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5 factors to consider marketing at a trade show

There is always pressure on businesses to do everything possible to generate leads and attract new customers. That’s in addition to keeping current customers coming back and maintain a competitive position in the niche they’re in.

ECN 112014_FTR_5 factors to consider marketing at a tradeshow_TCarterEqually important for any business is to take advantage of the right marketing opportunities and to distinguish which marketing channel is worth the cost. Marketing their business via social media might be the way to go or placing 30 second radio commercial spots might work for another business. One marketing channel that should be a pillar in a well-rounded marketing plan is the trade show.

Trade show marketing offers the chance to meet new potential customers, establish deeper connections with current customers and check out the competition.

Is marketing your business at a trade show worth the time, the investment against the potential return? What goes into planning for a trade show is a frequently asked question and takes a lot of resources to just plan out a trade show, but in my opinion is worth the investment.

Not every business needs to market at industry related trade shows, while other businesses depend on getting new customers at trade shows. It’s up to you and your company to decide if marketing your business at tradeshows is worth the investment.

To help, here are some pros and cons to trade show marketing:

Pro #1: New Customers
Trade shows can be a very lucrative opportunity for businesses to gain new customers and sales. With an eye-catching trade show display that connects with a need a potential customer has, the right team working the trade show and some important pre-show planning, trade shows have the potential to bring a lot of highly targeted customers to your business.

Con #1: The Cost of Trade Shows
There can be a long list of items that’ll cost businesses when it comes to marketing at a trade show:

  • Renting space at the trade show
  • Your trade show display
  • Cost to travel to and from
  • Hotel and food costs
  • Giveaways
  • Sales collateral
  • Overtime for employees staffing the booth

And those are just the big ticket items on planning your next trade show. Have you run the numbers to believe that your business will see a return on the investment into your next trade show event? If not, a trade show can become a huge loss financially.

Pro #2 Scope Out the Competition
Trade shows can be the perfect way to check out the competition and see what they’re doing or offering. A photographer for example might see another photographer specializing in weddings. It could be good to know what they’re offering to customers in the area and if they’re offering any special packages. Being able to see what other businesses are doing is great information to stay competitive in the marketplace or even open your business up to options that hadn’t been considered before.

Con #2 Trade Shows Can Be Limiting?
While trade shows can be a fantastic marketing opportunity with nearly pre-qualified attendees heading to your trade show booth, it might eat up your marketing budget. If that’s the case, then you’re at the mercy of the trade show hoping they marketed it well enough to attract the right people to the trade show. Maybe your business might benefit from revamping your website, improve the visibility of your website via search engine optimization to attract people year round online.

A trade show might the best marketing channel for a wedding planner or boutique catering company while it might not be for another company. It really depends on the business, they type of trade show and the type of people attending the show.

Pro #3 Trade Shows Can Increase Exposure
Wait didn’t we just say trade shows can be limiting? Yes…BUT, tradeshows also have the power of the people and the power of social media.

Social media at a trade show can be an asset on multiple levels. From the added boost to your social profiles and website from people tweeting, posting pictures, writing blog posts, that generate interest in what they’re sharing about you or your business.

If you have an incredible giveaway or a trade show contest that is interactive, tie those into your social media marketing channels and you have a great chance to get additional attention because you were marketing at the trade show.

Looking at trade show marketing from both the positive and negative you get a better idea of whether or not your business will benefit from having a presence at a trade show event. Choosing the right trade show for your niche is essential to having a successful trade show marketing experience for your business.

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