In today’s economic environment companies that provide goods and services are making difficult choices about expense reduction. One area often targeted is to reduce or cut exhibitions at trade shows. While these actions may help in reducing expenses, they also have the potential to create lost sales opportunities to new and existing customers for the company. The question is then one of whether or not trade show exhibits cutting is a wise move.
The purpose of a trade show is to provide a venue where customers have an opportunity to meet existing and potential customers. The Trade Show Bureau reports that the average total cost of closing a sale in the field is $1,080, while the cost of closing a sale to a qualified trade show prospect is around $419. That is more than a 50 percent savings. According to the Trade Show Bureau, on average 3.6 touches are needed to make an average B2B sale from a trade show display lead rather than 6.7 touches from other sources.
Attendees at trade shows go to shows so that they can: get discounted show prices on goods and services, research new trends in their industry and learn in-depth about a product or service before they commit to purchasing it.
Sales alone make trade show booths worthwhile and eye-catching displays can be had relatively inexpensively. And as displays are portable they can be used over and over.
Trade shows have reportedly been recognized as the most effective means of advertising because of the impact and face to face activity they allow. While getting past an executive’s gatekeeper is sometimes nearly impossible, trade show attendee’s are there voluntarily and it is far easy to get access to a potential client than through email or phone calls.
Not exhibiting at a trade show, particularly one that will attract many of your customers is dangerous. Other exhibitors from your industry will likely have taken a booth. Your not exhibiting can create an opportunity wherein your customers become exposed to the competition without your company being able to point out your company’s benefit to the existing customer base or potential new customers. Some vendors will send sales staff to a trade show as an attendee but not as an exhibitor. This tactic imposes limits on the number of people reached, and is far less effective than exhibiting.
A trade show if also an excellent venue to introduce new products or services. Norda Technologies president Norm Hughes said his software firm uses major computer trade shows as his first marketing vehicle for announcing new products. Trade show displays are ideal for new product introductions.
The reasons for exhibiting at a trade show are numerous and include: improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing efforts, enhancing your image and visibility, generating sales leads, generating actual sales at the show, establishing a presence in the marketplace, reaching a specific audience, prospecting for new customers, demonstrating your product in ways not possible using other marketing channels, personally meeting your customers, competitors and suppliers, introducing new products and services and educating your target audience.