The 2008 results from Trade Show Trends’ report will be in soon, and I am predicting exhibit performance is on the decline. This is probably not a shocking assumption given the state of our economy, but I feel trade shows are still very important for a variety of reasons – demonstrating, learning, networking and educating.
The 2008 results will probably be the report that begins to illustrate a decline. The 2007 report was relatively in line with that from 2007 – both were good years for the trade show industry. Granted, the exhibitors have to pay to attract each attendee, but that is simply a sign of the times. With 82% of attendees having power in making or recommending purchasing decisions, and each attendee spending about 8.3 hours per show visiting exhibits, the power of these shows is undeniable. But with marketing budgets on the chopping block and companies scrambling to put their money towards tried and true methods, I think these stats will be forgotten or overlooked.
My suggestion? Don’t give up on this personal form of company promotion. When you have a great product or service and are proud of what you have to offer, you have the chance to show others while creating an unforgettable first impression. Trade shows open the door – you could have hundreds of attendees stop by, each one of them being a potential customer.