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Shifting the Mindset: Trade Shows = Demand Capture

Trade shows and events have been a marketing staple for many businesses. They're a great way to showcase your products or services, network with potential customers, and create brand awareness. However, many companies have traditionally viewed trade shows and events as branding opportunities only. They attend to build brand awareness and make a good impression on attendees. While these are important goals, they don't always translate into revenue. 

However, in today's competitive business environment, shifting this mindset and seeing trade shows and events as a demand-capture opportunity is essential.

The Importance of In-Person Events

In recent years, there has been a growing trend toward virtual events. However, a recent study conducted by Display Wizard found that 95% of exhibitors prefer in-person events over virtual ones. This is likely because in-person events offer a more immersive experience. In addition, attendees can see, touch, and try products and services, making it easier for exhibitors to generate leads and capture demand.

The Benefits of Trade Shows and Events for Demand Capture

Trade shows and events offer several benefits for demand capture. First, they provide a captive audience. Attendees are there because they're interested in the products or services. This means that exhibitors have a ready-made audience more likely to be receptive to their message.

Second, trade shows and events offer the opportunity to generate high-quality leads. According to Display Wizard's 2022 Trade Show Exhibitor Survey, 70% of businesses generated new leads and brand awareness from trade shows. These leads are often more valuable than leads generated through other channels, as they have already shown an interest in the products or services you offer.

Third, trade shows and events provide the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers. Exhibitors can build trust and establish a rapport with potential customers by interacting with attendees and showcasing the benefits of their products or services. This can lead to long-term relationships and repeat business.

Finally, trade shows and events provide the opportunity to close deals on the spot. According to Exhibitor Online, 82% of trade show attendees have the authority to make purchasing decisions. This means that exhibitors can close deals and generate revenue on the spot.

Making Trade Shows and Events a Revenue Driver

Businesses need to take a strategic approach to make trade shows and events revenue drivers. 

Here are some tips for maximizing the revenue potential of trade shows and events:

  1. Set clear goals: Before attending a trade show or event, set clear goals for what you want to achieve. Do you want to generate a certain number of leads? Close a certain number of deals? Setting clear goals allows you to measure the event's success and make data-driven decisions about future events.
  2. Choose suitable events: Not all events are created equal. Choose events that attract your target audience and align with your business objectives. This will ensure that you're reaching the right people and maximizing your chances of success.
  3. Plan ahead: Trade shows and events require a lot of planning and preparation. Ensure you have a clear plan for showcasing your products or services, generating leads, and following up after the event.
  4. Train your team: Your team will be on the front lines of the event, so they must be well-trained and prepared. Ensure they understand your goals, messaging, and approach to lead capture.
  5. Follow-up: Follow-up is critical after any trade show or event. Ensure you have a clear plan for following up with leads and closing deals. This may include phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings.

Leveraging Technology for Trade Shows and Events

Technology can significantly enhance the trade show and event experience for attendees and exhibitors alike. Two areas where technology can have a particularly significant impact are augmented reality and lead capture tools.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes digital content onto the real world, allowing users to experience a more immersive and interactive environment. AR can benefit trade shows and events as it can help exhibitors showcase their products or services more engagingly.

For example, an exhibitor can use AR to create a virtual demonstration of their product, allowing attendees to see how it works and interact with it in real time. This can be particularly useful for products that are difficult to transport or demonstrate in a traditional booth setting.

AR can also provide attendees with more information about the products or services. For example, an exhibitor can create an AR experience that allows attendees to scan a product and learn more about its features and benefits.

Lead Capture Tools

Lead capture tools are software or apps that allow exhibitors to capture leads and data during a trade show or event. These tools can be handy as they allow exhibitors to quickly and easily capture attendee information and follow up with leads after the event.

There are several types of lead capture tools available, including:

  • Badge Scanning: Exhibitors can rent badge scanning tools to quickly capture attendee information by scanning their badges. This information can then be exported to a database for follow-up after the event.
  • Mobile Apps: Some providers have mobile apps that allow exhibitors to scan attendee badges and business cards or collect contact information through a lead capture form. These apps can also provide exhibitors real-time data on booth traffic and attendee engagement while syncing the leads to a CRM or MAP in real-time. Saving a lot of time post-event segmenting and reaching out to leads.
  • Interactive Kiosks: Interactive kiosks can be set up in an exhibitor's booth, allowing attendees to input their information directly into the system. This tool can be handy for collecting feedback, running surveys during the event, or letting contacts download valuable content.

By leveraging technology such as AR and lead capture tools, exhibitors can create a more engaging and interactive experience for attendees while streamlining their lead generation and follow-up processes.

Trade shows and events are a valuable channel for demand capture, not just brand awareness. By shifting the mindset and viewing these events as revenue drivers, businesses can maximize the potential of trade shows and events. 

With a strategic approach that includes setting clear goals, choosing suitable events, planning ahead, training your team, and following up with leads, businesses can generate high-quality leads, build relationships with potential customers, and close deals on the spot. 

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