"The trade show business must be dying.” The lawyer, whom I had just met at a reception, was convinced that the Internet was making trade shows unnecessary.
Trade shows were an important marketing channel 25 years ago…100 years ago. In fact, trade fairs were a means of conducting business in medieval Europe. I believe that they are important today and will continue to be for many years. The day may come when some aspects of trade shows can be conducted effectively via the Internet. Who knows how virtual reality will change things. But the technology isn’t there yet.
As a trade show attendee, I am interested in learning about emerging technology from companies I have never heard of. I want to learn how other organizations are coping with challenges faced by my company. Because to a great extent I don’t know what I don’t know, trade shows are invaluable.
A trade show might be my only opportunity to get together with friends from my industry. There is the possibility of meeting new people and developing new relationships. You can form a bond over dinner or drinks that would be impossible to make over the Internet.
Here are 7 things to do before making your decision to attend:
- Outline your objectives in attending the event.
- Before signing up for a trade show, scope it out: How many people attended last year? How many organizations exhibited? Who will be exhibiting this year?
- Are seminars being offered? Who are the speakers?
- Check the event’s Twitter #hashtag to see who is tweeting about it. Anyone you know? Anyone you want to know?
- Check the event’s Facebook page.
- If you have a Tripit account, periodically check to see if anyone you know or want to know plans on traveling to the event city at the time of the event.
- Taking the above into account, do the benefits of attending out way the projected cost?