The shadow of doubt has been cast over trade shows for a while now. Despite having their favourite shows, some buyers and sellers are in two minds when it comes to trade show participation.
Amongst the noise lies the reality of the cost of doing business and the objectives of such business networking activities.
One of my previous bosses once told me: “We have to spend money to make money”. Many may agree with the statement but are crippled by the process of measuring return on investment. As the competition becomes stiffer, sellers are more careful with investing into activities like trade shows.
Here are some of the reasons why I exhibited at trade shows when I was a seller:
Here are some of the concerns I understood after having several conversations with some buyers and sellers over the past six months:
As an industry, we cannot deny the fact that face-to-face connections between buyers and sellers are paramount in business as strong relationships cannot be built via emails and social media alone.
It is certainly harder to measure returns but we also need to start weighing the value of strengthening relationships as a result of such activities.
Of course, if strong relationships are already established, the value perception is less. We simply can’t deny the joys of having a good catch up during a networking function.
Maybe instead of turning our backs on the legacies of trade shows and what they have done for the growth of our industry over the past decades, how about joining our efforts in making a positive change?
Maybe some trade shows need a completely new format. As event professionals, I am sure our combined creativity, passion and purpose can create an event that focuses on engaging the audience whether you are a buyer or a seller.
So, what is your suggestion?
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