When you’re trying to implement new marketing strategies to improve your ROI, a Google search for content marketing ideas can make you feel like you’re grasping at straws.
Video production, organic social media, Facebook ads, webinars, and other content marketing tactics all require resources that you may not have access to or be ready to utilize just yet. You also might not have the time to commit to learning about these options when you’re looking for immediate results.
In the constantly evolving stages of content marketing, what if an often overlooked strategy remains one of those most effective? That strategy is a simple face-to-face meeting and a handshake.
The Content Marketing Institute seems to agree. In-person events remain one of the most effective forms of content marketing.
There is always a debate surrounding the most effective methods for generating leads. You’re here because you understand that all leads are not created equal. From a single trade show, how many leads do you think you can generate? 100? 300? 500?
Leads from in-person events, such as trade shows, have a unique advantage over leads sourced through the phone or internet: they have a face attached to them. You get to understand the client’s needs, and they get to understand your capabilities, in a much more comprehensive manner than would be possible in any chat log or email chain. How long would it take to organize hundreds of face-to-face meetings between your sales team and leads? This tedious process could take months, even for the most efficient teams. If you plan correctly for a trade show, you can consolidate hundreds of these meetings into a single weekend.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of ten helpful trade show statistics that are sure to maximize your ROI and make your next exhibiting experience memorable and worthwhile – for both your company and your clients.
1. Trade Shows Deliver Unique Value
Let’s double down on the fact that not all leads are created equal.
99% of businesses that exhibit at trade shows can attest to this claim. These businesses report that trade shows offer unique value that can’t be provided by other marketing channels, which is why they spend so much time developing marketing strategies for exhibiting.
This concentration of in-person interactions leads to higher conversion rates at trade shows. These individuals are walking around and coming directly to you. The power of touch cannot be understated – eye contact and a handshake can leave a much more meaningful impression than online communication. Those visiting your booth have control of the engagement – they’re speaking to you because they want to learn more. Doesn’t that sound nice for a change? We spend all this money and effort to reach out and flag down passersby and here they are, seeking your company out in person.
Count them as pre-qualified leads. Maybe they’re on the fence, but them wandering into your space makes it easier for your sales staff to convert.
This is where the trade show follow-up comes in. It is highly important to follow up with every potential client who provided their information. Letting them know that you appreciated the opportunity to interact with them, and reminding them of the value you can provide their brand, is essential to the conversion. Even a quick “thank you” will go a long way.
2. Exhibitors Get More for Their Money
Attending trade shows is one of the most cost-efficient ways for exhibitors to make meaningful connections and generate high-potential leads.
The estimated cost of a face-to-face meeting with a lead at a trade show is $142. On the other hand, the cost of a regular in-person interaction at a potential client’s office would be roughly $259.
81% of trade show attendees hold buying power. Even if you stumble across the 19% who don’t, over half of them will be likely to schedule an appointment with one of your salespeople for a future date.
Even stepping away from your booth is a good way to make these types of connections. Meeting people on the floor, in the bar, and at other events within the show is a good way to branch out.
3. Goals: Exhibitors vs. Attendees
Exhibitors attend trade shows to pursue the following goals:
- Increase Sales
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Interact with existing clients
There’s a running theme here. Exhibitors tend to utilize trade shows for customer management. Not only do they actively seek out new customers, but they nurture existing relationships as well. It can be tough to maintain meaningful relationships with clients whom you have connected in the past.
What about attendees? The primary reason for attendees to visit trade shows is almost universal:
92% of trade show attendees are there to view demos of new products. Keep that in mind when planning. Offering up a new product or service is what will draw the most eyeballs – of both new and established customers – onto your exhibit.
4. Revenue Generated from Trade Show Meetings
Leads are nice, but revenue generation is what matters at the end of the day. Therefore, you want to make sure that you can experience revenue growth as a result of investing in trade show exhibits.
The Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council found that 6 million international participants generated $38 billion directly from trade show meetings.
There is plenty of revenue to be made. Good preparation pays dividends to those who exhibit at trade shows. We hope that the statistics within this article help you carve out a plan to maximize your potential at a show before attending.
