Demos and displays: Do trade shows and their alternatives fit your needs?

November 19, 2012 - Tags: Marketing

Trade show participation has always been an important way to promote your business, generate sales leads and make useful contacts; however, in today's online world, you may find better value elsewhere. Before making the substantial investment involved in trade show participation, consider the various ways to put your business on display.

Determine how such an event will benefit your business. There are many advantages to trade show participation, especially your first time. An event suited to your industry could be the ideal venue to:

  • Present a new product or technology that has to be seen in person
  • Keep an eye on your competition and assess the marketplace
  • Gain buyers, meet suppliers and get media exposure

Exhibiting in a trade show can be expensive, but there are creative ways to work around this. If you already have some experience under your belt, why not attend the show as a visitor to make the most of networking opportunities, and host off-site events at a hotel suite nearby? You may even find that some venues offer facilities that could replace a trade show booth, if properly set up. Pre-book your appointments to ensure a full and profitable schedule.

If travel and accommodations costs are not budget-friendly, consider other alternatives:

  • Produce a demonstration video or webinar for your website and other online channels
  • Set up a booth at a virtual trade show for the fraction of the cost of a traditional one
  • Send fewer people

Of course, trade show attendance might be valuable to your business at any cost. This could be especially true if you do all your work online and need the in-person interaction. If you do go, make the most of your investment by:

  • Making appointments with key clients, suppliers and potential leads
  • Using your most knowledgeable and enthusiastic people to represent your business
  • Turning your booth into an inviting place to present your product or service and actually do business

Get started on your trade show research and learn how to find the right trade show for your needs. You may even consider going overseas.

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