What is the true value of the trade show? Why is it that an industry which requires such a massive investment of time and money can compete with other marketing and networking avenues? What is the most important aspect of the trade show? Is it the marketing potential? The networking opportunities? The educational benefits?
Of course the most obvious answer would be that it is the unique combination of all of these items which makes trade shows so massively attractive and beneficial for companies of all sizes. But, perhaps it is even more than just these more obvious benefits to your business. There are a whole lot of trade show ideas which seem not to fall into one of these categories.
Perhaps, there is something to be said for the coming together of a whole industry (or at least a sizable segment of that industry) to celebrate their work and their livelihood. Even when the situation seems to be that the biggest trade show ideas are about competition. Who can sell the most? Who has the best products? The best branding? Does this really get at the heart of what a trade show is?
There are more cost-effective ways to market your company than the rather expensive option of the trade show. LinkedIn is a great way to network, right? Really, then what is it that the trade show is offering. Is it all this plus more? Plus, the chance to celebrate our work and our industry? The ability to create a temporary community and a sense of understanding in the face of the relentless dog-eat-dog competition that we are all supposed to be engaged in?
If you have never attended a trade show, then you can’t really speak to the true meaning of what it provides for you and for your company. But, there’s a good chance that a lot of people who have attended these shows have found more than just the surface level benefits, which is what keeps them coming back again and again.