Seven Reasons Why Traditional Trade Shows Still Matter

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by Randall P. Whatley

Traditional trade shows have been under attack for being obsolete in an Internet marketing age. Listed below are seven reasons why this assessment is wrong and why traditional trade shows are still a viable and relevant marketing option.

  1. Networking: Traditional trade shows still provide the opportunity to meet your most important prospects and customers in one location. Unless you have just a few prospects and customers that you can travel to see individually, trade shows still offer economies of scale to effectively allow you to meet many people in one location. Likewise, it still offers your prospects and customers an economical way to meet you.
  2. HighlightingNew Products/Services: In an Internet marketing age, it's hard to "make noise" within your industry about new product/service offerings. Traditional trade shows still provide this opportunity. They allow you to showcase your product service innovations within your booth space in as grand a fashion as you desire. They allow you to meet with your trade press and provide them with the spokespeople and information they need to report on your company and its products/services.
  3. Connecting with Decision Makers: Granted, attendance is down at many traditional trade shows. However, decision makers are still attending their important industry shows. Fewer support staff might be attending, but the key buyers are still there. Traditional trade shows try to offer you the opportunity to speak to the decision makers. Because the show floor is less crowded, you can also speak to them for longer in a more relaxed environment. Furthermore, decision makers are changing in many organizations. Traditional trade shows enable you to meet the new people who make buying decisions in one location.
  4. Differentiating from your Competitors: Traditional trade shows still allow you to stand out from your competitors because they provide side-by-side comparisons. Whether it's your trade show display booth, your staff, or features of your product/service that distinguishes you from your competitors, your prospects and customers can experience this in one place at trade shows. You have the opportunity to demonstrate why they should do business with your company by offering the comparisons and making memorable impressions face-to-face.
  5. Educational Opportunities: Traditional trade shows still offer informative industry educational meetings and continuous learning opportunities. However, they also offer something even more valuable -- inside information and instant feedback. They also offer a chance to meet important prospects and customers face-to-face, gain their insight, and learn their impressions in a way that electronic communication does not allow. Trade shows are still a great place to obtain inside sales information, learn about and meet new industry leaders, and spot new trends in your industry.
  6. Opportunity to Blend the Face-to-Face Marketing Experience with a Virtual Experience: Instead of being threatened by the new technology that creates virtual events, meetings to replace traditional trade shows, smart trade show organizers and exhibitors are harnessing this technology to create hybrid events. Combining the live and the virtual experience connects people on the show floor to interested people around the world who want to participate in the trade show experience from remote locations. Your traditional trade show exhibit booth allows you to bring your booth experience to people who would not be able to experience it otherwise by connecting with them through live streaming video and social media. Your live trade show attendees will appreciate your effort to connect them to colleagues around the world. Your remote participants will be grateful to you including them in the traditional exhibition experience.
  7. Opportunity to make a Bold Statement: The global recession, workplace personnel changes, and shifting customer loyalties have created doubt in both business decision makers and consumers' minds. The traditional trade show still provides an opportunity to give your prospects and customers confidence in your company. A regular showing and an impressive presence at important industry trade shows relays the message that despite the upheaval and changes in the past few years, your company is still around, still active, still evolving in your industry, and still a "player".

About the Author

Randall P. Whatley

Randall P. Whatley is president of Cypress Media Group, an advertising, public relations, and training firm. Cypress Media Group provides training primarily related to business and technical writing, presentation skills, and media relations. He can be reached by e-mail at randy@cypressmedia.net.