If your company’s marketing plan includes attending a trade show, the next step is deciding which show offers the best return on investment for your business. There are trade shows for just about every type of business and evaluating the different choices can be overwhelming. The number one factor to consider in evaluating trade shows is whether or not your company’s participation will lead to an increase in business. After all, the primary purpose of any company is to make money. Beyond this bottom-line business decision, here are some questions to consider when you’re comparing trade shows:
- How established is the show? Trade shows that have been around for several years tend to do a better job at marketing so they draw more attendees.
- How expensive is it to enter the show? If your company has entered shows in the past and has a professional display already put together, paying a little bit more might not be an issue. If your company is relatively new to the trade show circuit, however, it might be better to start small with a less expensive show until you can determine the value of participating in these shows
- What type of crowd does the trade show attract? If your company is more localized in terms of its customer base and isn’t look to grow, a large trade show that attracts an audience more global in nature might not be for you. Smaller shows typically allow for more in-depth conversations with the attendees so if personalized customer service is your company’s strength, a smaller show would better suit your company.
- What have participants of a particular trade show said about their experience? Just like you would check into references before doing business with a subcontractor, check into the testimonials of other trade show participants to make sure their experience was a positive one.
- How much time commitment will the trade show require of your company’s personnel? If the show spans several days for several hours each day, you’ll need to make sure you have enough manpower to staff a booth. Some shows only span a couple days and require less time of your people.
- What other companies are attending the show you’re considering? If several of your competitors are going to be at the same show, there might be benefit in finding another trade show where your company will be able to stand out.
- Do you have a new product or service to introduce? If your answer is no, you might want to hold off on participating in a trade show until you have more of a “splash” to make.
By first determining your company’s goals and objectives for participating in a trade show you’ll be able to find the shows that match up best with your needs. Until you know what you want your company to gain from participating in a show you won’t be able to effectively evaluate the pros and cons of the various shows that are out there.