5 Reasons to Exhibit at Trade Shows

Trade shows are an effective tool for businesses across all industries. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Bellwether report for Q1 2024 demonstrates that UK companies are continuing to increase their marketing budgets, signalling commercial confidence and economic optimism. The report indicates a record increase in event marketing expenditure as businesses prioritise face-to-face marketing and interactions. With events on the rise, here are 5 reasons to exhibit at trade shows. 

  • 1. Networking opportunities 

Trade shows offer the perfect opportunity to network, both with existing and prospective clients. When you exhibit at a trade show suited to your business, you are brought face-to-face with hundreds and sometimes even thousands of prospective customers, interested in what you do.

In-person marketing is great as it humanises your company and makes you more personable, trustworthy, and memorable to potential clients. Visitors in attendance have gone out of their way to learn about products and services just like yours. Compare this opportunity with email marketing or cold-calling, and you realise just how impactful the shows can be. Not to mention, you gain instant feedback on your products and services. If you do your research on attendees in advance, you can even look out for specific target customers to convert into leads! There are very few other spaces where you will have access to this many relevant people at one time. 

Networking at trade shows isn’t just about the potential customers, but also about others in your industry, including your competitors. Speaking to fellow exhibitors is a great way to expand your supply chain or find new business strategies.

Networking opportunities even extend to guest speakers and industry experts. Take the opportunity to connect with and learn from experts in your field; you might even share your ideas with them.

Make sure you save the contact details of the people you are speaking to, so you can follow up with new connections and leads post-show! 

  • 2. Increase brand awareness

Trade shows are a great place to gain business exposure, or even, to establish your business for the first time. 

At trade shows you have a lot of freedom with your exhibition stand design, so you can plan something truly individual to make you memorable to visitors. 

Your exhibition team is also relevant in raising brand awareness! Choose and train your team carefully. A combination of marketing and sales employees who are friendly, educated on your company and confident tends to work best. 

Take advantage of social media! Connect with the people that you meet so when they think of your stand and brand, they can find you. Business cards can always help with this; keep a collection with you at the event to hand out to prospective customers. Branded giveaways and freebies are also a great way to remind people of your company post-show. 

  • 3. Learn about industry developments

No matter how strong your business strategy is, or how long you have been in the industry, there will always be new things to learn! Trade shows are a great place to stay ahead of the curve and on top of industry research and developments.

Take the time at the show to listen to expert speakers. Talks delivered by industry experts can provide you with insights and new information that you may have otherwise missed. If you are able to, connect with these experts one-to-one, they may have advice for your own company. 

Meet your competitors and find your place in the market. Trade shows are often the place where other business will launch their star products. See how clients and visitors react, you may have to adjust your own business strategy. 

Gain insights into how your competitors operate and what they do. Are your competitors offering seasonal sales or promotional offers? Are they hitting a unique selling point different to your own? What strategies are they using and how successful are they? All these questions can be answered by simply talking to your competitors and building connections, or viewing their stand. See which tactics work and apply them to your own business! 

  • 4. Showcase your products 

As much as trade shows are useful for networking, brand awareness and industry developments, the shows are ultimately a place to generate leads and to sell. 

Showcase your latest products and show visitors and exhibitors what it is you really do. Make sure you create an eye-catching display. A modular stand can assist with this, as they can integrate fantastic customised features, and are reusable. Interactive pieces can also help to draw in and keep guests at your stand. 

  • 5. Prove your credentials 

Proving your credentials as a business is always important and trade shows are a huge part of this. People want to know who you are, and what you offer. Though a strong website and social media can assist with this, the best option is to meet people in person and show them your products, track record, and history! 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, trade shows offer invaluable opportunities for businesses across all industries. From networking and increasing brand awareness to learning about industry developments, showcasing products, and proving your credentials, trade shows provide a platform for businesses to connect with potential customers, stay updated with industry trends, and demonstrate their offerings. Considering the numerous benefits of exhibiting at trade shows, it’s evident that they are a powerful tool for businesses to expand their reach and enhance their presence in the market.