A conference in your future

Is trade show participation worthwhile?

Adrienne Einzig

Conferences and trade shows can be profitable for your business. Exhibitors providing valuable information, knowledgeable representatives and customer motivation find them to be an extremely effective marketing venue.

These are cost-effective ways to stay current on industry activities. They gather together a profession’s key players—consultants, educators, suppliers, elected officials, and media representatives—to feed on each other’s knowledge.

Walk a convention’s floors to observe competitors’ activities. See and be seen. Look for your next potential employee.

Conferences are good places to convert leads into sales, with face-to-face discussions proving critical when closing the deal. A note saying “Hey, George, I’m checking on that project we discussed at ‘Sawdust East’” means MUCH more than “Dear Mr. Jones. In response to your online inquiry, I’m enclosing...”

And did I mention the seminars and speeches surrounding you all day long?

Businesses typically present themselves at conferences with a show booth, available in increments of 10 feet by 10 feet. Costing from $50 to many thousands, they can be made, rented, borrowed or bought. The rented floor space (additional) typically costs $1,000+ for a 100-square-foot area with table and chair. Additional items for rent usually include trash cans, furniture, water, electricity and wireless cable.

Experience a trade show and you’ll see beautiful women luring you in so that sales reps can interrogate you. You’ll pass countless piles of brochures and bowls of candy. And you’ll acquire innumerable pens, yoyos, balloons and other freebies.

You’ll be exposed to presentations like Kohler’s Bath Fixtures, with shapely women behind smoked glass showering for 12 straight hours.

And you’ll discover the sales floor’s dominant exhibitor. Cambridge Silversmith’s 2,400-square-foot booth jumps to mind. Displaying 400 product lines in 33 display cabinets with eccentric centerpieces under track lighting, the booth alone costs $450,000!

Also consider being a show speaker, hosting a suite, sponsoring a luncheon, or buying a program ad. All can help boost your profile.

Still, your best show activity is just wandering the aisles, pressing the flesh, and learning the industry’s future direction. Treat yourself periodically and attend a trade show. On so many levels they’re an education.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.


Mr. Marketing has spent 30 years developing materials for use at trade shows. Reach him at www.askmrmarketing.com.

   
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