The trade show circuit, one of the oldest forms of marketing known to man. Does that seem like an exaggeration? Well if you look at it from a fundamental standpoint, a trade show is simply word-of- mouth marketing writ large. It’s basically an opportunity to stand in front of someone, give a sales pitch, and have in-depth discussions about your business. That is a process as old as time itself. Yet how often businesses turn their noses up at the idea of attending a few trade shows every year! We can’t figure out why! If you are one of them, look at these 5 reasons to research and attend your own trade show circuit.
1) Education – One of the biggest challenges for any business is continually keeping up to date with the latest and greatest goings-on in their vertical (let alone other verticals). Creating a tailored trade show circuit allows you to see what other businesses are doing and learn where your industry may be headed. You can even explore and learn more about other markets that you might want to penetrate in order to expand your brand.
2) In-Depth Networking – Yes, networking goes on at every trade show across the country. However, you can research the shows your potential and current clients are attending. That way you can schedule networking meetings around your booth or presence at the show. A lot of businesses think of this as a side benefit and not as a goal for the event in and of itself. Don’t get lost in the idea that foot traffic and spreading the brand is the primary goal. A good use of time is setting up 5-10 meetings over the course of 3 days. The will often turn out to be the most powerfully focused conversations you’ll have all year.
3) Training – One of the biggest benefits of attending trade shows is giving new recruits a chance to hone their knowledge of your company. You put them in a situation where they can talk about it the business with others. True, not everyone is good at speaking to other people. Some people even dread it. But, the insights they learn from engaging others and talking about what they do for your business is immeasurable. Teaching can be one of the greatest ways to learn. Throw your team into an environment around an industry on the very edge of what you do to expand their understanding. It is also great for your brand and how to help grow your business.
“A trade show circuit can lead to the most powerful conversations you may have all year.”
4) Viability Testing – Another great resource at a trade show is a captive audience ready to try things and give feedback. Whether you have a product or a service, it is always recommended that you test it out on a sample group. That way you can see how likely it will work in a larger setting. You can design a trade show circuit that hand-picks different demographics on which to test your product or service.
5) Client Relations – A trade show doesn’t have to always be about new clients. Sometimes it can be about building a better relationship with existing clients. Bring some clients with you to the show. Let them explore on “your dime” and continually engage them while they are there. Creating an environment for your clients where they feel you are working for their best interests can only help your relationship long-term.
So, don’t be restricted by generic ways of thinking about a marketing resource that has been around forever. Think outside the box, think longer term, and think creatively to make it work in wonderful new ways for you.