Business Of Fashion How To Maximise Your Influencer Strategy Considering Trade Shows To Grow Your Sales? Consider Another Way

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Considering Trade Shows To Grow Your Sales? Consider Another Way

If YOUR company participates in one or more fairs annually, this article is for you. There is a far better way to invest your money to strengthen your brand and win customers.

When planning your annual marketing spend, choosing the best trade shows to exhibit at can be a painful process. Each event can be a significant investment and there are plenty to choose from. The question most industry companies should be asking themselves is not “Which shows are the best for us?”

The question they should be asking is “What else can we do with our marketing budget?”

Industrial manufacturers and distributors invest in fairs because they see it as a good opportunity to show their products and talk about their services to current and potential customers. These companies believe that it is justified to spend a portion of their marketing budget in this way. They read that trade show attendance is rebounding from the slump of the last decade and there are more events than ever. From the prestigious international exhibitions to the smaller regional shows, it seems there are opportunities to get in front of a lot of people. Another perceived benefit of exhibiting is that the time required to close a sale from a trade show lead is half the average sales cycle time. It is a reasonable reasoning to exhibit, considering the above points.

The problem, however, is that fairs don’t carry the value they once did. The cost to attend has risen significantly and the return on investment just isn’t there, yet companies continue to exhibit.

Let’s consider the total cost of attending a trade show. There is cabin registration, utilities, carpet and the lead retrieval machine. However, it does not stop there, but these are the costs that are typically taken into account for budgeting purposes. Other costs include freight, exhibit materials, travel and hotel rooms for your staff, meals and parking. All in all, these are significant, and don’t forget the time investment for your employees. What else could they do?

Using a modest 10’x 20′ booth space at a typical industry trade show as an example, the cost of the actual booth and items commonly associated with it is usually in the neighborhood of $10,000. However, the TOTAL cost for this same fair could easily exceed $20,000 when all things considered. If you’ve exhibited at an exhibition recently, add all the individual fees together to see what your total cost was. Then try to figure out what incremental business came to you as a result of the show. If you are in the majority, you will find that the return on your investment was not good at all. Next, consider ALL the shows you’ve attended over the past twelve months.

You’ll hear the common refrain: “You really have to attend or you’ll be conspicuous by your absence.” Really? Look at a well-attended fair and what do you see? There are a lot of people moving around and they probably see a lot of things. However, it is my contention that they have seen it all before and after a while the exhibits start to look the same. The exhibitors have become what they should fear most, invisible. Fairs have transformed from being informative and practical to social gatherings. For the most part, people do not attend trade shows with the intention of buying something. If they walk away with something tangible, other than give-away items, that’s unusual. By the way, have you ever noticed how people love to collect free tote bags?

The good news is that there is always a way to reach potential customers. While the social aspects of the trade show experience have value, customers are affected differently than in the past. As a former director of sales and marketing, I witnessed the role of the trade show change significantly and I implemented alternative means of gaining market share that were successful AND far less expensive.

Don’t get me wrong – I love free pens and candy as much as the next person, but when it comes to actual sales, I have to believe that industrial business owners want to get more out of show attendance than what they’re getting these days. The message about their value proposition just doesn’t get through at the show.

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