As anyone who has attended trade A shows over the past few years must surely have noticed, there has been an undeniable drop off in attendance across the board, but most particularly at the huge, everything-under-one-roof horizontal shows that try to offer everything for everybody.
There are a number of factors that have led to this. The slowing economy and declining stock prices have led to tighter budgets, resulting in cutbacks in business travel and rethinking of how companies should spend their precious resources and what they should receive for them. Pears resulting from 9/11 have also had their hand in cutbacks in business travel. I believe we are witnessing a paradigm shift from huge, super horizontal shows to small, regional, tightly focused vertical shows. Let me explain why.
Avoid The Illusion Of Crowded Horizontal Shows
One reason large shows are outdated dinosaurs headed toward extinction is because they have become too expensive for their exhibitors. Companies are no longer making decisions to exhibit at or attend events just because they always have. Events today have to show their value each and every event. There are those who are, mistakenly, of the opinion that the larger the crowd, the more sales leads you get from a trade show.
While a company may get more sales leads from a large show, say 1,000, compared to perhaps 500 sales leads from a smaller, more focused show, often fewer than five percent of the attendees from a large show are qualified leads. Very few who have the authority to purchase may be interested in your product or service.
On the other hand, one can almost guarantee that the leads at the more highly focused vertical show will be more highly qualified because marketers have become much more savvy at attracting more highly qualified attendees to smaller vertical shows. Also, attendees prefer the more intimate settings of small shows where they can easily find the vendors they are looking for as compared to trooping around a huge hall or from hail to hall at large shows searching for a particular vendor. In addition, a smaller show provides better networking opportunities.
Let us say that, for example, it costs the exhibitor $8,500 in total to exhibit at a smaller show to get 500 leads. The total cost per highly qualified lead is $17. Contrast this to the $150,000 a company may spend exhibiting at a large show to get 1,000 leads, which means they spent $150 per partially qualified lead. The exhibitor will...