In the last ten years, we have seen many fundamental economic and technological changes, which have rewritten the rules for trade shows. These are not rules like how loud you can play your music, or how close your can place the exhibit structure to the aisle, but what do you have to do to succeed at a trade show.

Some of these changes have happened over many years, while others were just wrenched into position. Here are ten things that have changed, which you must adapt to.

Measurement of the ROI from the show

You can no longer end your exhibition at the trade show with the words, ‘the trade show was good’. There is no place for ‘good’, only for ‘best’. Your trade show might be producing great results, but unless you prove it with the numbers (ROI), it will not be enough.

More uncertainty

We are living in a time of economic uncertainty. In this scenario, you might be reluctant to invest in trade shows or to buy larger exhibits. You will have to plan your attendance at trade shows in such a way that you are able to maintain financial flexibility, yet avoid paying rush charges.

Trade shows have become strong marketing venues

There is no doubt that trade shows have won in the war between marketing medias. Many marketing avenues have fallen by the wayside. Trade shows and electronic media have a larger share of B2B marketing commerce than direct mail and print. This is because trade shows give marketers what they desire. Face time with a lot of real buyers.

Buyers are more knowledgeable

Many attendees will look up a potential supplier on the Internet, before he actually meets him at a trade show. So you will have to be more hospitable, have more area in your exhibition booth to hold longer meetings, and also arrange for people who are in a position to answer more detailed questions.

Pre-show promotions has become harder

Many people still use traditional media for pre-show promotions. Sadly, it does not bring in as many people as it used to. Your mailers might be ignored, your emails might get deleted, your calls might get screened, and your magazine ads might be left unread. To bring visitors into your exhibition booth, you will have to catch their attention, when they are at the show.

Social media has risen

People are spending a lot of time on social media sites. While it cannot replace trade shows, it is a great way to reach people who have tuned out of emails, ads, direct mails, and calls.

Promotions have to be carefully chosen

Attendees at trade shows may walk around, but it is another thing altogether to get them into your stand. They now control the buying process and they will not like to give it up easily. To bring them in and to keep them interested, you will have to exchange some value, learning or an experience.

Pixels are in

Though printed graphics are still going strong, some of their sheen has been robbed by LCD TVs and similar electronic advertising medium. LED flat screens now cost about 25% of what they used to cost when they first came out. Some exhibitors have switched to pixels over print, completely.

There is technology everywhere

Trade shows have been infiltrated by technology. One-on-one interactive screens, iPads, flat screen TVs, WiFi hubs, social media are now being used to entice visitors into booths. Technology is everywhere.

Unqualified leads are being ignored

With the volume of people attending trade shows increasing, booth staff are busier than ever before. They no longer have time to go through all the business cards they receive. You will have to train them to collect qualified and high quality leads rather than normal leads. These leads will be ready to talk to you about a sale, or at least will have shown a high interest in what you have to offer, which increases your chance of converting them into client.

Author Bio:

NVP Exhibits provides a wide range of exhibition stands, pop-up display stands, trade show stands and display stand packages all kinds of exhibitions, expos, trade shows and conferences. We look after ongoing exhibitors with our unique modular display stand technology or exhibitors looking for one off solutions. You can find our more about our trade show stands and display products at our website: www.nvp.com.au