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.
You can learn more in three days by going to a trade show than you can in 3 months, or even years, of just searching. The key is selecting the right show to get the best bang for your buck…
You must decide on the goals for exhibiting at a trade show before you decide to invest. The best questions to ask are:
- What does it cost you to get a lead?
- How many of those leads will convert to customers? Another way to say this is, what is the conversion rate?
- What is the profit on the upfront sale?
- What is the long term value of the customer? That is truly the most important question.
If you cannot benchmark and estimate the answers to those questions you cannot make a rational ROI decision on investing in a trade show. Other questions can be… Are you trying to influence people to purchase? Supporting a brand? Trying to get leads? Trying to make a sale? Get Publicity?
There two main types of trade shows:
- Consumer Shows: This type of show is for you if you need to make a sale, be where the consumers are, and reach consumers in a different manner than you would normally. If you are trying to reach consumers directly with a product or if you are trying to do market research then you need to go to a consumer show.
- Trade Only Shows: If you are trying to reach multiple channels at once, you should go to a trade only show. You’ll have the influencers, the purchasers and the buyers from different companies all analyzing and evaluating different products. You can talk with other vendors to find out what magazines they are reading, what other trade shows they market in, and how they’re marketing their products to the same audience.
For this blog post, I’m going to refer to Trade shows (Industry specific B-2-B), but you can easily relate the same ideas and concepts to consumer shows (open to the public B-2-C).
Once you’ve decided between a consumer trade show or trade only show, you will need to choose which one to attend. Keep in mind, you may want to exhibit at both types of shows depending on your marketing strategy.
Here are some tips to help you decide on the right trade show for your business:
- Check the history of the show to see how many vendors they had the last couple of years to make sure it’s a good show.
- Understand what audience will be there. Are they going to bring speakers to the show? Is there a curriculum that’s going to bring people in? How much pre-show marketing are they going to do? If you know the size and demographics of the audience, you can make an informed decision on whether or not this show is worth your time and efforts.
- Contact vendors and other people who have exhibited at past shows. Try to get ahold of people who are trying to reach the same audience, but who aren’t direct competitors, and ask them if they thought this particular show was effective.
A lot of people don’t take advantage of the accelerated learning and marketing opportunity trade shows offer. Make sure you identify your goals and do your research before choosing which trade show to attend.