With so many marketing tools at our disposal, has the 'old fashioned' business exhibition had its day? Are they a costly form of marketing for exhibitors? Are they a waste of valuable time for visitors?
All the marketing buzz right now is around social media. Blogging, twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are seen as the smart way to market your business.
Does that make business exhibitions redundant? Are they a thing of the past? Why bother exhibiting or visiting when you can connect with hundreds of potential customers and partners online?
A good marketing strategy utilises several different channels, both online and offline. It's the combination of all of these that delivers results if used properly.
I believe exhibitions still have a place in the marketing mix because exhibitors are given a deadline to sharpen up and refresh their marketing (leaflets, websites, branding, marketing messages, etc). It forces you to talk about your business and the benefits you offer with clarity and conviction.
Exhibiting also gives you a reason to communicate with your clients and prospects. It's a powerful PR message to broadcast that you are exhibiting. It shows you're proactive, confident and growing. It positions you as a 'thought leader'.
Those are benefits that go beyond the usual primary objective of new business leads, brand exposure, profile raising or launching new services.
As for visiting an exhibition, every business owner needs to be inspired from time to time. By seeing how others are promoting their businesses, it gives you fresh ideas on how to promote yours. Local exhibitions are also great for networking, finding local businesses to work with and sourcing new suppliers.
There's also something else that exhibitions give that you can't get in the virtual world. When a lot of business people come together, it creates a lot of energy and insightful conversations that generate fresh ideas and new relationships. You come away feeling re-energised and motivated about your own business.
Still not convinced? Judge for yourself by coming along to the Richmond Business Expo at Twickenham Stadium on 19th April 2012. It's SW London's largest local business expo.
Admission is free if you pre-register and there's even a free motivational seminar. For details click the link...