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To tradeshow or not to in B2B. If not, then what?

To tradeshow or not to in B2B. If not, then what?

In classical marketing strategies, trade showing and attending industry events is a must. Many marketers put tradeshow in the top 3 strategies for most of their programs. I dare challenge this point of view, since I did not find yet in b2b a tradeshow or event, to justify the costs through consequential results. If you have a marketing budget to spend I do advice paying attention to these arguments and counterarguments. 

1. Pro:you have to be there if your competition is there

Con: if you’re focused on beating the competition on their grounds you don’t have a great strategy to start with

2. Pro: I got a good discount on the booth/slot/track

Con: these costs are rarely major in the overall costs of attending the tradeshow

 3. Pro:helps our branding

Con: if you do not have a brand to begin with, any tradeshow rarely will add anything to it

4. Pro: helps sales.

Con:cost per lead in a tradeshow is very high, even if you targeted the right audience.

5. Pro: everyone is there

Con: except the business decision makers that really buy from you… Unless you invited some of your clients to show off

6. Pro: Networking

Con: yes, sometimes you need to network with the competition. They need to find out about you and what you’re doing for sure… 

So what can you do?

  1. Stop attending spend your marketing money on something worth while
  2. Count for the real costs of attending the tradeshow (like a working day of your top salesperson or the day of your CEO to spend there)
  3. Find some other ways to market that give you better results (marketing accountability can be a pain…that’s if you postpone it too much)
  4. If you have to be in a tradeshow go for booth hunting in your client’s tradeshow s to find out more about them. That will give you better leads as well
  5. If your boss forces you into attending a tradeshow ask him to review the above arguments.

If you still have to go there than you should address other sources of information J (we’ll have one in here as well but later on and probably for b2c ). 

This being said please stay put for the more positive approach for attending conferences in one of the next posts. 

What’s your thought on it?

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Some more good posts on related topics:

Jacquelyn Lynn, Business Writer – What role does tradition play in your marketing plan?

Andy Hayler – Tradeshows and lemmings

Scott Thompson – Small Business B2B Marketing

3 Responses

  1. Messages from Hernan Cuevas (2):”Also, I would like to comment on your main article in the blog. I won’t make a general statement about trade shows. The convenience or not to participate (cost-effective speaking) depend on the market and show we are talking about. While I agree with you that many of them are useless and their only objective is to create profit for the organizers, there are some cases, especially in some niches, where the attendance is a must if you want to make business in that market.

    http://www.linkedin.com/answers?viewQuestion=&questionID=84432&askerID=4640370

  2. We convered this topic recently over at the Pragmatic Marketing site. Very strong opinions were had by all!

  3. Thanks for the comment! I love your thoughts here. I’ll add your blog to my subscriptions.

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