In an age when almost everything has gone digital, some have raised doubts regarding the staying power that trade shows have in today's marketing landscape. Fortunately for managers and exhibitors alike, the age of the exhibition is far from over - in fact, with instant gratification causing many unreliable products to push through to the mainstream, customers are slowly learning to appreciate the hands on, one-to-one experience that these events offer.
Businesses remain aware of the importance of trade shows if numbers are any indication, with Trade Show News Network reporting that buyer-to-buyer exhibitions allotted for 39.2 percent of B2B budgets nationwide in 2013. The study also revealed that more than 80 percent of attendees can be considered to have "buying authority," or are viable consumers who are actively seeking out products to use within their companies. That rate of potential lead generation is unheard of in any other corner of marketing efforts, so funds invested in a terrific booth and top staffers could pay off more than any campaign in the fiscal year.
Forbes writer Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle wrote an editorial piece supporting the continued popularity of trade shows, and claimed that its potential for lead retrieval was more powerful than most marketing efforts.
"By attending trade shows," she explained, "retailers have access to new vendors, established vendor partners and service providers that all cater to their unique retail market. As Candella from Emerald Expositions stated, this in person experience offers value well beyond just identifying products, but also expands into total store operational success."
The opportunity to begin a partnership with new clients with a firm handshake and in-person pitch can be far more effective in sealing a sale than a passing billboard or targeted email copy. No matter how digital our society grows, there's no substitute for meeting in person, the main advantage that the cultural relevance of trade shows offers exhibitors and attendees alike.