Why should your business be exhibiting this year?

innocent-smoothie-standIn a series of articles for Business Leader magazine, Paul Runacres – head of sales and marketing at Clip Exhibition and Displays – outlines vital areas to consider to maximise your ROI from an exhibition.

In this first edition, Paul looks at the strength of exhibitions and addresses some of the common reasons for not attending.

A Clip survey carried out at the end of 2016 produced positive results regarding the current position of exhibitions in company marketing plans.

From 16,000 business leaders in the South West who were questioned almost 85% stated they attend up to 10 shows per year. 75% said that they were considering exhibiting at more shows in 2017 and 42% said that they spend most of their marketing budget on attending shows.

The results were incredibly encouraging for our industry but also for marketing as a whole. Despite the changing marketing environment and a perceived negative backdrop of the economy by few, the results prove that business leaders in the South West are still getting out in front of potential clients and doing business face to face.

Exhibitions have been around for years and they have stood the test of time. In the early 2000s I was told with absolute authority by several people that the days of exhibitions were numbered. Video conferencing, online demos and other methods of communicating were to be the death of exhibitions.

I disagreed then and I disagree now. Technology is a fantastic thing. We embrace it at Clip and use the very cutting edge of technology in our stands every day. However, despite all the advancements of technology, there will simply never be any substitute for seeing a product in the flesh.

It’s not just about showing off products though, as a huge number of service companies get a great return from attending exhibitions.

The single biggest motivator for people looking to choose a new supplier remains the trust in that company and the most direct and easiest way to build trust with a potential client is by dealing with them in person.

Exhibitions remain the only marketing solution where potential clients physically come to see your company, come onto your stand space and give you the opportunity to show them how your product or service and staff can add real value to their company. That’s why exhibitions remain exciting and relevant.

Companies who haven’t exhibited before say to me: “I want to go to the show but all of my competitors will be there too.” They’re absolutely right. The trouble is, if you’re not there then that doesn’t mean your competitors suddenly won’t be. Exhibitions are a time to stand toe to toe with your competitors and show the market place why you are the ones they should choose.

This doesn’t mean you need to take the biggest stand space or spend the most money. At exhibitions, bigger is not always best. A small space, with a clearly thought out and delivered message that will resonate with the visitors is always better than a huge space with fancy logos and tag lines that mean nothing to anyone.

The last 3 “best stand at show” awards that clients of ours have won have been for stand spaces less than 12sqm. When done well, exhibitions really are a great way for the smaller budgets and companies to punch with the big guys.