Less Can Be More: Viewing the Trade Show as a Diagnostic Tool

What if you could get a greater return of investment on your trade show experience just by changing the way you see it? There is so much more to a trade show than meets the eye, and looking beneath the surface can increase the long-term results.

As an event organizer, you are probably thinking about how to make each event as cost effective as possible by streamlining expenses.

As an exhibitor, you are probably concerned with making such a costly and time-consuming endeavor worth the investment.

And as an attendee, you want to be sure that you are able to network sufficiently to make the trip worth your efforts.

Each party involved shares the same goal: efficiency. We all want to get the maximum results from minimum resources—which are usually just a 10’x10’ space and only two or three days. However, increasing efficiency takes time and organization, and we’re sometimes so occupied with meeting the bottom line that we’re forced to carry on in the same way, year after year.

So how do we improve the ROI of tradeshow attendance and exhibition—without having to make any costly or difficult changes? Perhaps a slight change in the way we perceive the trade show experience and the ROI can lead us to better results.

What if we didn’t define our ROI within strictly short-term financial parameters? What if the ROI included crucial insights and observations that could be implemented in the long term, allowing for future increases in profit and effectiveness?

This would lead us to a new position: to start looking at trade shows as a diagnostic tool.

Imagine the following scenario: a representative from your company has traveled to the trade show city and set up a costly booth, hoping to acquire new clients or sales and ideally turn a profit from these connections. The ratio of time and money to potential profits is 1:1. But what if you were to send your head of sales or President of the company instead? Under their leadership, they could simultaneously use this event as an opportunity assess the health and efficiency of your business, glean new tactics by meeting with other heads in your industry, and discover where your company stands amongst competitors in your field. All of this information is absolutely invaluable for increasing efficiency and profit. The trade show is the only platform for countless professionals to meet up at once in person, so why not make that work to your advantage? In this second scenario, the ratio of time and money to potential profit is 1:2.

The trade show would then become an incredibly cheap way to do a company diagnostic. In just a matter of days, without investing much more time or money, you could achieve the short-term sales and discover long-term improvements that could be implemented in your business. The tradeshow suddenly becomes twice as effective, and the effects of an efficient trade show are limitless—besides increasing profit, you will build community, enable more valuable connections, and widen exposure to your brand.

You’d gain maximum results from minimum resources.

In changing the way we understand the usefulness of trade shows from a model of advertising and networking, to a model of advertising, networking, and diagnostics, we realize there is so much more to a trade show than meets the eye.