Organizations crunching their 2014 marketing budgets may not be considering trade shows as part of their yearly campaigns. However, companies should think about investing more into these events if they truly want to connect with prospects and industry professionals on a more personal level. Such gatherings may be a firm's best bet to communicate with a large number of people in a short amount of time.
Business 2 Community's Belinda Lui recently highlighted some trends that are impacting trade shows. The writer noted that such events are often an afterthought of companies' marketing budgets and that the economic situation has done little to change this fact.
"The days of big, heavy, hard wall designs are virtually gone. Simpler designs from aluminum frames with lightweight fabric graphics are more common. Exhibitors benefit from smaller, lighter packaging that results in reduced shipping and labor costs. Several businesses have 'scaled back' in order to 'scale up'. They are really looking at the shows they attend to see if they are actually good shows for them or if they were just going because they've always gone or because their competitors go," Lui wrote.
Some companies have implemented smaller booths to spend more on design aesthetics. Lui indicated that this has caused businesses to attend less shows annually, but get the most out of the events they do participate in instead.
The role of technology
Advancements in technology may help businesses do more with less in terms of their overall marketing investments. For example, brands today can use social media and mobile campaigns to reach a broad audience, connecting with customers using smartphones and tablets. For trade shows, these channels are especially effective for firms that want to promote upcoming events. Organizations should take to Facebook and Twitter to publish where trade shows will be held, where their booths are located and when product demonstrations will commence.
A custom mobile application can also serve its purpose during a trade show. Businesses should consider developing their own app for upcoming events to make sure audiences using their mobile gadgets always have the most timely information in the palm of their hands.
Technology is also playing a major role in the development of trade show booths. Lui indicated that electronic picture frames are a cost-effective option for companies that want to reduce costs and avoid paying for static graphics. This approach will only become even more affordable in the near future as the prices of LED lights and digital signage decline.
Rather than only considering trade shows after the main marketing budget has been distributed, businesses should consider increasing their spending on these events in 2014 and beyond. Other campaigns do not give audiences a face-to-face look at a brand's innovative products and services like a trade show can. Just one successful event may convert prospects into loyal customers and connect the firm with industry professionals who can take the company to new heights.