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.