Show justification….wait what?

ROI or Leads...Chicken or Egg?

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, trade shows are too expensive, we cannot justify the ROI, we won’t get any leads, etc. etc, etc.

So is it the chicken or the egg first? Are the leads and networks forming through online resources only, or is there some human interaction needed?

Shows are meant for interaction and you get what you put
into a show. If you are expecting the organizers to get customers there that you want to see, you are asking for the gypsy crystal ball method.

The organizers work with publishers sometimes or they have
their own lists, but only you know your customers or those hard to break into clients that you want to see.  Let the organizer know, send them a “SPECIAL” invitation, or let the organizers know you would like to see a speaker from that company, you would be surprised how effectively that request can be accommodated.

Now that you all are shaking your heads and saying, “oh no way, they are MY customers; I don’t want the competition to talk to them”.  Well I am here to tell you, if you are that fearful of the competition taking your customers, you need to check your product and your confidence level. Step-up to the plate and walk them around the show floor if they are your guest don’t just expect them to come in with their pass and find YOU, humm who was the guest again?

Have a meeting prior to taking them out on the show floor preparing them for what they are about to see; even if there is a new product release you were not expecting, do some due diligence when YOU get to the show. There is a high probability that the customers are already talking with your competitors.

Now for the leads,” new customers, we want new leads”!

When I have my trade show buying shoes on, I justify shows 3 ways – Lead Shows; Branding Shows; and Industry Shows.

Lead Shows – Generally the shows that are kind of
multi-industry/market segment where you have a show that has either heavy traffic and you know your organization has marketed to target companies to get them there or you are in cities that have a pretty good saturation of your customer-base.

Branding Shows – These shows are those shows that might have several of your competitors there, and market(s) you may want enter, this is an
excellent way to have a campaign or a new product release.

Industry Shows – These shows are important are often smaller
more niche shows that have a vertical audience but most importantly speakers from industry providing market intelligence to get the facts for short and long-term planning. It also does give the opportunity to discuss with peers, partners, and industry experts products/solutions.

ROI – Well you save money by having a captive audience of several elements for marketing, sales, and business development all in one

Leads are not the only way to generate ROI, networking and
branding are critical to long-term revenue.

How many times have you said, yeah I talked to this person
at such and such show, or I saw them speak at such and such conference? Even at shows where I could roll a bowling ball down the aisles often I have contacts from the other exhibitors that are new to a company or have changed companies and I have been able to reach out to them at a later date because I met them there, ROI just paid off for the future partnerships/business.

Face-to-face events put contacts in memory much stronger and
longer than a phone call or even virtual event; you know that guy with the
crazy tie and thundering voice, or that woman with all the show crates, hanging off the edge of her booth, with a hammer in her mouth…ah yet another tale of the trade show gypsy to come.