Trade shows are all about marketing, whether pioneering innovation, encouraging networking, or spurring sales. From the first exhibitions in 1851 to today’s ever-evolving industry, trade shows are a key cog in the world of face-to-face marketing.
As we discussed in Trade Show 101 | Welcome to the Industry, trade shows are gatherings where companies in a specific industry showcase their latest products to customers, industry partners, analysts, and the media. Trade shows also allow companies to examine market trends, study the activities of competitors, and even recruit new employees.
That’s a lot of activity to squeeze into just a few days, especially considering that trade shows are filled with dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of competitors all vying for attendee attention.
Despite the competitive nature of trade shows, nearly every company in the world participates in the industry. Whether as an attendee or an exhibitor, the show floor is a master class in face-to-face marketing.
Beyond networking opportunities, trade shows also generate demand for products and services while serving a vital role in sales, procurement, and strategic collaboration among key players and departments.
Where else will you find a room full of potentially interested clients?
With the proper approach and the right team, trade shows can become a significant source of lead generation and a fantastic channel for a company’s messaging and branding.
It’s no wonder marketing has such heavy involvement in the trade show process.
So, where do trade shows fall in the grand scheme of the marketing world?
Trade shows closely align with both event and experiential marketing. While trade shows operate under a shared umbrella, the two marketing tactics serve differing purposes.
Event marketing is defined as the planning, organizing, and execution of an event to promote a brand, product, or service. Experiential marketing encompasses in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between brands and their target audiences.
Think work conferences and pop-up shops versus fan experiences and hands-on workshops.
Whether event or experiential marketing, the trade show world serves as an opportunity for not only event showcases but important client activations, engagements, and experiences.
The next time your marketing department dreams up a new trade show campaign, jump at the chance. From opening new doors to immersing customers, trade shows allow an opportunity to advance and evolve your brand for a captive audience ready to be impressed.
How you respond to this one-of-a-kind opportunity is up to you.