Internet is believed to be one of the most serious challenges and a major threat to the trade show industry. The popular idea is that in course of time information technologies will oust trade shows. Let’s figure out what internet is – a friend or a foe for trade show industry.
Indeed, the internet has a number of undoubted advantages for companies promoting products or services:
- wide geographical coverage of the audience;
- unlimited time of influence (24 hours 7 days in a week);
- availability of the tools of operational control (number of views, transitions, the percentage of conversion, etc.);
- relatively low cost and ease of placement of banner and contextual advertising;
- possibility to study and get to the social and professional environment, receive feedback.
To companies that are interested in finding a supplier of goods or services, internet offers:
- a huge selection of proposals;
- possibility to use several independent sources for information collecting;
- absence of temporal and geographical limitations;
- ease of use and low cost.
However, it does not mean that for establishment of business relationships a necessity for the personal contact is no longer relevant. The format of live communication will be in demand as long as people remain people.
We can share information and contact over the Internet, however knowing someone is truly possible only by live communications. Confidence relationships are established much faster when people can meet face to face, look into each other’s eyes, shake hands. Only a personal contact helps to understand whether it is worth to deal with a person or not.
In spite of appearance of new promotional tools, trade shows remain the powerful instrument of business development. The key advantages of trade shows are:
- possibility to accomplish the great number of tasks (sale, marketing, imaginary, advertisement, communication, productive) in a short temporal period;
- a visual presentation of goods, which is known to have a maximum impact on consumers;
- high intensity of direct contacts with regular and potential customers; the opportunity to actively influence their purchasing decisions;
- economy of time and money on establishment of the personal contacts with clients and partners from other cities and countries;
- unique visitor audience.
Trade shows are visited by people that might not be affected by online advertising (some companies set up block banner ads, set opened access only to certain sites; people may distrust the information they find on the Internet). Often people are just not able to buy something without seeing it with own eyes, even when it comes to quite standard products.
Trade shows attract visitors of high status – corporate executives, decision-makers of purchase. They need to get the first-hand information; they do not want to spend much time, comparing and choosing products, to find the optimal solution for business tasks.
Trade shows may be visited by potential clients that business sources have no information about; that do not react on Internet advertisements and do not respond to the e-mails, meeting with whom is usually difficult or even impossible.
Trade show attendees are in the active phase of the search and accumulating of information. They consciously spend their time and money on trade shows visiting. Often they show interest and come to the stand by themselves. Therefore, they are more influenced and receptive to proposals.
People need trade shows from commercial and emotional points of view. They will visit them. Accordingly, those who participate in trade shows are able to turn visitors into customers. And those who are not willing – give advantages to competitors.
Obviously, that both trade shows and the internet has a number of unique features and benefits that make them indispensable promotional tools. Therefore it is inexpedient to oppose them to each other – they are allies are not enemies.
Trade shows participation and online activity provide a more complete and diverse impact on the target audience, making advertising and marketing programs more effective.