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Vancouver Exhibitors: Avoid A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy When You Don't Value Trade Shows

November 24, 2017

Vancouver Exhibitors: Avoid A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy When You Don't Value Trade Shows

Almost all of our Vancouver and British Columbia clients value trade shows. They love the sales and marketing results trade shows bring to their businesses and organizations.

But, about once a week, we talk with a client who doesn’t like trade shows.

These exhibitors only continue to exhibit because they feel forced to.  They keep exhibiting because they feel they will be “conspicuous by our absence,” or because their sales reps tell them they have to keep exhibiting (which could be a good sign that trade shows are paying off!).

While some of these reluctant exhibitors still put forth a real effort to exhibit properly, too many of them show their reluctance by dragging their feet and putting everything off until the last minute.

By waiting until the last minute, these exhibitors destroy any chance of a positive trade show outcome by:

  • Delaying decisions and orders until they have to pay extra for rush fees and faster shipping methods
  • Running out of time to dig into and discover the details that sparks a new exhibit design which could better appeal to their target market
  • Missing out on the ability to plan and implement a pre-show marketing campaign to drive more booth traffic

Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies!

Hitting The Reset Budget On Trade Show Attitude

Perhaps you recognize yourself in this story so far, and want to know, what should I do next?  I would do these four things:

1. Recognize that trade shows do provide value, if done right

Trade shows have been matching, and sometimes exceeding GDP growth over the past 7 years. Your peers continue to exhibit at trade shows because they agree they get value from them:

  • 88% of exhibitors exhibit for awareness
  • 72% of exhibitors exhibit for leads
  • 70% of exhibitors exhibit to build partnerships
  • 65% of exhibitors exhibit to see current clients
  • 58% of exhibitors exhibit to network with industry colleagues and vendors
  • 54% of exhibitors exhibit because of competition
  • 52% of exhibitors exhibit to support industry or association
  • 52% of exhibitors exhibit to see many buyers at one time

(If you want to read more about these 8 reasons, click here.)

2. Follow your responsibility to invest your company’s money wisely

If your company has committed to investing in trade shows, make the most of that investment by not sabotaging your company’s efforts through delay and attrition. Make an effort to learn and follow best practices – there is tons of free advice at www.skyline.com/learn.

3. Start planning, not delaying

Trade shows are complex and time-consuming to do.  But so is all of today’s B2B marketing. You can give yourself a head-start by starting earlier. This helps you have time to brainstorm, collaborate, and implement a true marketing campaign to leverage your trade show attendance.

4. Learn from your successes – and mistakes – through measurement, analysis, and changes

Successfully exhibiting today requires changing your program to adapt to the technological, economic, and demographic changes in the business world. So, try new things, find out what’s working, and keep improving. We’ve helped hundreds of your fellow exhibitors, so we can coach you through what’s working now.

While trade shows work, they do require work to succeed.  If you’ve been dragging your feet in anticipation of your next trade show, I hope this gives you some positive motivation to redouble your efforts, and get started far enough ahead of your show to give yourself a much better chance for success.


Do you need help justifying your company's trade show investments? Then these are the tools for you. Our free Trade Show ROI Calculator and Comparison Tool can help track costs, identify new sales opportunities, and more! Two Excel spreadsheets. Click here to request the tools.

About the Author

Chris Laundy is the President and CMO of Skyline BC, which delivers unique, cost-effective and innovative trade show displays to Vancouver and British Columbia marketers.  Chris’s company helps their clients improve their brand representation and manage the high operational cost of exhibiting in Canada and the United States.  Skyline BC’s website can be found at www.skyline.com/vancouver-bc.

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