Five reasons your business needs to be at an exhibition this year…

1.Talk to potential customers face to face. Historically customers have always preferred buying through a relationship management process and exhibitions are uniquely successful in providing the best environment for interaction and accelerating interest and trust between business and consumer. This is valuable because people buy from people they trust.

Attendees tend to be motivated and interested and willing to talk, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. So send your best sales team and enjoy capturing targeted leads. With the deluge of marketing messages flying around on email, adverts and social media, it’s actually getting harder to reach customers and be heard.

Many are becoming blind to out-bound marketing and some even see it as an intrusion into their working and personal life. An exhibition is the place to form a meaningful connection again.

2. Give your brand meaning. Reputation and trust is vital when building a brand. Remember, the brand is how others see you, not always how you see yourself, so an exhibition is a great way to find out what people think and feed that back to strengthen the branding strategy. An exhibition is also a fantastic opportunity to create a customer experience, and showcase what you have to offer above and beyond your competitors.

Experiential marketing is all about creating live tactile experiences that foster emotional connections between your brand/product and the customer. In an age of remote digital engagement, this ‘hands on’ experience can make a huge impact, especially for consumer brands. Consider running a sampling exercise, market research exercise or launching a new product. Experiential marketing is a growing trend and an exhibition could be the right place for your organisation to try its hand at this powerful marketing activity.

3. Market research. Talk to everyone and make a note of their opinions, needs, wants. Plan what you want to find out, perhaps construct some kind of survey. Make the most of this access.

4. Competitor research. It’s very likely you won’t be alone at an exhibition. Your competitors, known and unknown will probably be there too. So here is your chance to research pricing structures, services and products and gain understanding of where your own strengths and weaknesses are in your business.

5. Sales. We finish with sales because ultimately, all the activity already mentioned is to lay the foundations for selling. As a sales tool, exhibitions help you access interested leads face to face. Their nature facilitates relationship marketing and strengthens client retention and brand loyalty. They provide access to competitor information and market research whilst giving an organization the platform in which to really impress potential customers with a brand experience.

All of this without needing to send direct mail, numerous sales calls or sales meetings. The sales potential from exhibiting remains relevant and powerful even in this age of online and digital because its about personal interaction, something that remains highly valued by customers and business.