I believe that trade shows are a type of inbound marketing, not outbound marketing, as some companies like Hubspot say.
Here’s why: I believe that people mainly go to trade shows because they’re searching for new ideas and products. They’re looking for solutions. When someone is actively looking for answers, that’s not outbound marketing – the customer is searching for your business. Hopefully, your business’ offerings align fully with the customer’s needs.
Storytime: I initially self-taught myself SEO when I was the technology manager at a trade show company. With the knowledge I gained from that job, I started my own company, Design and Promote. Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of Skyline dealers globally. If you do Google searches for related keywords, you will see that even to this day, I’m still a massive factor in having ensured that Skyline will show up at the top for a long time.
Why Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Inbound marketing is a method of making it easier for potential clients to find your company. This frequently occurs before the customer is ready to purchase, yet making contact early can lead to brand preference, resulting in better conversions and higher ROI.
Inbound marketing employs content marketing, social media, SEO, events, blogs, and other forms of pull marketing to generate new business by first increasing brand awareness and potential for interactions.
Inbound marketing focuses on exposure, so potential buyers come to you instead of outbound marketing, which seeks out customers. Inbound marketing focuses on new strategies to increase awareness, cultivate relationships, and produce leads rather than “rent people’s attention.”
Because these tactics don’t make consumers feel like they’re being sold to, they appeal to customers. As a result, inbound marketing material is instructive, engaging, and well-received by customers.
Inbound marketing, when done right, can produce far more significant outcomes than traditional marketing, which interrupts prospects rather than inviting them to participate.
When customers find your company this way, it has a more significant impact on their marketing decisions in the future and how they feel about your brand in general. So what’s the best part? First, inbound marketing focuses on brains rather than money because it generates organic leads and sales.
Customers are in the driver’s seat with inbound marketing. It can help with social media shares, brand exposure, SEO efforts, lead conversions, and customer retention. Customers can interact with your business at any time if you have a solid inbound marketing strategy in place.
Inbound marketing can help you qualify leads for a fraction of the cost of traditional lead generation. In addition, attention scarcity and the glut of internet information will only increase as data generation continues to rise.
To date, the internet displays up to 2.6 quintillion data bytes per day.
At any place or time, the empowered buyer with a bit of technological know-how has access to all the information they might need to make a purchasing decision. Customers now have access to detailed specifications, product or service reviews, and in-depth pricing information across competing companies. Visibility through inbound marketing is critical for success in ever-changing marketplaces.
Of Trade Shows and Human Networks
Inbound marketing has a lot to teach us about how humans get things done. Industries connect with markets and thrive essentially because we can form networks that aren’t just surface-level developments. Every time a new network is created, things happen at a much deeper level. Preferences and tastes change. People discover new products and services.
Trade shows are one of the oldest channels for forming these connections. Physical trade shows are meant to be expansive and awe-inspiring – because the ultimate goal of trade show booths is to invite people to make a connection. So whether it’s a question or three, or a generous handing over of leaflets and booklets, trade shows always give more than what people expect.
And as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, joining a trade show is more of an inbound marketing technique than anything else. People approach booths because something about the concept or display piqued their attention. People don’t go to trade shows to enjoy the sights.
People have a laundry list of problems they need to solve.
Trade shows can be a very niche or “all in” for the more significant events. Still, they’re essentially massive baskets of solutions for different kinds of people and businesses. Moreover, the answers become more understandable with physical interaction, and potential customers can understand how a particular solution fits into the puzzle more quickly.
During the pandemic, industries had to contend with the reality that large crowds are a terrible idea. Still, companies came together to host digital trade shows. People still attended these digital events, but companies observed that there wasn’t much urgency in obtaining products/services because people couldn’t see the product demonstrations in person. People, however, were still able to ask questions and get perfect responses from very knowledgeable digital trade show staff.
In the post-pandemic world, people are getting ready to give in-person trade shows a shot once again. We know more about COVID-19 now than we did over a year ago, and while the reality of the virus is still lurking, we know better now. As a result, people can protect themselves more efficiently, and there are no longer insane lines to buy hand sanitizers and masks.
I’m eager to see how in-person trade shows would prove once again that companies can create great marketing networks by having well-designed trade booths. Businesses should also explore the idea of doing hybrid trade shows. Mixed trade shows provide physical booths for those who can attend the in-person event and a digital equivalent who’d like to attend the digital event instead.
Hybrid conferences may become more popular in the future, allowing those who can participate in physical events while giving a virtual option for those who can’t. This format meets everyone’s schedule and provides everyone with flexibility, structure, and comfort. In addition, the safety factor is a fantastic benefit of hybrid trade exhibitions, which makes sense given the current circumstances.