With a large number of trade shows to choose from—both here in the U.S. and abroad—and an ever-increasing number of new trade shows exploding onto the scene each year, the job of an exhibitor selecting the right trade show(s) to attend can be an overwhelming challenge.
The veteran trade show exhibitor knows that the best way to meet this challenge is to have a solid plan in place by first determining their company’s market, sales goals, and promotional objectives.
Once a company fully understands the reasons why it needs to exhibit in a trade show, only then can it begin to identify the proper trade show to meet its marketing objectives.
According to Skip Cox, president of Exhibit Surveys Inc., a trade show industry research firm based in New Jersey, the trade show selection process should begin with serious background research.
Here are a couple of his tips on how you can research the right trade show for your company:
1. Research the trends in your industry—new technologies, competitors’ preferences, customers’ biases, etc. Then search for trade shows that reflect these trends.
Trade publications in your field are very good sources for the latest news in your industry. Opportunities abound for companies that are able to capitalize on these developments. Contact the editorial staff of trade publications to learn more about the latest breakthroughs in your business arena.
Search the Internet for companies making news by introducing exciting new products or services in your field. Contact your trade associations to explore what companies they believe are leading the way. Then seek out trade shows that are in tune with these trends, as trend-setting trade shows will be the ideal showcase for your trade show display.
2. Interview your co-workers and people in your field about what trade shows match up with your client’s needs.
By zeroing in on your client’s profile, you can determine what trade shows mirror your needs. Get input from your top marketing and upper management staff to determine what your market is. In addition, get feedback from your product and marketing managers and also your field sales reps. Sales reps are able to get face-to-face with clients and have a real understanding of their needs.
According to an Exhibitor Magazine survey of trade show exhibit managers who sought help in selecting trade shows to attend, the most influential input on selecting trade shows came from the sales staff (35%). They were followed by:
• Marketing staff (32%)
• Show management statistics (24%)
• Upper management (20%)
• Following where the competition goes (20%)
• Customer suggestions (18%)
• Other (12%)
• Product development staff (8%)
The respondents checked off all the resources that applied.