Utilizing Marketing Channels and Finding Trade Shows
The Importance of a Comprehensive Strategy
Anyone involved with marketing today is inundated with information discussing the power and importance of social media and the Internet. We must acknowledge that there is no question of how this dynamic and innovative channel is reshaping many basic tactics of prospecting, lead generation and CRM.
We note, however, that we see very little that has changed relative to the actual strategies and goals of marketing. Rather, the Internet is about efficient application of tried and true strategies and tactics. The process is still, at its most basic elements, about using a sales funnel to identify qualified prospects and guiding them through a process that leads to a sales close and generation of profitable revenue. Email is, after all, simply a much more robust and cost-effective version of our traditional use of direct mail and lead segmentation.
We see the real challenge to today’s marketing professionals being the same: incorporating all the proven elements, from the prosaic printed business card to the savviest tweets, into an overall marketing strategy and acceptable budget.
Getting the Most Bang for the Buck
We believe that another major aspect of proven marketing is the industry trade show. For decades this channel has proven to be a cost-effective and essential component of bringing products and services to prospects and customers. We see that trade shows also remain one of the best vehicles for networking, competitive analysis, and tracking industry developments and trends. The simple fact is that there is no technology that can replace the right face to face environment.
A substantial amount of empirical data continues to come across our desks and hit our email inboxes that validates the billions of dollars spent on trade shows each year. Simple common sense tells us that companies would not continue to make these investments if they did not consistently receive an adequate return on it. In fact, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research was quoted by Trade Show News as stating that 84 percent of all exhibitors list the “high quality of attendees” as the most important factor in exhibiting and that 54 percent demand a favorable return on investment. They must feel that they are meeting that objective.
We see another indication of the willing investment in quality trade shows is the level of professional vendors and suppliers that support the industry. These companies exist because the major players in each industry seek to present their companies in the very best light to the qualified attendees that populate the events. Our involvement is driven by measurable results for our clients, year after year.
Finding and Attending the Right Trade Shows
If there is no real debate among industry professionals about the value of the better quality trade shows, we often field the question of how businesses and individuals can find them and evaluate which ones to attend. While the Internet can provide assistance with that process by offering websites such as findthebest.com and tsnn.com, this is another marketing situation where traditional word-of-mouth and personal referrals prove to be most effective.
Our observation is that long-term players in each industry participate in shows that experience has shown produce results with the most cost-efficient venues. That means that if you are new to an industry or considering attending a trade show for the first time, it is a wise step to ask the marketing arm of your most important vendors and suppliers to name the shows they regularly attend and those at which they exhibit. If the same events keep being mentioned, that will tell you a great deal.
Also, check with your primary industry trade associations. If they don’t sponsor a show, they will know which ones are worth attending. Once you decide which show to attend, spend some time in preparation. If you are contemplating being an exhibitor, it is imperative to visit with industry professionals and obtain some of the materials that provide essential guidance and practical checklists to get the most out of any trade show. That will enhance your return on investment.