Almost every industry and field have their own set of trade shows. Although expos are not nearly as popular as they once were, they still hold an important role in marketing efforts. The reasons that they are not as popular today as a few years ago include: increased use of internet marketing; high expense of production, including rents, utilities, convention center expenses, labor, etc.; tendency of exhibiting companies to offer show discounts to non- attendees, etc.
Exhibitors find it very expensive to exhibit at these exhibitions. Some of their costs include: labor; putting employees up in hotels and providing meals; printing; renting trade show space; cost of display; shipping; utilities; exhibit breakdown; samples; etc. Often, the amount of sales made at a trade show do not, in and of themselves, cover the ever-escalating costs. Because of a number of factors, attendance at trade shows have also decreased, and thus exhibitors become more resistant to exhibiting. This cause and effect reaction results in an almost self-defeating situation.
However, there are certain advantages to attending a trade show, that cannot easily be duplicated by other means. While one can look at a product demonstration via a DVD or on the internet, only at these formats can one experience hands-on how a product works, how it feels, and a number of other intrinsic factors. Only face-to-face can one “demo” a product, and have questions answered that you specifically have. From a negotiating standpoint, a good negotiator can do much better in a trade show face-to-face situation, based not only on volume or temporary discounts, but also based on competitive factors from competing companies with similar products exhibiting at the same expo.
Only in this type of setting can one experience economies of scale shopping. Because several different companies may have products that you are interested in, you can effectively use your time, seeing numerous exhibits within one exposition or convention center. This is similar to the advantages of looking for jewelry at a jewelry exchange, or for diamonds at a diamond exchange. Attending these events provides some of the same advantages as when a shopper visits a shopping mall.
These expositions also offer numerous networking opportunities, as well as offering continuing education courses specific to that field or industry. There are numerous expos in a large number of fields, including: dentistry; medicine; pharmaceutical; hardware; computer hardware; computer software; technology; etc. Certainly, trade shows can not be the sole source of shopping, researching, purchasing, continuing education and training; etc. However, they do serve an integral source of value as an essential resource in an overall evaluation and purchasing process.
Some people enjoy attending expos while others do not. If they only served one purpose, an individual could ignore these expos. However, since there are multiple purposes, and mentioned previously, without attending these, an individual is sacrificing important information, education, networking and comparison shopping. Trade shows are also the place that companies often introduce and promote new and upcoming programs, projects, and products. Anyone serious about succeeding in their field needs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by attending.