The Power of In-Person Events
Although it may seem like digital marketing is king, and having a solid strategy there is certainly important, in-person events still carry a lot of weight with perspective clients—especially those in the trades. Being able to see and touch a product they will use in the field has a great deal of value to builders, remodelers and architects.
In-person events, which can include trade shows, professional conferences and on-site demonstrations, allow manufacturers and product marketers to connect with buyers in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do online. Even with a wide array of digital technologies, there is no substitute for building person-to-person relationships. Having a positive real-time experience with a salesperson or other company representative can build loyalty.
Trade shows remain the most profitable business-to-business media strategy in the United States. According to Statista, a global provider of market and consumer data, trade shows generated more than $12.8 billion dollars of U.S. revenue in 2016. Almost half of the revenue that comes from events and trade shows is from registrations, but the rest comes from exhibit sales.
Exhibitors surveyed by Statista also reported positive results from trade shows. In a report published in 2018, around 68% of exhibitors said they were confident that their trade show efforts would yield higher results in 2018 than they did in 2017, with 16% of them saying they were extremely confident.
Here are a few things to do at in-person events to make them pay off big time.
Help Customers Increase Product Knowledge
The more customers know about a product, the more likely they are to purchase it. Even though online research can go a long way, it’s still not a substitute for touching and testing a product. Construction industry pros work with their hands, so there’s a good bet they will want to try something before using it for one of their customers.
Of the trade show attendees surveyed by Statista, 57% reported that getting a better understanding of the product was influential in their decision to purchase it.
Staff your booth with people who know the product and are prepared to do demonstrations and/or answer a wide array of questions on the spot.
Live demos can also work well in smaller settings, such as a local showroom or a house that’s been newly remodeled. Since these are done with a particular focus in mind, they provide a lower-cost opportunity to target a specific buying audience, rather than spending funds to attract them at a larger event.
Events are a great way to generate excitement over new product launches or to establish your company as a thought leader.
To unveil a new product, companies can tease out a big reveal ahead of the event on social media to build anticipation. Knowing they will be the first to see a product live and in action can be a big draw for perspective buyers who are attending.
Journalists from trade publications are usually on the hunt for new products to cover for a “hot finds” section or trade show roundup. If your product generates enough buzz, it’s likely to attract press, as well.
If a business owner spends the money and takes the time to attend a conference, they’re likely there to gather skills and information to take back and apply. Speaking at a conference can amplify brand awareness and generate interest, especially if what you present is educational.
Trade shows can also be a great place for capturing branded video. There’s excitement and activity, and also a chance to show your product being used or admired by other customers.
Since your customers have their own social media audiences to engage, they will be looking for social media fodder at event, too. Research by the Event Marketing Institute found that 98% of attendees at events and experiences create digital or social content. There’s a good chance your product or demonstration will end up on a customer’s social media channel.
Make your booth aesthetically interesting and/or interactive, and it will be more attractive for social posts.
Having a presence at an in-person event allows a brand to cultivate a relationship with clients— both new and existing. It provides the opportunity to offer educational resources, showcase customer service, and position the product or service as a solution to the business owner’s problem or need.
According to a 2016 report from the Event Marketing Institute, 84% of event attendees said they had a more positive opinion about a company, brand or product after seeing it promoted at an event, and 74% said engaging with a marketing experience at an event makes them more likely to buy the product being showcased.
When designing your in-person event marketing strategy, try to create an experience for attendees. They will remember it, and your brand.