KNOWLEDGE

Reasons your marketing team needs trade shows

Category: Strategy

From social media marketing to SEO, there’s no disputing we’re in an age of digital marketing domination. It’s natural to wonder,“Are trade shows still a smart marketing investment and do they still have a place in my business’s marketing mix?” The answer: a resounding yes on both counts.

Don’t let assumptions about the ease or effectiveness of digital marketing – or a misguided belief that trade shows simply aren’t cost effective – lead you to make a strategic marketing mistake. Below, we’ve debunked four common misconceptions about lead generation in the digital age.

Marketing mistake #1: “If I build a website, I’ll start generating leads right away.” 
Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. Online lead generation is a complex, time-consuming process of ongoing SEO work to improve organic search engine result rankings and pay-per-click (PPC) ads to drive inbound traffic to your site. Yes, an online presence is an important part of lead generation. But just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ll start generating qualified leads overnight.

Marketing mistake #2: “Trade shows are too expensive to attend.” 
There’s no denying that trade shows can be expensive. But there’s a reason you’re paying top dollar. That fee buys you prime access to hundreds of highly qualified leads all in one place. Since these leads are also paying to attend the trade show, you’re far more likely to encounter folks who are genuinely interested in your product or service and primed to be a potential customer.

If you’re worried about the cost of trade shows, focus on attending a select few where you’ll get the greatest exposure to industry contacts. For example, if you already have strong ties with one industry segment but are looking to expand business in a new direction, invest your trade show budget in exhibiting at shows targeted specifically to this industry niche.

Marketing mistake #3: “I get a better return on my investment with online marketing.” 
With online marketing, it can be hit or miss with your leads. Sure, it may only cost a couple hundred dollars to get an AdWords campaign up and running, but keep in mind that you’re paying every time someone clicks on your ad, whether or not these folks are actually a qualified lead. There’s no quality guarantee with AdWords and other PPC campaigns.

Marketing mistake #4: “Trade show exhibits are simply too expensive to produce.” 
A great trade show exhibit doesn’t have to break the bank, nor should it. You don’t need a lot of fancy bells and whistles on your display. In fact, simpler designs often deliver a more powerful, effective marketing message since attendees aren’t distracted by too many lights or colors. Your display should be easily customizable depending on the trade show’s audience and your marketing purpose (e.g., new product launch, highlighting industry niche service, etc.) so you can reuse the same base display with a few tweaks time and time again. This makes trade show exhibits more cost-effective and significantly improves your marketing ROI.

Bottom line: Today’s savvy marketers know effective lead generation all about creating the best mix for your business’s unique needs. Marketing in 2015 is not about “either or.” There’s a place for both digital marketing channels and trade show marketing. By being smart about how you invest your budget, you’ll be able to effectively generate leads online and offline.

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications