in-person industrial trade show marketing

Trade Shows are still a thing…

Why do businesses continue to attend trade shows? Since the advent of digital marketing platforms and the increasing popularity of social media, you’d think that traditional marketing tactics would have fallen out of use by now.

That’s not what’s happening though; in fact, quite the opposite trend has been reported. According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute, 75% of B2B marketers rated in-person marketing events as the most effective tool in their marketing arsenal. So what is it that makes trade shows and other in-person events such a valuable marketing opportunity?

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Essentially it all boils down to one thing: the conversation. Whether it’s the conversation you have with your potential customers at the trade show booth, or the one where they broadcast your brand on the trade show floor with the promotional items you’ve given away, this exchange of information is paramount to the success of in-person marketing strategies.

Let’s break that down further and examine the specific benefits of participating in industrial trade shows. Starting with your end of the conversation—the trade show booth itself—the main purposes are to:

  • Give attendees the opportunity to view and interact with your products

  • Communicate your value proposition

  • Boost your brand visibility and provide additional channels for advertising


The Product Showcase

Unless you have a storefront, potential leads will rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to interact with your products. Attendees at industrial trade shows go expecting to see and interact with the products on display. Showcasing your products will bring an element of interactivity to the visitor experience at your booth, prompting questions and sparking interest. Enticing visitors to seek out more information could even increase the likelihood of them responding positively to your follow-up efforts later on.

The Value Proposition

How do you communicate your value proposition without dominating the conversation? Mainly through your visual trade show displays. Compelling graphics which distill your message down to the essentials will grab the attention of passers-by and help them determine whether your booth is worth visiting.

The Brand Broadcast

This begins at your trade show booth but extends far beyond the confines of your space when you give away the right “swag” or promotional items. Well thought-out, useful items with intentional logo placement, can act as walking billboards for your brand. Tote bags are a great example of this concept; they can be used to store all the literature that trade show attendees inevitably collect all while advertising your brand as they move around the trade show floor.

Listening to your audience

Now what about the other end of the conversation—what do your potential leads bring to the dialogue? First of all, they provide general feedback and data. Meeting your target audience in-person is a great opportunity to discover more about them. Ask questions. Open-ended questions will help you identify your visitors’ needs and by extension, how to fine-tune your marketing to suit them. What are their challenges? What solutions are they looking for? The key here is to listen. Listen and take notes! You’ll want to reference what you discussed as it will come in handy later on.

The second part of your leads’ contribution to the conversation is their specific interaction with your company at the trade show booth. When you’ve truly listened to your potential leads during their visit to your booth, you’re better positioned for more personalized follow-up. Remember our post about Continuing the Conversation? This is why you need to take notes when collecting lead information. It will a great benefit to your follow-up efforts when you’re able to pick-up the conversation where you left off back at the trade show booth.

In-person marketing has proven its value year after year so it’s clear that your company should be participating in trade shows. It’s not enough, however, to simply show up and hand out some literature. In order to see any ROI at all you’ll need a plan and a strategy. Learn how you can formulate and follow-through with an effective strategy in the ebook, The Definitive Guide for B2B Trade Show Marketing, available for download now!

Topics: Trade Shows

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