It seems almost a reflex to question the efficacy of trade shows in the digital age. When you can squeeze every last drip of measurable efficacy from your SEM campaigns, does live marketing have a role? And yet, trade shows continue to thrive, in part, because of digital marketing. For those embarking upon a multichannel marketing strategy, trade shows are an essential part of the messaging ecosystem. And if the increase of the trade show industry itself is any indication, the need for booths on the ground at shows is growing.
According to statistics portal Statista, B2B events industry revenue worldwide from 2014 to 2016 grew nearly $2 billion. The reasons are manifold, but some have observed that trade shows present one of the few opportunities that industries can interface IRL (in real life) in an increasingly virtualized market space.
As retail industry blogger Meaghan Brophy observed in a post, “As consumer product discovery continues to shift online, it makes sense that more and more retailers find their products online too. Yet, trade shows are still an essential aspect of the retail industry.”
Obvious enough, but for industries that increasingly find their wares online, the trade show offers the rare opportunity for networking as well — especially with those that can bring awareness to your brand.
Janine Robertson, a public relations and marketing manager writing for Forbes says, “While buying at shows has decreased dramatically over the years, they remain an important gathering point for established brands and serve as a springboard for startups — with the added benefit of publicity opportunities via attending media.”
The Savvy Entrepreneur’s Michelle Morton echoes this notion and points to trade shows as a way to leverage the reach of bloggers and influencers as well as traditional media. “Bloggers and influencers in the industry are likely to come to trade shows. While they might be invited by a particular brand, they will be coming to the show to see what others are offering.”
That could be you and your brand, too.