Long boozy nights in the Metropole

A discussion at HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog from the USA wonders if the trade show is in permanent decline. Are Marketing Dollars Shifting? Exhibit Industry Down 12.5% says “Trade shows work for some companies. The bigger question is, do they work more effectively than other marketing tactics?” There’s only so much trimming and efficiency-increasing you can do on each part of the marketing mix. Eventually, in a downturn, individual components have to go, and an entire trade show is likely to be the biggest single item in a company’s marketing spend. But even before this, the article says, companies are looking at the interesting new alternatives available online. Cancel a single fairly small trade show and it’d pay for a substantial pay-per-click advertising campaign for a year, allow you to develop a corporate blog, cover the improvement of search engine optimization for your website, allow landing pages and custom forms to be developed for your key products, or comfortably launch a social media marketing program. I’d go further than that, and say you don’t even have to choose between them. For the money which most industrial companies get fleeced for a trade show, you could do all of those. But hey, if those long boozy nights in the Metropole at the NEC are what appeal to you, I guess that you’re not the type of person who’s going to find online marketing an attractive alternative.

Discussion

  1. David Stonier-Gibson

    We gave up trade shows ages ago. All we ever got was empty pockets and sore feet. I am however contemplating more modest table top exhibitions run by special interest societies. I expect people visit those with more serious intent than the big shows.

  2. Iain Thornton

    Trade shows are costly and often embarked with no clear objective; how many times have I heard people say things like “we’re here because we’ve always attended this show” and “what would people think if we stopped attending”. We have dropped many of our ‘traditional’ events in the past 2-3 years with no detrimental effect on sales.

    However, this hasn’t been because trade shows as such no longer have a place in our marketing mix just that these particular events no longer offered value for us. Successful shows provide us with great qualiative feedback from customers and potential customers and provide an ‘all under one roof’ showcase for the industry allowing us to talk with industry peers, suppliers and competitors. They provide a base to meet with customers; event websites often drive as much referred traffic to our website as any of our directory entries and with no a direct sales team these evenet provide us the opportunity for face to face interaction with customers – any sales leads are almost a bonus.

    There are certainly events out there bucking any declining trend – Husumwind in Germany, for example, has a waiting list for their 2012 event even before the 2010 event has taken place.

    Online marketing is, of course, an increasingly large part of every company’s marketing mix but the synergistic benefit of an integrated plan encompassing multiple media including trade shows if appropriate should not be ignored. Trimming costs is possible through smaller booths, less complex stands, less freebies (do they really make a difference?), perhaps less costly hotels and expenses and perhaps if the industry is contracting perhaps we will see floor space prices fall.

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