For almost all industries, every year there is usually a choice of several trade shows and events that are worth attending around the world. There are also unlimited opportunities available for companies to host their own events. As with many other aspects of marketing, however, the merits of attending and hosting these events are often in question. There is rarely the budget to attend all of them. They are usually quite costly to stage or attend. Taking the price of a stand, as well as travel and branding costs into consideration, trade shows require a considerable outlay. Even hosting can be just as expensive, if not more so. Many marketers know instinctively that these costs are worthwhile, but, many executives and financial directors may disagree. For those doubters, and for the believers who would like to be better armed to argue for event marketing at the next budget meeting, we can unequivocally say that these types of events are worth every penny. These nine reasons may convince you:
Reason #1: Increasing Brand Awareness
Events are a great way to reach customers who may not know about you. They are not only particularly useful if your brand is new to the market, but they can also be effectively used to expand an established brand. Other marketing methods, such as television and radio advertising, social media, and so on, are also good for this purpose. However, events have an edge over the others in that they allow potential customers to interact directly with your brand and the people behind it. Visitors can see, touch, hear, and possibly even taste your product, and they can talk to you and your staff at their leisure and thus possibly form the personal connections that lead to sales. This outdoes even the most sophisticated online or TV advertising campaign.
Reason #2: Reaching a Concentrated, Targeted Audience
Whether you’re attending an international trade show or hosting an event of your own, event marketing gives you an opportunity to reach a highly concentrated audience, the members of which are all there because they are specifically interested in your industry and potentially what you have to offer. This is a gift to any sales and marketing team. Make the most of it!
Reason #3: Gaining Leads and Growing Your Database
No matter how great your website and Search Engine marketing strategies may be, there is often no better way to expand your list of potential clients (prospects) than through the kind of direct interaction you can enjoy at trade events. Even if you don’t close deals on the spot, you can build a respectable number of leads. And, of course, the more leads you have, the greater the potential for conversions and ongoing customers, provided your sales team follows up effectively.
It is likely that most exhibitors see the building of databases as their prime mission at trade events. The Exhibit and Event Marketers Association and the CMO Council found that 64% of companies that exhibit at events do so in search of new prospects (what are the rest doing? This appears too obvious).
Reason #4: Making On-the-Spot Sales
Of course, there is also the possibility of immediate conversions and sales. While many prospective clients, already overwhelmed by the many brands at the show, may prefer to get in contact after the show. However, there will always be those that will like your product offering and want to sign a deal on the spot. Trade shows can promote the opportunity for immediate sales. Staying away from an event means that you rule out any possibility of this benefit. Trade shows actually increase the possibility of such deals taking place because of the concentration of like-minded sellers and buyers all gathered in one place, often with specific goals in mind. Provided you have a great event strategy and branding, it is relatively easy to capitalize on the selling potential provided by the environment. Think of each event as a marketplace, not just a marketing platform.
Reason #5: Establishing Important Business Relationships
Clients, suppliers, partners – even competitors – you can meet them all at a single event. The more people you know in your industry, the better off you will be because, as they say, knowledge is indeed power, and it is absolutely about who you know! Like much else in event marketing, this comes down to interpersonal contact of the kind that you wouldn’t normally be able to make on the phone or through an email. During normal office hours, your sales team may struggle to get an appointment with the decision makers of a great potential client. At a trade show, those barriers tend to relax because the interaction is the whole object of the event. You can unquestionably make an appointment with buyers at a potential clients’ stand, or invite their CEO to have coffee with yours over at your stand. Your branding goes beyond mere business and penetrates into the realm of the personal.
You can also reaffirm existing relationships. You likely have many clients who regularly support you but you don’t always get the opportunity to connect with them personally and show your appreciation. At an event, you can stage a special welcome for these players. And, you can use the opportunity to make sure they know how much you value their business, possibly leading to the signing of new, improved agreements and contract renewals.
Reason #6: Improving Your Products and Methods
What better way to improve your knowledge of your industry’s trends and best practices than at a trade event? Everyone who is anyone is there, speakers are presenting new ideas, ground-breaking products are being launched (hopefully, yours is one of them). You will leave with an improved understanding of your industry, some great tips as to how to improve things going forward, and a stronger knowledge of your clients, competitors, and suppliers.
Reason #7: Establishing Yourself as a Thought Leader
All of the above benefits are ones that you can enjoy even if you are just a passive attendee of an event. If you host the event or use your ideas, brands, and promotions to make yourself an active and dominant presence at an event hosted by someone else, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
Any time you present a product that stands out from others at the event or host a conference, workshop or lecture, you have placed yourself indelibly in the minds of attendees as a thought leader in the industry, somebody with something uniquely beneficial and enriching to offer.
The conference components of major trade shows present amazing opportunities. You can put a member of your management team up on stage and have them talk about some aspect of the industry in a way that puts the brand across as a world leader. These conference sessions are often recorded and will find their way to YouTube, meaning that your CEO or some other director will be up there on a highly public platform, accessible for years to come, with ideas that are closely associated with your brand. Even if nobody in the company does the talk and you contract an outside speaker instead, the speaker is still closely associated with your brand for everyone who attends the conference and for those who watch the video recording later.
Reason #8: Building Affinity with Your Brand
More than anything, events are about the personal touch, the direct interaction, and the creation of happy associations with you and your brand. Conferences and trade events provide opportunities to learn, teach, talk, relate, and even entertain. If you can work out an innovative, fun way to promote your brand at your next event, you are guaranteed to win people over and place yourself firmly at the front of their thoughts. Create an experience they won’t forget and you are guaranteed to reap the benefits.
Affinity is not only about making a big impression though; it’s also about building and affirming trust and loyalty. Events allow you to do this in ways that no other platform can, through a combination of personal interaction, product demonstration, and straightforward human interaction.
Reason #9: Measurable Marketing
Finally, event marketing is also highly measurable. You can count the number of visits you receive, tally up your leads, factor in the number and values of the deals you’ve signed and, of course, establish the total of the sales you’ve made. This can easily be measured against the cost to demonstrate the bottom-line worth of the event. Be sure to also count the value of sales made after the fact as a result of leads gained at the event. The facts and figures will speak for themselves.
In short, event marketing has benefits that extend far beyond the events themselves. They give you a chance to grow brand awareness, make sales, get leads, and establish relationships. However, to get the most out of any event, you need a strong plan and great branding. In particular, you want displays that are true to your brand and make you stand out from the rest. This is where Red Iron Brand Solutions comes in.
Red Iron Brand Solutions is the go-to expert on branded and blank event display marketing products. We’re a specialized niche that is innovative and at the forefront of new products and growth. With our innovative product offerings, industry knowledge, and unique techniques, we are leaders in the early advancement of new and original event displays. Contact us for branding solutions that will take your event hosting and attendance to the next level.