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Gregg Robertson

Oh, Steve, you are so right on! It's a wonder anybody sells anything anymore! I know exhibitors (no names) who measure their trade show ROI by how many catalogs they have to lug home with them! "Yeah, this was only a one box show; I'm not coming back." Don't get me started!


Nice blog Steve…

I have been to many trade shows and have received many promotional material…

And I have to say that most companies, especially industrial ones, love to promote features and benefits that either their customers don’t care about, or don’t understand…

If a product is targeted to a specific market (that wants or needs the product) via a specific medium (frequented by the market) with a message that the market cares about… sales will follow!


I disagree, and I do a lot of them and pay for a lot of them. Here is the problem with trade shows, the big guys that have 2 story booths typically take the first 3 rows of a show where all the traffic is. The small, new, innovative company that has something that needs to get awareness, leads etc. is placed in the back near the bathrooms or out in the parking lot. They see nowhere near the traffic of the booth of the big guys. Hence they stop comming. The attendees come to see things they don't know exist, (things they know exist - they can get information on the web) but the little innovative guys are not there any more, so they stop coming. This creates a death spiral for the trade show which is why trade shows will eventually die off. Two reasons - no innovation so why go, and I can get most of everything I need on the Web after the kids go to bed. Sorry to tell you but trade shows are dead. I have gone from 12 a year to 4 a year. You will end up with 1 or 2 big shows in each industry and all the regional shows will die. This has already happened in the industrial space. Go check out Westec it use to be in 4 buildings now it is in one section of the L.A. convetion center.

The way to fix trade shows, is put together a point system based on revelence to the market and innovation, those that score high enough are given premium placement in the show. Interest trumps big dollars or big names. If Joe's Tools is more innovative than Summitomo then Summitomo is in the back - we don't care how much money they have. This will drive innovation and buzz, If you want to play, you better bring the new stuff.


Yes, I agree. It's all about segmenting your market properly in the first place, and targeting your marketing - and the medium you use to deliver the message - to a specific niche.

Even more effective is to find out what the target market wants - and then create it for them (be it a product, service, information or whatever).


I agree. While placement in a show can effect your results, identifying your goal and executing a plan are the key. I work dozens of expos every year and the biggest problems I see are exhibitors either waiting for their "qualified" prospects to come to them with wallets open or as you say, treating the show like advertising. With few exceptions, any company can make any show into a winner. It's all in how you approach it.

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