Episode 2 – Why you should exhibit at a trade show?

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Why you should exhibit at a trade show?

This is one of the most fundamental questions when it comes to exhibiting.

Trade shows can be:

  • Expensive
  • Stressful
  • Drain resources
  • Uncertain when it comes to lead generation       

Well…at least that is what many business people think! So, why do companies exhibit at trade shows? Why attend a trade show? What is the purpose of a show? Why should you invest time, money, and resources to exhibit?

Definition TRADE SHOW:

‘An exhibition/event at which businesses in a particular industry promote their products and services’ (Dictionary)

Traditionally they are face-to-face meetings in an exhibition hall or ground where products/services are showcased, demonstrated and can be trialled. Often there are time-sensitive discounts or other incentives to make the sale.

In the events industry, a handshake still means something. The personal connection is of high value. The organisers will work hard to get the decision-makers of the industry into the hall where it is the exhibitors’ job to get those important leads onto the stand and start building a relationship.

There is no other way of getting someone’s contact details this easy (without breaking any GDPR rules) and there is no other way of having a high-quality contact put in front of you like this.


Fishing in wild water (lake, river, sea) takes time. Your baiting strategy needs to be spot on and you need patience. Plus, you only might catch a small fish or even the wrong kind.

If you go to a fishing farm, you will catch many fish quickly at the size you want and the kind of fish you want. This is what trade shows act like – concentrated visitors of a certain type and size which are easier to ‘catch’.

Other than cold calling, list buying or driving around to knock on doors which is hard work with a large time and money investment, but little output.

Reasons to exhibit at a show:

  • Industry-specific; the right audience is put in front of you; 81% of visitors have buying power!
  • Create brand awareness; recognition factor (put a face to a logo)
  • Exhibit to show off goods
  • ‘Foot in the door’ without being annoying or pushy; 90% of visitors are looking for new products
  • Explore what the competition does
  • Find out news and new developments in your industry
  • Form connections with other companies (collaboration or supplier)
  • Modern versions of trade shows. You might have heard of online or hybrid events (link to other blog about hybrid!).

Benefits of online events:

  • Global reach
  • Increased reach
  • Cheaper (no travel, setup, amount of manpower,…)
  • Grow your emails list by sign ups
  • Grow LinkedIn connections
  • Collect important data

Challenges of online events:

  • Harder to keep the visitor engaged/ in the virtual room
  • Time zones can be challenging
  • Software/technical challenges

Online events are nothing new really, but the recent pandemic has exhilarated the amount of them and also the quality they are presented in. There are many companies out there that have developed platforms where you can create an interesting and enticing virtual space for visitors to stay and explore while important data is collected.

Fact is when your event (in person or online) is planned well, your team has got a clear objective, your brand is shown and you shout about the event (marketing plan!) then a trade show can be a very successful marketing tool for your business. Your potential customer list will grow fast, which will increase sales.

64% of visitors to shows are not a customer yet – now there is potential!

If you want to find out if exhibiting is of value for your business and which trade shows would suit your products or services best, get in touch.

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Annika Bowhay Marketing - Advertising Services Hereford

Annika Bowhay

Trade show and marketing expert

Hi, I am Annika – your go-to person with everything trade shows and marketing related. With my experience of over 15 years in marketing and sales and expertise in the trade show sector I can promise you more engagement and leads.

Annika Bowhay

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