Trade shows are one of the earliest marketing channels.
According to Wikipedia, the first such gatherings date all the way back to medieval times to the “Champagne Fairs” in France that brought together merchants from all over Europe.
Today, there are over 10,000 trade shows from small to mega trade shows across the entire globe and spanning all industries.
From “World Fairs” that usher in new technology to the clothing industry with shows like MAGIC in Las Vegas that have defined modern commerce and trade.
However, a lot of people will ask “Do Trade Show Really Work?” or are they a waste of time?
What you have to understand is that Trade Shows are their own marketing channel and as such, they can be measured to make sure you get a good return on your investment (ROI).
As with many other marketing channels, the more effort and work you put into it, the more you can expect to get out of it.
Trade Shows work because they provide the venue and bring buyers and sellers together.
It’s a complex set of logistics that include suppliers, buyers, convention centers, show contractors, and the travel industry to put together opportunities for all industries to meet in person.
Check out these articles specifically on Trade Show Marketing to learn more about maximizing your time and money while at the show.
Company announcements that take place at CES can help shape the culture and how we live.
And since these shows are industry-specific and are usually not open to the public, they can help make connections by bringing together buyers and sellers (distributors and suppliers) because everyone on the floor is highly relevant the industry.
Trade Show Benefits to the Attendee
If you’re thinking about attending a trade show as an attendee (or maybe you have some free time if you’re exhibiting there) there’s plenty of great things to do!
- expand your knowledge of your industry, you may want to go to a class or seminar at the show. Here you might learn about new techniques, products, findings, etc. all specifically directed towards the show’s industry.
- meet with other industry insiders and peers.
- meet others in your profession that may share the same job duties or title description.
- meet with existing suppliers and vendors or discover new suppliers and vendors.
- walk around the floor and just view and learn about all the new products that are available. You might not need them now, but you might see a need for them in the future or when a problem arises, you’ll know about a product that could help.
- Use these shows as a way to train your staff on the industry and overall awareness.
- Use this as an opportunity to travel and see a new city.
- Bring the family along for a vacation before or after the show ends.
Trade Show Benefits for the Exhibitor
Or, if you’re thinking about attending a show as an exhibitor, you can:
- Get leads and new business from distributors and buyers
- See where you stand against the competition
- Witness market trends and stay ahead of the curve
- Establish and/or maintain long-term business relationships to help grow your business
- Return every year to keep forging those relationships
- Take the opportunity to have dinner with them after the show or walk the casino halls to get to know them better
- People do business with people they link and there is no better place to make lasting friendships than in-person at one of these shows.
- Studies have shown, the more exciting of a time people have, the more these memories are hard-wired (ie interactions within your booth)
As you can see, there are many reasons to mark your industry’s trade show on your busy calendar.
Taking time away from your normal work routine is not only healthy to gain perspective, but is often a great long term investment in personal growth and business growth alike.
Here are some resources to find your next show: Trade Show Calendar