Tradeshow strategy is an important and costly element of the marketing mix.
Are massive industry tradeshows running out of steam across all industries? Does the cost for manufacturers to exhibit in national tradeshows outweigh the benefits? Is it unrealistic for customers or prospects to travel across the United States for national shows due to cost? Is it time for supporters and sponsors to shift their thinking to regional events where costs can be managed for the exhibitor and attendance can be increased for the attendee?
Building Product manufacturers hear the statistics, attendee registration is up! Exhibitor attendance is as strong as ever! Historically the International Builders Show (IBS) (sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders) is the can’t miss event of the year for building product manufacturers. However, despite the buzz, attendees cannot afford the cost to attend to realize the benefits.
Across multiple industries, manufacturers are opting out of annual tradeshow participation for many reasons:
- Exhibit Space Cost
- Exhibit Labor Cost
- Customer Entertainment
Total these items and it is not cost effective for international companies to participate in events that were one time “can’t miss”.
However, the benefits cannot be ignored, tradeshows provide exhibitors the following items from a recent whitepaper from the Business Marketing Association (BMA):
- They provide the best opportunity to see exactly what a product looks like
- They provide the best opportunity to evaluate how a product works
- They are the easiest way to evaluate competitive products
- They are the most convenient way to find out who makes the types of products wanted
- Exhibitors say trade shows are more effective than other marketing tools in two primary areas:
- Meeting objective
- Generating sales leads
- Taking orders
- Introducing new products and services
- Promoting brand image
- Promoting company awareness
- Entering new markets
- Meeting objective
- Cost effective to reach targeted audiences
The answer may be regional events, hosted throughout the United States, providing educational opportunities as well as product exhibits to a regional audience. The benefits are undeniable, but it’s up to each CMO to evaluate whether a national tradeshow will provide the ROI needed to justify the expense.
Sources and Additional Articles
- Click on the following link for the BMA White Paper – Tradeshows: An Important Medium for the Marketing Message (login required)
- Business Marketing Association
- International Builders Show
- Top 10 Building Products Industry Follows Worth Your Time