INTRODUCTION

 In this modern digital age, you could be forgiven for thinking exhibitions and trade shows are no longer relevant to your business. But you would be wrong. As so much of our business and marketing is increasingly conducted online, the exhibition industry is bucking this trend.

Why should your business exhibit at a trade show? Trade shows offer unique opportunities to sell to a captive audience who are in buying mode. As our world becomes a more isolated digital one, being able to do business with people you can actually shake hands with and look in the eye has never been more popular or necessary.

Despite all the great possibilities offered by online marketing, trade show event marketing still offers unmatched benefits for your business. Yes, there are costs involved, like any other marketing activity, but if you do it right it can reap huge rewards. Nowhere else will you find a captive audience, all looking to source new products like yours. Trade show veterans say that no other marketing activity brings the same ROI.

So if your business is not already exhibiting, then it should be, as you’re missing out on a whole range of game-changing benefits. These benefits can make that pivotal difference in transforming your SME into a company that can compete with the big players in your industry. We have an article based on exhibition marketing for more information.

In this article, we’re going to reveal our top 9 reasons to exhibit at a trade show. Read on to find out more!

REASONS TO EXHIBIT AT A TRADE SHOW

Here are 9 key reasons to exhibit at a trade show:

  • Human interaction
  • Raise brand awareness
  • Make new leads
  • Assess your competitors
  • Stay ahead of the curve in your industry
  • Get instant customer feedback
  • Make new business partners
  • Huge visitor attendance
  • An opportunity to network with industry peers

1. HUMAN INTERACTION

Despite having access to any information we want and the means to communicate with anyone in the world, exhibitions are thriving. Why? Two words: human interaction.

Unlike other pushier forms of outbound marketing, such as cold calling, visitors to exhibitions or trade shows are eager to learn about your products or services – and they may even have paid an admission fee for this privilege. Can you think of any other form of marketing that can provide such an opportunity for your business to reach out to so many receptive potential customers?

This unique ability to meet face-to-face and build a rapport with your target audience in a relaxed atmosphere should not be underestimated. A trade show provides you with an experience that just cannot be matched by any form of online communication.

To close sales and make leads, you need to build trust. It’s much easier to gain a customer’s trust when they are in front of you – as opposed to over the phone or over email. That is why exhibiting is still, by far, the best way to grab your target audience and build new client relationships.

People attending a show. People standing next to an exhibition stand. Networking at a trade show.

2. RAISE YOUR BRAND AWARENESS

It goes without saying that raising your brand awareness is one of the main reasons to exhibit at a trade show. If you operate in a highly competitive marketplace, events are a fantastic opportunity for your business to make a name for itself. Furthermore, you can promote your business in an environment where you have access to the same opportunities as the big players in your field.

Of course, simply being present at the trade show is only one part of this. You will need to ensure you do everything you can to stand out from other exhibitors. A great way to do this is with eye-catching exhibition stand design that attracts the right type of attention.

Maybe the bigger players in your industry will have larger stands and more floor space, but, as we all know, size isn’t everything. With a professional-looking stand design that perfectly captures your brand, you can catch the attention of those valuable leads among a crowded exhibition hall.

Most importantly of all, trade show event marketing is the perfect way to let your industry know your company is serious enough to have its own presence at leading events.

3. MAKE NEW LEADS

Another reason to exhibit at a trade show, is in order to make new leads. According to Exhibitors Survey Inc, 81% of exhibition attendees have buying influence, and the Simmons Market Research Bureau has found that 1 in 2 visitors make purchases at exhibitions or trade shows.

The opportunities for your business at a trade show cannot be underestimated. Contrast this with laborious cold-calling or email campaigns, where your attempts to connect with a purchase manager will most likely be regarded as an annoying distraction to their busy day.

Standing at a trade fair exhibition means you get to sell directly to receptive key decision-makers who will be in buying mode – a fantastic opportunity that cannot be provided by any other form of outbound marketing.

71% of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) won business using face-to-face networking. For smaller businesses that don’t have huge advertising budgets, networking events such as trade shows are an effective means of generating new business.

