Trades Shows…A Thing of the Past?

Last week some of our team here at Throughput| Bluestreak |Bright-AM attended the Rapid + TCT show in Detroit, Michigan. It is the largest event in North American dedicated to Additive Manufacturing. According to its organizer SME, there were approximately 6,000 attendees & 400 exhibitors. Overall, we interacted with multiple prospects and spoke with exhibitors & attendees alike who are doing a variety of interesting things throughout the Additive Manufacturing world. Nevertheless, over the course of the week, our team continue to raise the questions…” Is it worth it?” and “are trade shows a thing of the past?”

It’s no secret that an increasing number of today’s businesses are focusing mainly on digital outlets to attract and retain their customers. The widespread nature of the internet has meant that people can be reached anywhere at any time and have access to a vast amount of information at their fingertips. Naturally, this presents several ‘real-time’ marketing opportunities that a trade show simply can’t offer, due to both geographic and time constraints. Consequently, this would suggest that the offline nature of a trade show is behind the times, so to speak... or are they?

According to statistics compiled by the website, “The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a trade show is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259. By displaying at an expo, you find a much more cost-effective way to have face-to-face conversations with potential prospects.” Furthermore, despite these limitations trade show may have, the fact is consumer behavior has gone full circle. People are now seeking real-life experiences and face-to-face interaction more so than in recent years. Research from Hubspot found that 68% of professional’s value face-to-face interactions more than online ones.

Well there you have it.

On the surface, you may question if trade shows are a waste of time when compared to modern-day business practices, but the fact is, they are still heavily attended and offer several unique benefits that compel businesses to exhibit year after year.