demonstrate your products/services. This is a key decision to tie in with your business objectives. The timing of a key show in your industry might go so far as to dictate the launch date of a product and it may be crucial for the success of a new product to be at certain event(s) to meet potential new buyers of that product or influencers within your industry.
4. Do your homework
When evaluating a show’s potential, gather as much information as possible—show statistics/demographics and review lists of previous participants. Verify information provided by show management. Speak to past exhibitors and attendees when possible.
5. Visit the Show
Whenever possible, personally visit the show prior to exhibiting to assess its value. Evaluate the supporting events and/or educational seminars around the show. If nothing else this may give you the opportunity to research the competition and see exhibition stand design trends so when you do attend your exhibition display is the centre of attention.
“Nomadic executed our company’s vision, functional needs, and budget in this ultra chic design! We couldn’t have been more pleased with the final product!.”
–Amanda McCrowell, For Rent Media Solutions
6. Consider location
Take geographical location into consideration. Usually 40-60% of attendees come from a 300km radius of the show location. Consider your distribution area and target audience.
7. Consider timing
What other events are scheduled for the same time as the show and will they impact attendance?
8. Evaluate opportunities
What other marketing possibilities could the show offer? Are there opportunities for sponsorship, showcasing new offerings or participation in the educational seminars?
9. Play it safe
Be cautious about participating in a first time show. Promotional material may be extremely persuasive, but a show without prior history is a risky venture.
10. Choose your space wisely
Every show is unique and there are many variables affecting direction, volume and quality of traffic past your display. Be familiar with the floor plan. Consider how close you want to be to the main attractions, industry leaders, competitors, restrooms, food stations, entrances, exits, escalators/elevators/lifts, windows or seminar sites. Avoid obstructing columns, low ceilings, dead-end aisles, loading docks and freight doors, dark/poorly lit spaces, ceiling water pipes, late set-up areas or “black spots” on the floor plan.