Improve the trade show experience.
Entering the digital age, many have though the era of trade shows was over. Virtual trade shows were trendy and a major shift was expected in the industry.
However, the growth of the trade show industry remains very strong and is still expected to grow by more than 4% a year. People still want to meet their clients and suppliers face to face to do business. The question is no longer to know what will replace traditional trade shows but how to enhance their efficiency and make them look truly appealing.
Trade shows are now in competition with marketing channels that allow a very fine targeting such as digital ads. The ROI of going to a trade fair appears to be lagging compared to the ones of these channels and needs to be improved. Since trade shows have been considered old fashioned, the innovation in the industry has remained very low for more than a decade worsening even more the ROI.
This lead to a falling ROI compared to other channels but also to huge rooms for improvements. Digital tools can do a lot to improve the ROI of trade shows for visitors and exhibitors. To become competitive again trade shows must fully embrace digital technologies to make their ROI better.
As discussed in an other article, it is key to calculate your ROI when you go to a trade show.
To keep existing trade shows must worry about the ROI of their attendees
For achieving that, trade shows have to improve the experience of all exhibitors and visitors by providing them with broader range of services. The experience has to be cheaper and more rewarding. Doing that the ROI for attendees would be obvious and the trade show industry would have an excellent time to come.
The role of trade shows is not only to design the best possible trade show but also to make it as attractive as possible. The key thing to attract people to trade shows is to increase their ROI.
As I said before, to increase ROI your first option is to reduce your investment.
To allow attendees to reduce their investment, Trade shows can give access to services with exclusive deals and services that allow attendees to save time. This is what does the French start-up Trive, which aggregates on a single platform all travel and logistic services needed by visitors and exhibitors.
Reducing cost is not enough, you can also improve the effectiveness of networking with services such as SwapCard to meet the right people at trade shows and keep contact with them.
The second option is to increase the return
Another interesting service could be myfairtool, a software performing analysis on your prospects and customers. It helps you to improve the way you follow-up with people you met at the trade show.
All services described in this article are not developed by trade shows themselves but by other companies. This is absolutely key. Just as in all mature industries a single player cannot be good enough to produce all services. A trade show has to take the best from all providers to deliver the best possible experience. That is why we need a lot of companies with different capabilities to build the future trade show experience.
Make trade shows great again
The current disinterest for trade shows is not due their uselessness but due to the fact that entrepreneurs think they are. The more entrepreneurs think trade shows are useless, the less they will develop technologies to improve them. The less they will be attractive. That is a terrible vicious circle that we have to escape altogether.
We have to break this cycle by developing new experiences and make trade shows attractive again. If we do that, they will attract more people and look more interesting to entrepreneurs allowing a real period of growth. This growth can be especially strong since there was just a little innovation in recent years.