Why Trade Show Marketing is More Important than Ever

March 17th, 2015 by Interex Exhibits


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With the rest of the world going digital, in-person marketing at trade shows is still meaningful and perhaps more important than ever.

The numbers don’t lie. In fact, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) just released its fourth quarter data for the annual CEIR Index report. The results, based on four metrics, demonstrated that the B2B exhibition industry continued to show improvement for the 18th straight quarter.

Compared to this time last year, attendance grew 2.6 percent, and the number of exhibitors grew as well, although by a lesser figure of 0.2 percent. Total attendance in 2014 reached 68.7 million, which is a new record over the 68.4 million in 2007. CEIR credits an improving job market for at least some of that increase.

“With the fourth quarter’s results and 18 consecutive quarters of growth and our predictions closely matching outcomes, we are confident in the continued growth and progress of the industry,” says CEIR’s economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “Additionally, in line with our expectations as published in the 2014 CEIR Index Report, the Total Index increased by a moderate 1.8% for 2014 for the year as a whole, just slightly below the 2.0% forecasted growth.”

Take, for instance, GSMA Mobile World Congress. The world’s largest event for mobile innovation just wrapped up in Barcelona. The massive show hosted a record number of attendees—over 93,000 from 200 countries. In addition, over 2,000 companies exhibited, and more than 3,800 international media and industry analysts were in attendance.

CEIR also recently reported that young professionals, who are increasingly in the role of decision maker, value trade shows for their educational and interactive experiences. In fact, 97 percent of young professionals who participated in the CEIR survey said they are directly involved with selecting trade shows for their companies to attend. A good number of them even said they still prefer a print program over digital.

Despite increased technology and digitization, trade shows are a place at which person-to-person interaction is still valued and sought after. Innovations in booth design, content presentation and streaming technologies only make the experiences richer and more meaningful—they don’t encourage visitors to stay away.

Even with the continuing boom of e-commerce, trade shows are a critical marketing tool. Industry-specific events provide manufacturers, retail buyers and other professionals a place to convene and see all their industry’s latest at once. Not to mention, shows provide a unique and crucial opportunity to meet and network with peers and potential partners. Trade shows also provide an excellent chance to learn through talks and speeches by industry leaders.

While on the surface, trade show marketing may seem expensive and time-consuming, when done right, it will pay for itself and then some. In terms of marketing, instead of doing a little at a time over long periods, industry exhibitions offer you the opportunity to do a lot all at once.

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