How relevant are business exhibitions in the digital age?
Recent studies estimate that the internet contributes to over 8% of the UK economy, a bigger share than for any of the other G20 major countries. In the UK, ecommerce has grown steadily, reaching £137.38bn in 2017, according to ONS data.
So against this background – and an ever changing marketing landscape where social media, twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are seen as increasingly important ways of engaging with customers – how important are business exhibitions as part of a company’s promotional activites?
Well, firstly most business activity is still conducted “offline” and whilst you would be foolish to ignore the web economy, you would be just as foolish to walk away from traditional marketing and business methods. And it is not as if a traditional marketing campaign cannot be underpinned by a social media campaign and online activities (and vice versa).
Indeed many modern marketing strategies rely on a successful combination of online and offline marketing channels to deliver the best results.
Exhibiting at an event is still a great way of generating new leads and contacts, raising your profile, launching a new product or service, strengthening your brand / image or simply reconnecting with your existing clients and contacts. But the emergence of social media as a marketing tool enables exhibitors to get significant additional value from their involvement at an event. It is now simple for them to announce a special competition or offer / activity that they will be running on their stand and instantly reach out to hundreds or thousands of contacts through Twitter and Facebook.
Visiting an exhibition also provides valuable benefits – networking opportunities, sourcing local suppliers and partners, obtaining advice and information. Some events can also be highly educational with workshops and one to one clinics often available.
One other simple (but crucial) thing that exhibitions offer is the ability to meet people in person – face to face. And many people still like to do business with someone they have met.
In conclusion, business exhibitions and events are still highly relevant even in today’s digital world. In fact, the development of social media and digital marketing enables businesses to get more out of being involved in exhibitions than ever before and allows them to maximise their exposure and profile at the events.