Trade Show or Trade No…

…the title seems like the obvious pun but I just couldn’t resist it.  Yes, my thoughts have been performing the two-step on the main dance floor in that discotheque of business:  The Trade Show.  Since the jolly old days of late medieval Europe, trade shows have been organised to display products for sale, create leads for new sales, to build on or creating a company/product image and to create relationships.  No offence late medieval Europe, but I can imagine trade shows have aged like a tasty cheese, not having to be held outside in the mud, not lasting around two weeks, or having to deal with oodles of pickpockets and all of this to sell a bar of scented soap.

Trade Show

Trade shows are a great way to open doors for future communications; to hob-nob with other experts in your area of work and watch your competitors with the beadiest of eyes (like an eagle).  It appears Simmons Market Research Bureau respondents couldn’t agree more (well, they could…they could agree nine percent more).  91% of respondents stated trade shows are ‘extremely useful’ with nearly half of the respondents purchasing products or services from the trade show.

Trade No

However, there are some newer, younger, more attractive kids on the block; Master Facebook and Mistress Twitter.  With the ever growing world of social media tweeting and status updating all over the place it leaves us a little bit concerned about Grandpa Trade Show.  In October last year, Nashers was not overwhelmed by the LondonLaunch:Live show with its quiet and intimidating atmosphere.  Trade shows are expensive and we don’t all have the spare cash to be spending it on stalls, flyers, staff and optional bunting.

Trade Maybe

Confex experienced an 11% drop in visitors last year compared to 2010.  With their 2012 show coming up in March, will numbers be affected more modern day ways of communication?  With a jazzy site which is easy on the eye and a page dedicated to our friend social media, maybe Confex are doing all the right things to get in the punters.

Big Daddy EIBTM truly excelled itself last year, smashing all previous records with nearly 65,000 pre scheduled appointments (appointments = business being conducted = £££).  I have a sneaky feeling this may have been something to do with being held in sunny Barcelona and is an excellent excuse for a holiday.  But, that’s just me.

EIBTM has received themselves a standing ovation for their trade show attendance last year as it unfortunately coincided with the air traffic strikes (the second year that EIBTM have been affected by this).  However, show director and clever bean Graeme Barnett offered buyers rescheduled flights or free accommodation which no one is going to complain about really!  And it seems EIBTM are preparing well for their 2012 bonanza.

Other fond favourites IMEX and the World Trade Market also have really positive quotes and high expectations for 2012.

What our buyer says…

“We’re reviewing what we attend as we do find some to be a waste of time. There are a couple of much more intimate shows that have pre-scheduled appointments (ILTM in Cannes is a great example) – and with all the key decision makers in place. Additionally we’ve joined ETOA – and they host a whole bunch of shows and seminars our company can attend. Once again – delegates are made visible and appointments pre-arranged and adhered to so you know what you’re getting. The localised destination-specific shows are good to attend (POW WOW, FITUR,  BIT etc) and we’ll review our decisions on amount of time currently spent at larger more generic shows such as ITB and WTM.”
Rebecca, The Mileage Company

The exhibitor’s take…

“I think there is still a place for the trade show however it is an ever competitive market especially with the social media, however the face to face is still so important.  People need to know it is worth while attending and that they’ll get what they want from it as time is ever-precious in the business world.  Focus is much more on prearranged meetings and focussed networking.  Exhibitors need to know there is going to be the attendance promised – it’s not cheap doing these events both in time and resources but for the right show it’s a great opportunity to get your product known in the wider market. “
Jenny, Cooks & Partners

We at Pretty Clever Events love a chat and would be really interested to get your feedback on the subject of trade shows.  Are trade shows still living the dream like they used to be?  Or with the wonder of the internet as a catalyst for information sharing, are the days of the trade show over?  Whether you are a buyer, exhibitor or you have an opinion to add to the mix then comment below or get in touch!