Trade shows. Trade fairs. Expos. No matter what you call them, these exhibitions are organized to allow members of the related industry an opportunity to demonstrate and discuss their products and services. The concept of the trade show has been around since Medieval times, tracing as far back as the 12th century in Europe. Even after nearly a millennium, however, the basic goal of a trade show has largely remained unchanged: connecting sellers and buyers in a central location. Because of that basic premise, trade shows are still prominent opportunities for companies of all sizes to exhibit their wares in front of a curious, prospective, and attentive audience.
Held in large facilities like Boston's BCEC and Hynes Convention Center, these major events are usually held once every year nationally or internationally, and sometimes even more frequently on a regional basis. From the conventional to the mainstream to the downright unexpected, there are trade shows for every industry you can imagine.
Whether you are part of a small business, startup, or new company, here are three reasons why your organization should consider taking part in the next upcoming trade show for your industry.
1. Face to face meetings
Trade shows are often set up to create an organized, consistent flow of traffic to your booth for the duration of the expo. The high volume of people passing through offers the opportunity for a large number of face to face conversations with prospective customers. With the right preparation, limited time and limited space works in your favor in these situations. Because of the very constraints of trade show traffic, meetings are brief and to the point. This represents low risk on both sides and allows people to be more honest in their level of interest.
2. Self-qualified leads
Most major trade shows require a (sometimes sizable) entrance fee for all attendees. That, combined with the industry specific nature of these expos, ensures that the people in attendance are there for a reason. That means that every person who stops at your booth is asking to be sold on who you are, what you do, and why you can help. Even an individual who is shy, or doesn’t have time for a face to face meeting, can take your literature and get back to you later.
3. Bang for your buck
Trade fairs represent a powerful opportunity to spread a large amount of marketing material across a wide geography in a short period of time. Whether you bring brochures, custom branded calendars, postcards, or even specialty promotional products like stress relief balls and pens, choosing the right material means that your company’s name and brand will sit on your target market’s desk for a long time. By budgeting wisely, and opting for materials that are useful to trade fair attendees, you ensure that your organization will be top of mind the next time your potential customers need your services.