rockway logo

4 Reasons Why Tradeshow Programs Don’t Work

image of a coffee cup and pen on top of a sign that says "stop doing what doesn't work"

Have you ever attended a tradeshow and felt like you were wasting your time and money? You’re not alone. Many exhibitors find themselves in the same boat and often blame the event itself for not producing real results. However, the real issue may lie with your tradeshow programs. If you’ve been hit with a sudden wave of panic, don’t worry, we’ll explore the top four reasons why trade shows don’t work and what you can do to fix them so you know how to improve.

Reason #1: You are exhibiting at the wrong shows.

One of the primary reasons trade shows don’t work is that you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re not exhibiting at an event that aligns with your target audience, industry, or goals, you won’t see the results you want. It’s essential to understand who your customers are, what they want, and where they are most likely to engage with your brand. Researching and selecting the right event is crucial to maximize your ROI. Don’t just rely on past performance or your gut feeling. Use data to make informed decisions about where to invest your trade show budget. 

Maximizing your Return on Investment (ROI) from trade shows requires strategic planning and informed decision-making. It starts with selecting the right event that aligns with your target audience, industry, and business goals. By leveraging data-driven insights, you can ensure your tradeshow investments are well-placed and yield the desired results (like brand awareness!).

Reason #2: Your tradeshow programs lacks strategy.

As the saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Similarly, if you don’t have a well-thought-out strategy behind your tradeshow programs, you won’t see the results you’re looking for. A successful tradeshow program requires intention, a clear strategy, a deep understanding of your customers, and specific goals. Treat your tradeshow program like a campaign and build a comprehensive strategy around these four elements. Don’t just settle for having a booth built or using an old booth. Create an experience that engages your customers and moves the needle. A deep understanding of your customers forms the cornerstone of a successful trade show strategy. Who are they? What are their needs and expectations from a tradeshow? What motivates them to choose one exhibitor over another? These insights can guide you in creating a customer-centric strategy that resonates with your target audience.

Reason #3: Lack of alignment between sales and marketing.

Another reason why trade show programs don’t work is that there’s often a lack of alignment between sales and marketing. To produce real results, both teams must be on the same page, have a synced approach, and share common goals. Both sales and marketing should collaborate during the pre-show marketing effort and post-show follow-up effort to ensure that you’re tracking the right KPIs and making appropriate adjustments. At the pre-show marketing stage, both teams need to be involved in creating awareness about your participation in the tradeshow, generating interest among potential attendees, and planning strategies to engage them at the event. And Post-show follow-up is just as crucial as the pre-show marketing effort. Both teams should collaborate to ensure leads are effectively nurtured and converted into customers. This includes timely follow-ups, personalized communication, and tracking progress against defined KPIs. Without a shared vision and process, you run the risk of wasting your time and resources. Misalignment can lead to duplicated efforts, missed opportunities, and ineffective strategies. By aligning sales and marketing, you can ensure a cohesive, efficient, and effective trade show program.

Reason #4: No post-show measurement.

Finally, the most critical reason why trade show programs don’t work is that there’s often no post-show measurement. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. If you’re not actively and accurately assessing the effectiveness of your tradeshow programs, you’re essentially navigating without a map or compass. You’re operating in the dark, without any clear sense of direction or understanding of your performance. 

Post-show measurement is essential for a number of reasons. Firstly, it allows you to identify the most beneficial events for your business. Not all trade shows are created equal; some will naturally be more aligned with your products, services, or target audience than others. By measuring results, you can make informed decisions about which events to attend in the future, maximizing your return on investment.

Secondly, post-show measurement enables you to fine-tune your exhibits. By analyzing the data collected, you can gain insights into what worked well and what didn’t. Perhaps certain elements of your exhibit attracted more attention, generated more leads, or facilitated better engagement. Conversely, other aspects may have underperformed. With this information at hand, you can refine your approach for future events, continually enhancing your effectiveness.

Thirdly, post-show measurement provides concrete evidence of your program’s value. It’s one thing to believe that your tradeshow program is worthwhile; it’s another to prove it. Hard data can demonstrate to stakeholders the tangible benefits of your program, reinforcing its importance and justifying its continued funding.

Without thorough post-show measurement, you run the risk of making uninformed decisions that can negatively impact your budget. This could potentially undermine the success of your entire program. In an era where data-driven decision-making is king, post-show measurement is not just beneficial—it’s crucial.

When you know better, you do better.

Use the insights we provided to rethink your tradeshow program, select the right events, build a comprehensive strategy, align sales and marketing, and measure your results. Remember, when you do it right, trade shows can deliver real results that impact your entire pipeline and business. And when you need some help with your execution, we’re a simple message or phone call away: (407) 440-2952.

Share the Post:

Related Posts