Physical trade fairs, great for what they are, but are they enough?
Trade fairs or expos get the industry people together
Trade fairs are a great place to understand the things happening in your field. Or as a place to meet your potential customers directly. This is backed up by most research into trade fairs.
For example, 81% of the people who attend trade fairs have buying authority. Thus, attendees are influential people within their companies.
Furthermore, the exhibitors themselves say that the quality of attendees is the most important factor when choosing to exhibit at a trade fair. So, when they choose to exhibit at a trade fair, you can be quite convinced that the attendees are of quality.
These two aspects make trade fairs the perfect time to reveal a new product, educate the audience about your existing services and secure some sales leads. Given the importance of trade fairs, a lot of time and money goes into being present in the key ones.
Lastly, not attending key trade fairs for your industry has been found to negatively affect your brand. Even for global brands the perception of a brand drops by 5%, when not attending.
Thus, research backs up the claims that trade fairs are important and not benefitting from them is folly to say the least, detrimental at worst.
Nearly half (46%) of attendees attend only one trade fair a year
Given the overall importance of trade fairs, it is quite interesting to see that many attend just one trade fair a year. Thinking as a company, this seems odd. But thinking as a person, this is a logical finding.
Afterall travelling away from home and your daily life means trading off your quality time with loved ones for an opportunity to further your business. Thus, there is a clear trade-off involved, when choosing one over the other.
In addition, one of the key considerations when choosing to attend a trade fair is the cost and geographical location that affect 54% & 38% of the attendees respectively.
So, if companies are people lead and thus people centric, we can draw a broad conclusion.
People have to take time out of their busy lives to attend a trade fair. So, it is not enough for the trade fair to be enticing and exciting. It needs to be better than competing trade fairs, as half of the people will not give a second trade fair a chance. Whether it is because of the total time the trade fair takes, including travel time to the location, or the cost of setting up your physical exhibition.
The biggest question is…
How to increase the % of attendees that attend more than one trade fair a year?
As we see, the two clear limitations of attending trade fairs that are clearly beneficial to businesses are time and cost. These are also uniquely related to the current model of trade fairs… physical only.
To continue providing value to their customers, trade fair hosts can look beyond simple physical booths as part of their offer and offer virtual solutions, like virtual booths, as well.
Afterall, streaming a live feed of key note speakers, the buzz of the fair and linking the exhibitors directly online is something that can be done today.
A sort of a TEXPO if we might call it so. A TEXPO that in its core is combining the benefits of TV and Expo.
This might just do the trick in providing many more attendees access to the valuable insights and connections happening in the big trade fair halls today, without having to physical attend one themselves.