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Should you be taking part in exhibitions and trade shows?

Exhibiting at trade shows can bring several benefits to your business: you can meet directly with potential customers and generate leads. However, success is not guaranteed and there are a number of costs involved. Consider the pros and cons before you decide to invest your time and money. 


The benefits: 

Raise awareness – exhibiting at industry events is an effective way of raising your profile and generating brand awareness. As well as taking a stand at an event, there are usually other advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Being a keynote speaker also significantly raises your profile above those of other exhibitors and positions you as a thought leader, but there is usually an additional cost attached.

Meet in person – meeting face-to-face with potential customers is a good way to start building relationships.

Networking - trade shows are perfect for you to meet potential new customers and suppliers

Competitor insights – taking time to wander round the exhibition can also give you great insights into what your competitors are doing- how you can learn from them and where you are head of them, which in turn can support your business development and marketing.

Products launces – trade shows are a good place to introduce a new product or service. Being able to explain your offering in person and answer questions is ideal if your product is innovative.

Build your database – meeting with potential customers at an exhibition helps you to grow your marketing lists and generate sales leads. 

Some of the downsides include: 

Costs – there are several costs however, including: stand space, stand design and build, travel and possibly accommodation for staff, as well as staff time. It’s worth setting these against what return on investment you would need to make that worthwhile before committing.

Follow-up – not so much a downside, but an additional expense that needs to be factored in. To get the most out of your investment, you need to make sure you allocate resources to following up quickly with your new leads, otherwise the whole event could prove fruitless, no matter how many great contacts you made on the day.

Competition – it is likely your competitors will also be exhibiting at the event. You’ll need to stand out to get the attention of potential customers; eye-catching banners are a must, but also think of ways to engage people passing by your stand that’s not a straight sales pitch.

Results aren’t guaranteed – despite the investment of exhibiting, you are not guaranteed any sales leads.

Potential low turnouts – without big name speakers and exhibitors or the right publicity, trade shows may not have enough people there to make your presence worthwhile – and organisers often oversell footfall. Do your research before choosing to exhibit at an event. 

Whether you run a chef school or you’re a car dealer, there are many reasons you might want to go to exhibitions and tradeshows. However, before you jump in make sure you know that it’s the right event for your business, and then make sure you plan your investment to stand out from the crowd and capitalise on the leads you generate.

To find out more about how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email communications@sharpminds.agency

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