Conspicuously Absent? The Tradeshow Conundrum

RoutingDist330x220-1113Often, we tend to question the importance of attending yearly trade shows. With rising costs on all levels of attending a trade show, we end up second-guessing the commitments we have set in year’s past. When preparing for a trade show, in many cases, a majority of your marketing budget may be spent without being able to measure the return on your investment. Furthermore, your previous trade show appearances only set a level for a bigger-and-better showing this coming year. All of this equates to more money being spent and an even larger uncertainty of how well this money spent converts into sales.

Uncertainty always leads to further doubts. Will your efforts this year be rewarded with sales growth that can be directly correlated with your trade show appearance? What will you have to show for the amount of manpower, money, and time you’ve invested into this grand appearance? This is where most trade show quandary’s hit a roadblock.

While facing this quandary year-after-year myself, I have compiled numerous resources over the years that I have attempted use to assist in my decision making to attend a trade show. With some of the tools I use you will be able to provide ‘expected’ return on investment numbers along with alternatives to the traditional booth setup. Combine all of this information together and you will be able to better ‘rationalize’ your decision to attend or not to attend a trade show.

Trade Show Articles

Do Trade Shows Still Have Value?

I have found this article published by MPI to be extremely helpful in providing information on the value of attending a trade show. Studies by The Center of Exhibition Industry Research can also be found in this article to further support the importance of attending trade shows.

“It’s Time to Think Beyond the Trade Show Booth”

This article explains how to look beyond the traditional exhibit-hall formats. By thinking outside of the box, this article will provide ideas on how to create unique experiences for trade show attendees.

“How to Choose Which Trade Shows to Exhibit At”

To further support the above, this article provides insight on deciding if the next trade show is right for you, along with alternative options to the common trade show booth setup.

Return on Investment (ROI) Calculator

ROI Tool Kit – By CEIR

This is a completely free ROI calculator. Along with the ROI calculator, you will also be able to access other calculators that can help decide how many staff members you will need, the amount of space needed and also post-event measurement tools.

Part of a successful trade show is the planning and data acquisition to strengthen your reasons to attend or not to attend the next trade show. Yes — trade shows are a great opportunity to meet with a large number of people from diverse locations. Yes — InfoComm (and other industry associations) continues to publish ‘record attendance’ year over year.

However, important questions still remain: Is there a better use for marketing dollars that would have a greater ROI, allow you to focus on your core customers and have more productive, more meaningful meetings than at a trade show? Would alternatives like regional sales shows, product trainings or seminars actually have a greater NPV? Being conspicuously absent might actually have more value than we think.