Trade Show ROI, Bottom Line Justification

Why should my company participate in trade shows? Regardless of company size, trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to collect qualified leads, make sales and build relationships.

Research by Exhibit Surveys indicates that only 0.8 calls are needed to close a qualified trade show lead, compared to 3.7 calls to close a typical business sale.
Trade shows can complement your other sales and marketing mediums. Choose and use them well to realize the full benefits. Consider these benefits:

More bang for your buck
Trade shows are one of the most cost-effective ways for your company to reach qualified audiences. According to a study by Exhibit Surveys Inc., the average cost per visitor reached at a trade show is $177, while the average cost of a field sales call is $295. You do the math.

Less work, more fulfilling
Trade show sales leads require less effort to close. Research by Exhibit Surveys indicates that only .8 calls are needed to close a qualified trade show lead, compared to 3.7 calls to close a typical business sale. Also, 54 percent of all orders placed as a result of a trade show lead require no personal follow-up visit, according to another study by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation.

Fresh faces
A study by Exhibit Surveys shows only 12 percent of the average exhibitor’s booth traffic have been called on by a salesperson from that company in the 12 months prior to the show; 88 percent are new prospects. Furthermore, trade shows bring you high-quality visitors. Eighty-two percent of an exhibit’s visitors have buying influence for the exhibiting company’s products or services, and 49 percent of an exhibit’s visitors are planning to buy those products or services.

Competitive edge
Trade shows offer your company another opportunity to stand out from the crowd. You can outshine the competition with a well-trained booth staff, aggressive pre- and at-show promotion, eye-catching booth design, and conscientious follow-up after the show. Also, trade show attendees use the opportunity to "comparison shop." So this is your opening to point out where your product is superior – in performance, pricing, service, etc.

"Face time"
You can reach more prospects in a three-day period than your sales force can in three months. Meeting prospects face to face is also the fastest way to build relationships.

Customer bonding
Customer service is a hot topic for many companies. Trade shows are an excellent place to reinforce existing customer relationships. Say "thanks" to key customers with hospitality suites, one-on-one dinners or special services, such as transportation to and from the convention center.

Hands-on learning
How much of your product line can your salespeople actually carry with them and demonstrate on the road? Probably not much. Trade shows are a great place for prospects to "test drive" your products.

Competitive analysis
The trade show floor provides an invaluable opportunity to study the competition. Where else can you find out so much information on a competitor’s new product offerings, pricing and marketing strategies? Much can be learned by just watching and listening.

Media spotlight
Most shows (especially large events) attract lots of media attention. Use this to your advantage to gain media exposure. Be sure to invite key press contacts to visit your booth.

Survey says
Trade shows offer a great opportunity to conduct market research. If you’re considering launching a new product or service, you can survey show attendees on pricing, distribution, features and benefits, and minimum quality requirements, among others.

Source: Marketing-For-Small-Business.com

If you would like more information on this topic or if you would like to suggest a topic for a future article, please contact Exhibitor's Journal.

Current Trade Show Trends – Word of Mouth

First, let's talk "Word of Mouth." A quick search turns up numerous white papers, blog posts, and conference presentations on the topic. If we didn't know better, we'd swear it was just discovered. It wasn't, but there are several reasons why so many of us have a renewed interest in it.

Word of mouth (WOM) has a profound influence on those making purchasing decisions. You can almost hear the cash register ring every time a client or prospect talks favorably about your product or service. So what can you do at your next trade show or event to get people talking? First you need to engage your target audience – then you need to give them something to talk about.

Engaging Your Audience
One of the fundamental benefits of any event is your ability to interact face-to-face with people. The key is to create an "experience" the person can share with others:

Product Demonstrations: Appeal to the senses and invite your audience to participate in the demonstration, handle the product sample or brochures, and always ask for their real-time feedback . To create buzz your demos need to be interactive, relevant and compelling. You want to convey a simple story that your audience can easily share with others.

Interact: Allowing attendees to send email from a booth is becoming popular at trade shows and events. As is taking photos of attendees in front of your exhibit. During or shortly after the event you can send the attendee a white paper or other product info they request along with their photo.

If you're really savvy, you can incorporate their photo into future newsletters you send or post the photos on your website. A simple web page that says, "Thanks for stopping by to see us" can go a long way.

Also, if you conduct interviews or surveys at events make them interactive – never hand someone a survey on a clip-board and ask them to fill it out by themselves.

Honesty: It goes without saying integrity is a high priority in any message or experience you share with your customers and prospects. Your goal is to provide a mechanism for others to share their "honest" opinions more effectively.

Hang Time: Create "hang time" when offering attendees your giveaways – prepare brief conversations to go along with each item. For example, you could inform the attendee that you are deciding between 2 or 3 giveaways for future shows. Ask them to select one and tell you why they selected it. Once they made their selection, be prepared to explain the connection between the giveaway and your company. This is your chance to provide them with compelling product information they can share with others.

Incentives Work: Create incentives for any future action taken by event or trade show attendees (website visits, white paper downloads, newsletter subscription, etc.). Make sure the incentive has real value so the person taking action can share the experience with others.

Creative Marketing Strategies – To blog or not to blog?

Blog: (n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author. (Definition from Webopedia.com)

First things first. Are blogs really all that popular? Blogs have become so mainstream that the word “blog” was Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2004. It appears AOL also thinks blogs are an important part of business:

  • AOL Buys Weblogs to Boost Blog Presence – AP article from Forbes.
    America Online Inc. will inherit popular Web journals as part of a $25 million deal that expands AOL's presence in the blogging community.

(Please note these links will take a few seconds to load their images, etc.)

If you are new to the concept of blogging, you might want to start with a few articles concerning basic blog concepts.

www.blogarama.com is one of many blog directories. Earlier this year, they published several basic articles on blogging such as:

Jon Fine's blog, the media columnist for Business Week, is a new blog covering media and advertising:

Want to know what a successful ad agency owner in New York City thinks made him a successful leader? He was asked, "If you had to boil it down to one thing, what would you say is the most important thing you do?"

  • FC Now – The Fast Company Weblog

Interested in a little of everything concerning advertising? Try AdFreak:

Is your company considering a "Pay-Per-Click" (PPC) ad campaign? If so, how much should you pay for keyword search terms? This blog article takes a basic look at possible bid strategies and how best to decide on bid prices:

It appears blogging is here to stay. Let us know if your company has launched a successful blog.