Trade shows are primarily social events with their stand visits, drinks, dinners shared with customers and potential customers. Some are then tempted to conclude that trade shows are nothing more than a waste of time and money for exhibitors and visitors alike. I wouldn’t go that far, even if I myself spent my quota of hours walking these concrete walkways with the only real results: sore feet, horrible back pain and it must be admitted, not great -something to show to justify my efforts. Trade shows can be very hard on the body and often the more popular the destination the greater the chance of it being a complete waste of time and money for exhibitors and attendees.
Your sales team will fight to the death to keep those trade show investments. In general, if you ask your salespeople why they care so much about trade shows, you’ll Bahrain Email List probably get these answers: We’ve exhibited at ‘here is the name of the show’ for years, if we stop going everyone will think we’re doing badly” (this one’s my favorite). Each of these arguments becomes obsolete in the face of a good digital marketing strategy. In some cases, companies go to trade shows to sell their products directly. This may indeed be one of the cases where a trade show can produce a decent return on investment, but it deserves careful analysis nonetheless.
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Indeed, what is the gross margin for products sold at a trade show? You may find that you are losing money if you include salon costs and staff time. Is it worth spending 100,000 euros on a trade show to make a profit of 25,000 euros? Your turn to judge. Suppose you rent a 20 square meter stand at your favorite annual trade show for 10,000 euros. You send 4 of your sales representatives based in France and 2 Product managers based in Europe. Add in travel, food, shipping, booth setup, and event extras and you very quickly reach an expense of $50,000 for a 3-day trade show. Let’s say the venue can accommodate 25,000 people.
You receive around 150 visitors on your stand during the 3 days and collect around 100 new qualified leads. Not too bad ? Let’s say that your products cost an average of 5000 euros with a gross margin of 20%, or 1000 euros. The cost of acquisition seems even more enormous in view of the gain obtained. A webinar with a well-chosen topic can easily garner hundreds of registrants and hundreds of attendees. Not only is the cost, per person registered, about 10% of that of a visitor to the show, but you also capture their attention for a period of 30 to 60 minutes.
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Which is more interesting than a 3 minute visit to a trade show booth. Try a live seminar. A live seminar can attract between 20 and 200 attendees, depending on the topic. What do you prefer, 100 people stopping by your stand for 3 to 5 minutes or 20 people spending half a day with you during a seminar on a subject that concerns them? Try exhibiting at online expos. You can really generate qualified leads through permanent exhibition sites that have a lot of traffic and generally rather qualified. Admittedly, you will mainly have prospects at the end of the buying process, but their acquisition cost remains much lower than that of most trade fairs.
You will get better inbound sales in the industry. Instead of spending 500,000 euros on trade shows, which is often your entire marketing budget, rebalance your expenses by starting, for example, by allocating half of it to your digital marketing and the training of your sales representatives in inbound sales . all the more reason to prepare things well. Gradually reduce your investment in trade shows, switching it year after year to a digital marketing strategy , as you collect data proving the ROI of your inbound b2b marketing and inbound sales actions. If you want to dive deeper into trade shows in the industry, I recommend this white paper which I’m sure will answer your organizing questions.