Trade Show Marketing: Why Exhibiting is Good for Small Businesses (Especially During Challenging Economic Times)

There are a number of compelling reasons why exhibiting is such an effective marketing tool -- even during challenging economic times.

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In a still-fragile economy many small businesses find it a struggle to survive.

In today’s uncertain economy, small business owners must adapt and consider new ways to market their products and services. Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way of doing exactly that.

Studies indicate that trade shows and exhibitions are chiefly valued amongst marketers. “High-priority marketing objectives for companies are building or expanding brand awareness (83 percent), new product or service promotions or launches (63 percent), reinforcing brand awareness (63 percent), promotions targeting specific business sectors (58 percent) and existing product service promotions (45 percent),” according to the Center for Exhibition Research.

“For executives identifying these objectives as high-priority, most (73 percent or more) rate exhibitions as highly valuable in helping their companies achieve these goals.”

Furthermore, if your company is already exhibiting, think very carefully before cancelling trade show schedules due to budget constraints … Here’s why:

Trade Shows Resilient During Challenging Economic Times

According to a Center for Exhibition Industry Research study, continuing to exhibit during a recession makes sound business sense, according to recent studies. After analyzing traffic density, buying plans, audience interest factor, first time attendees, buying influence, and the average hours spent visiting exhibits, the research highlighted the stable nature of these metrics and the continued value of trade shows for exhibitors.

The study also showed that although attendees and exhibition space decreased during challenging economic times, key buyers continued to attend trade shows. Exhibitions continued to attract a high quality audience before, during and after economic recession – and the percentage of trade show attendees planning to buy remained high even during the toughest financial years.

The Power of Exhibiting Your Small Business

There are a number of compelling reasons why exhibiting is such an effective marketing tool.

1. Exhibiting allows a business to reinforce brand presence, position and reputation. It can be a cost-effective strategy, whilst offering significant and measurable return on investment (ROI).

2. Trade shows allow potential customers to come to you, rather than your business having to chase new clients.

According to the book Magnetic Selling by Robert W. Bly, the author suggests that (as a rule of thumb) “to penetrate a buyers consciousness … you have to contact those people a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.”

Such a lengthy process is costly, both in terms of time and money. However, by using trade show exhibiting as a consistent marketing tool you move directly to a key part of the process – one-on-one contact with genuinely interested (and potential) customers.

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