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Are trade shows
and events
worth your time?

Blog Post

Hint: The answer is "yes!"

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Pedestrians walking on a carpet

Peter Eberly, Director
Product and Vertical Marketing

In fact, the answer is a resounding yes!

At the end of the year, every dollar spent is scrutinized and trade shows and events are routinely examined for whether they are worth the time, money and effort to participate or attend.

Research shows, however, that trade shows and events continue to be one of the best ways to get in front of your audience — provided that you put in the time and energy to choose the most fitting one.

In the U.S. alone, 1.9 million meetings happened in 2016 with 251 million meeting participants, according to “Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,” by the Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council.

The forecast for 2019 and 2020 is promising for trade show and event attendance, as well. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s 2018 Attendee ROI Playbook and 2019-2020 Outlook, more than 50 percent of surveyed business professionals plan to attend the same number of exhibitions during the coming two years. More than 25 percent say they will increase the number of events they attend in 2019-2020.

Why are trade shows and events such a draw?
The number of people planning to increase attendance list a variety of reasons for expanding their attendance including:

  • New or increased job or business responsibility
  • Meet new players in the industry
  • It’s worth the expense and is enjoyable
  • To stay current on trends or standards in their industry
  • To learn about industry innovations
  • Opportunity to expand business opportunities
  • To build relationships
  • To meet customers or potential customers

Although some people do mention an increase in online resources as a reason to drop their attendance, the reality is attending trade shows and events is a cost-efficient way to meet with your customers or engage with potential customers.

“Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people still want to engage with humans. That’s where the emotional connection is, and a recent Google/CEB research study suggests buyers need an emotional connection to buy at all. Trade shows are still a viable venue for having those face-to-face, human-to-human conversations we want to have with current and future customers. We add science to the art by using data and analytics to choose which trade shows we attend, based on which ones will actually drive the desired results for the buying personas we’ve identified.”— Karen Walker, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Cisco.

As digital opportunities grow, so does the importance of forging strong relationships with customers. As we’ve heard over and over again, customers do business with people they trust. No number of emails or phone calls can replace a face-to-face greeting and handshake.

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