Anyone responsible for spending corporate dollars on face-to-face marketing activities are very familiar with questions that emerge about the value of exhibiting at an event. Securing booth space on a trade show floor comes with a cost, as does the physical structure designed to attract targeted attendees. Show services, transportation costs, staffing expenses… the list goes on. Savvy custom trade show exhibit managers establish goals and metrics in line with allotted budgets to ensure financial support and successful execution. However, conversations about trade show value and impact with company executives who manage the purse strings still are never easy.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shut-down of trade shows, the question of what face-to-face marketing would look like after the world opened back up loomed large, with many speculating that the virtual world would become the prevalent means of client and prospect interaction.
For the past 15 months, as virtual platforms quickly evolved to meet demand, they have been the primary means of sharing information and demonstrating new products. Most businesses use them in ways not imagined before the shut-down. According to a recent survey by EXHIBITOR Media Group, more than 50 percent of respondents expect hybrid situations to continue after trade shows open up.
But even with virtual options available, the lack of face-to-face opportunities is still being felt in four key areas of marketing results. According to this same survey, marketers responded that the lack of live trade shows up to this point has impacted the company in the following ways:
- Lack of Leads/Sales Opportunities – 45%
- Difficulty Building/Maintaining Relationships – 38%
- Inability to Launch New Products as Planned – 23%
- Inability to Increase Brand Awareness – 34%
It must be noted that 95 percent of those same respondents prefer in-person events over online alternatives.
Economic development and a stable economy are based on getting products into hands of those that need or want them. Prospective buyers must be aware of a company’s offerings before beginning the evaluation process. Meeting face-to-face with prospects provides the chance to better understand market needs and to continue to build relationships based on sharing critical information and building trust on both sides of the transaction.
So why are we optimistic about the return of trade shows? Exhibitus’ clients are focused on building their businesses and understand that they are leaving significant opportunities on the table if they do not engage customers and prospects in a physical exhibit as they successfully did in pre-COVID days. We are seeing signs the industry is coming back to life with clients investing dollars into strategic and creative ways for their return to the trade show floor.
Have you begun to take steps towards regaining access to customers and prospects, ensuring that they are aware of what they might have missed during lock-down? Let us help re-introduce YOU to your market with the best in exhibit design, engagement strategies, show support and value for investment. Contact us to learn more.