If you happened to be in Madison, WI the first week in October, you’re probably familiar with the World Dairy Expo. It’s easily one of the largest trade shows in Wisconsin. This dairy cow-focused show brings farmers from all parts of the globe to view the latest technology and animal genetics available. This got me thinking, in a post-pandemic world, is there still a place for industry and trade shows?
Let’s be honest, when the world went into quarantine, marketers were faced with a new set of challenges. How to market to people at home. Digital was already leading the way in marketing strategies, but it explosively jumped ahead when it became one of the best mediums to reach people. Trade shows are expensive and time-consuming compared to digital tactics. So the question is, should we return to the “old ways” of marketing?
Are Trade Shows a Worthwhile Investment?
According to an article on Selbys.net, they sure are! Sure, with digital marketing you can reach millions from the comfort of their favorite lounge chair, but there is still something to be said for a hands-on experience with a product. It’s the age-old adage of “seeing is believing.” Trade shows are proven to be one of the fastest ways to get in front of decision-makers. Companies aren’t likely to spend the time and money sending someone who is not in a position to make buying decisions.
Plus, trade show attendees tend to be early adopters, making it worthwhile if you’re releasing a new product or service. These attendees ask questions, try your product, and then talk about it on their social media! The best finds at any event inherently end up creating a buzz on social media platforms among influencers and peers alike. The power of having people experience what you have to offer can start a domino effect of purchases.
Human to Human
Trade shows also bring us the human element. We spent a lot of time isolated from friends, family, and the outside world. As humans, we crave interaction with other humans! According to Forbes.com, “Zoom calls work best when complemented by periodic face-to-face meetings. The industry convention is a great place to set up multiple client meetings.” You just can’t beat the power of an in-person conversation.
The real future of trade shows lies in combining the in-person experience with technology and digital marketing. Leveraging targeted display and social media ads to announce your presence and show location is key. Having interactive or virtual reality displays can transport the attendee into a new dimension of what you can offer them. Bringing attention to your booth through digital signage and apps will only enhance the overall experience. Capturing prospect information for follow-up is an essential part, too.
Is the trade show dead?
Perhaps the traditional trade show is dead. The one of gathering business cards to raffle iPads. But this new age trade show is very much ALIVE! You have the chance to tie your digital marketing to the human experience and bring your marketing full circle. After all, marketing is all about turning your company into a (pun intended) cash cow!