Although most of the emphasis paid to advertising in the last ten years has been on digital advertising and taking advantage of the online medium, advertising through trade shows has not been far behind. B2B Magazine, in their 2014 Marketing Outlook study, showed that the second largest area of growth in media spending is within events, second only to digital.
The reasons are not hard to see:
- The average U.S. trade show visitor spends 9.5 hours viewing exhibits.
- 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority, meaning they are potential customers.
- There are 2.2 trade show visitors per 100 square feet of exhibit space on average in the United States.
A trade show booth has advantages over many other kinds of advertising and marketing mediums.
The top value cited by exhibitors is the ability to see prospects and customers at the same time and lots of them. The second top value is the actual interaction, that face-to-face meeting, which mostly eludes digital marketing. There is also the possibility of interacting with many different businesses, such as customers, resellers, and suppliers.
That value shows when looking at the B2B exhibitions. In 2011, 39% of the B2B marketing budget went to B2B exhibitions, making it the largest amount of any marketing channel. That number has held steady in recent years, demonstrating the resilience of trade shows.
But even with trade shows having remarkable value to companies, many companies still do not have a concrete understanding about how to market themselves while attending them. Here are the statistics:
- The average company allocates 32% of its total marketing budget to events and exhibits.
- More than $24 billion is spent annually by U.S. exhibitors for trade show displays.
- 70% of exhibitors set no specific objectives for trade show exhibits.
The trade show booth is considered by many to be key for success at a trade show exhibit. The right trade show booth can capture the interest of a customer or other businessperson, while the wrong trade show booth can have the exhibit lost in a sea of other exhibits, not drawing attention, and not generating interest.
Much of trade show exhibit display depends on science: Whereas on a computer, the individual is a limited distance away, a trade show attendee might be numerous feet away. Here are some general rules of thumb:
1. Calculate your font size. A good rule of thumb is to add an inch of height for every foot away the view will stand. If you want your text to be read comfortably from 10 feet away for instance, add 10 inches to the font size.
2. Think about the graphics. Consider distance as well when designing the graphics. You may need three types–short-range, medium-range, and long-range–depending on how far away viewers will be standing.
3. Know your booth type. Standard or linear booths are arranged in a straight line and have neighbors to the left and the right. They are commonly ten feet wide by ten feet deep.