4. ASSESS YOUR COMPETITORS

Strong competition at a trade show doesn’t have to be a negative. In fact, it’s even more of a reason to be there yourself.

While you’ll be more focused on generating leads and making sales, don’t overlook this invaluable opportunity to assess the competition. Although technology may offer some opportunities to research your industry rivals, at an exhibition you’ll have the rare chance to see what everyone in your field is up to.

If you’re new to trade show exhibit management, you should certainly take the time to walk the floor and see what others are doing differently or better. How are they attracting visitors to their stand? What are they offering potential clients? Find out what ideas or techniques you can use to make improvements to your trade show exhibits.

5. STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE IN YOUR INDUSTRY

No matter how long you have been in business, there is always plenty of room to discover more about your industry. Trade show event marketing means you have the opportunity to attend numerous industry-orientated presentations, seminars, and lectures that take place during the show.

These talks, delivered by industry experts, can provide you with new insights that you might have otherwise missed. Learning about new ideas and trends in your industry can give you ideas for the direction in which to take your business. If a particular speaker has made a good impression on you, why not introduce yourself and get more specific advice on how you can take your business to the next level?

Trade shows are also the places where businesses will launch their new ground-breaking products or announce cutting edge developments. The implications for you cannot be underestimated, as their news might mean you have to redefine how your business operates.

Or it might not. The upshot of being at a trade show when your rivals are trying out new ideas means you get the privilege of seeing how potential customers react and respond to these changes first-hand.

Maybe you were considering taking your business in a similar direction – attending a trade show means your competitors can be your “canary down the mine”. It might be that their new idea or product hasn’t gone down well with the crowd – in which case you know this is something you might want to avoid or, at least, do differently.

Crowd people at the hall of a trade show.

6. GET INSTANT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Customers are the driving force of your business, so it’s important to know what they think and feel about your products and services. A trade show gives you the perfect opportunity to find out what your existing customers, as well as potential customers, think about your products or services.

With only a small amount of preparation, you could gain some valuable market research that may help you unlock some of your business’s issues.

7. MAKE NEW BUSINESS PARTNERS

Surprisingly, not all the important contacts you make at a trade show will be about generating leads and sales with clients. In fact, one of the main reasons to exhibit at a trade show is that some of the most significant connections you can make will be with other exhibitors.

If you’re exhibiting at a show that is specific to your industry then it won’t just be your rivals who have stands but also other businesses in your supply chain. If you’re a food manufacturer attending a food and drink exhibition, then you will have the potential to find better suppliers for your ingredients or packaging.

8. HUGE VISITOR ATTENDANCE

Audience numbers for exhibitions across the UK and Europe are increasing every year. In 2018, pre-pandemic, there were 9.1 million visits to UK trade shows, generating over £11 billion in spending.

Great news for the UK economy, and having this unparalleled access to a very large pool of potential sales and leads is fantastic news for your business.

This extraordinary opportunity to attract thousands of attendees to your stand, and make a big impression on them, is precisely why no other form of marketing can offer your business the same experience as trade show exhibiting.

See the sheer size of an exhibition by watching our video from DSEI, ExCeL, London, where we had 23 exhibition stands on display.

9. AN OPPORTUNITY TO NETWORK WITH INDUSTRY PEERS

An important, but often overlooked reason for exhibiting at a trade show is simply the chance to meet and connect with like-minded people in your industry. Rather like conferences, trade shows bring together people in your field from far and wide to one location – at the same time.

Taking the time to network with your industry peers at a trade show might open up invaluable business opportunities you would never have come across by staying at your home workplace.

CONCLUSION

As you can see from these 9 benefits, exhibiting is a unique form of marketing that your business simply cannot afford to miss out on. By offering your business a huge number of potential leads with customers you can interact with personally all in one place, trade shows present opportunities that other forms of marketing simply cannot match.

Even in this digital age, exhibiting is still one of the best ways to build your brand, transform your business, and gain invaluable insights into your industry. It is important to choose the right exhibition for your company, so make sure you research the type of audience a show attracts. Find out more with this article about how effective might be a trade show.