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Developing a Clear Trade Show Strategy

Updated: Feb 5

Do trade shows still matter? Are they worth the investment? I think the answer to that is a resounding yes, but only with a clear strategy in place to make sure that what you’re investing in pays off.


Back to Normal – or at Least, New Normal


For the most part, business is – and therefore, trade shows are – back to normal. Or at least as normal as you can get after the pandemic literally changed how people think about work and travel. In 2023, global exhibition revenue levels are expected to reach 94 percent of 2019 levels on average and, excluding China, up from 80 percent in 2022. (UFI)


The benefit of this seismic shift has actually made trade shows more lucrative. People who are still coming to trade shows really want to be there; they are stronger leaders and they want what you’re offering.  


The Trade Show Strategy You Need Now


The basics of trade show strategy have not changed: You still need to define your purpose and the expected results you want so that you can measure the effectiveness of the trade show. Within that, you need to clearly define your audience and choose technology wisely.


But what sometimes is not emphasized enough when developing a modern trade show strategy is how urgent it is in today’s climate to plan ahead, budget carefully, and protect yourself against the what-ifs.


Plan Ahead: Managing Booth Expenses Proactively


I wrote last month about the importance of managing trade booth expenses, which are fluctuating more and getting more expensive, to boot – everything from waste baskets to labor costs are easier to manage when you plan ahead, by taking advantage of early pricing and making decisions about what investments are important for your booth. Material and labor costs are still higher than expected, so plan accordingly.


Budget Carefully: Be Selective about Everything


Just because someone invents a new technology doesn’t make it a necessary investment for your booth. Not every trade show booth will benefit from having a hologram generator or a virtual reality console. If you suspect that it will make an extraordinary difference in your ability to showcase your product, by all means, investigate the cost and ROI of utilizing such technology. For most businesses, however, the best technology to invest in is a lead generation retrieval program. Technology that makes it easier for you to collect leads, connect with them, and add them to your CRM often makes the most sense.


Protect Yourself Against What-Ifs


Over the past several years, we have discovered the hard way that things can change quickly. And it’s not just health scares we have to take into account; the possibility of last-minute trade-show cancellations resulting from weather-related incidents should be considered as well. Updating force majeure clauses should be on every agenda this year.


Trade shows are a powerful way to generate leads and build brand recognition, as well as connect and engage with your customers. Now is the time to begin planning your 2024 trade show strategy, and ExpoVention is here to help ensure you make the most of your efforts.

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