5. Attendees are likely to find new suppliers
If you don’t flaunt your brand and its competitive advantages at trade shows, your competition will. Showing off your brand at events like these will keep you at the top of the customers’ minds, and deflect attention away from your competitors.
77% of attendees will find, at a minimum, one new supplier – and that goes to show that they’re actively looking. A trade show boils down to leading the horse to water, and you want to make sure that potential clients are being led to the right place.
If you want to learn about how to attract the 77% of attendees who are looking for new a new supplier, read these secrets to success.
6. Companies Dedicate Jobs to Event Planning
The companies gaining the most benefit from trade shows understand their ROI so well that they often hire dedicated staff whose only job is to focus on the handful of events that the company prepares for each year.
These are positions called event planning and management employees, and this tactic is becoming more and more prevalent as the competition skyrockets.
Now, we aren’t suggesting you go recruit event planning majors at the state university down the road… But your competitors are. The very least you can do is exhibit at these trade shows and define to the attendees how you stand out from alternative options. You don’t need your own event planner to do this, just a knowledgeable team of employees to attract your potential leads.
7. Retention is Important
Let’s move on to think about nurturing the relationships you already have established. Over half of marketers have said that trade shows and similar events also help to strengthen their existing customer relationships.
This act of relationship nurturing helps to ensure that your connection with clients stays strong throughout the years, and keeps both sides up-to-date on changes and important aspects of your business relationship. Nobody wants to work with a client that feels stagnant – show off to your existing customers what you’ve been working on recently to keep things fresh and engaging.
8. 1/4 of Marketing Budgets Go Towards Events
To further investigate how much companies dedicate towards trade shows, let’s take a look at their budget allocation.
Studies show that B2B companies spend 29% of their entire marketing budget on live events such as trade shows, while B2C companies spend about 19% of their marketing budget. This may seem excessive to the naked eye, given the relative infrequency of these major events. However, based on these expenditures, it’s clear to see how important these companies feel trade shows are for their customer relationships, brand recognition, and sales.
With all of the planning, designing, and renting that goes into a successful exhibition, these numbers make sense. Strategically using trade show services can help to improve cost and time efficiency and develop a quality representation of your brand.
9. Tech Tactics
Trade show exhibit booths are evolving. They’re a practical use of space, often used not only as an eye-catcher but also as a useful way to allow your leads to interact with your brand. By extending your booth with computer portals or gimmicks like photo booths and other interactive displays and software, you can draw extended retention within your exhibit booth.
Of the most popular technologies that marketers use to give them a competitive edge, 45% say photo booths are the most popular, 44% use event apps, and another 44% use live streaming tools.
The use of live streaming is a brand new concept. Technology for these kinds of tools has only been around for a handful of years. However, the companies utilizing this tactic are reaping the benefits. For example, trade show organizers have found that those interested enough to watch a live stream of an event are 30% more likely to attend the following year.
That’s a huge advantage for your company. If you can live stream from your exhibit, you’ll be at the forefront of potential customers’ minds for the following year, and all those new attendees will want to visit your exhibit.
The companies that find the most success from in-person events prove themselves to be thought leaders. Incorporating a variety of high-tech aspects to your exhibit, as trivial as they may seem, will build up your company’s image and reputation.
10. How You Pioneer Industry Trends
We have covered how attendees want to see “new.” That’s great, but not every business can come to each trade show with a brand new product. In today’s world, if you plan to exhibit at three trade shows, by the third one, your novel new product will no longer retain its novelty.
So how do you stay fresh? You need to own the new trends in your industry. If you find ways to show how your company is leading in a particular way, that’s your free way of bringing something “new” to the event.
Let’s just take the fast-moving consumer goods industry as an example. In 2018, e-commerce equated about 6% of total FMCG sales. Nielson reports that by 2022, e-commerce will swell to the excess of $400b, accounting for 12% of total FMCG sales.
If you’re an FMCG manufacturer, you can educate your leads on subjects like this, and describe how you plan to add value to your customers with this new information in mind.
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