These days, it seems that everyone is talking about digital marketing, and its innumerable advantages that are causing traditional marketing techniques to almost die out. And since trade shows are one of the oldest promotional techniques, you might think that they will be the first to go. While some people would want you to think that, trade shows are actually still very successful at what they were made for. They still attract growing numbers of attendees and they are still an exquisite way to promote a brand.
If you happen to be an owner or a manager of a small business, a startup which is just testing its legs, you are probably not in a situation where you can exhibit at a trade show. However, this does not mean that you cannot gain anything from a trade show, more precisely from attending it.
So, what exactly can be gained this way?
Testing the market
It is a well-known fact that the majority of people who attend trade shows come with an intent to buy something or, at least, to learn more about what the said industry has to offer. In short, these are your potential customers/clients and you would do well to find out what they think about the exhibitors.
You should try and find out what their opinion is on the various deals that are offered at every trade show; what they like seeing from exhibitors; what they think about the different prices that they are finding at the show and what their perfect trade show experience would look like.
For instance, you can hang around the exhibition booth of one of the biggest players in your industry and then meet people after they have visited the said booth. Ask them what they feel about the products or services that this exhibitor has displayed, see how they feel about the prices. You will often get invaluable information this way.
Investigating the competition
Just as you will be finding out what your potential customers think and want, so will you be investigating what your competition and your potential future competition is doing. First of all, you will be checking up on their products and services, as well as the prices that they have put on these. This will give you an idea about what you are up against.
Furthermore, you will want to see how they are working the trade show. You will want to see what kind of eye-catching exhibition displays they are using and which are the most effective in attracting attention from the visitors. You will also check up on their team, see how they behave, how they contribute to their trade show efforts.
Doing some networking
Networking is the name of the game at trade shows. It is the perfect time and place for networking for the simple reason that everyone is there. Everyone who has anything to do with your industry in your area will be there and this is the perfect time to be picking their brains. You can either come clean and tell them who you are and what you are about or you can pretend that you are a potential client or a supplier. This is a sneakier approach, but it can yield better results.
Besides networking, there will be plenty of official opportunities to learn more from the important people in your field. The leaders in the industry will give talks and hold seminars that you can attend and expand your knowledge.
As you can see, trade shows are the place to be if you are an owner of a small business, especially if you are planning on exhibiting yourself sometime in the future. You will gather all kinds of useful information and you will learn about how to be the most successful exhibitor down the line. This is an opportunity you must not miss out on.