The health IT industry has hundreds of events every year but with several well-known names pulling out of the market, is this the end of the exhibition in our industry?
One of the biggest problems has been that too many organisations have continued to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Many have lacked creativity, used the same speakers, lacked a focus on driving the right audience, not supported exhibitors in getting the most out of an event and ultimately given some exhibitors CEFS – chronic event fatigue syndrome.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, those who have not survived have given way to the ones who are delivering and made room for new, innovative events that have the potential to bring the industry back to life.
Why events will always be a staple in the marketing plan
Think about your hottest prospects. Time is their most valuable commodity. That’s why, in business-to-business markets, it can be so hard for your sales team to get in to see them. Given the value of their time, what does it say about a prospect who invests a day to visit an exhibition? It says they’re motivated. It says they have a reason to be there. It says they’re serious buyers in active buying mode.
This is the power of exhibitions: no other medium concentrates your efforts on the most active buyers in your markets at any given time.
Because they represent the marketplace in one place and time – bringing together suppliers, buyers, purchase influencers, consultants and the media – exhibitions are an incredibly versatile marketing medium. If you want to launch new products, generate media coverage, build brand awareness, generate leads and retain existing customers, exhibitions let you do it all in one bold stroke.
Unless your new to the market, the days of using exhibitions as ‘flag waving exercises’ are long gone. Today’s best marketers expect exhibitions to deliver a significant return on investment – in measurable terms, including cost per lead and cost per sale.
Interactivity at its best
As a marketer, you’ve never had so many marketing media to choose from. Some may boast ‘interactivity’ – but, in a largely digital modern world, what is more interactive than a conversation between people? Others may claim to be ‘direct’ – but can you get any more direct than face-to-face? Still others focus on targeting – but none can put you in front of a self-selected audience of active buyers. No one would say that exhibitions should be the only medium in your marketing plan. But many would agree that exhibitions are the pinnacle of the marketing pyramid – that they deliver completely what other media can only get you a step closer to: personal interaction with real buyers.
A medium like no other
Top marketers in virtually every industry have known it for years. The right exhibition is the only marketing medium that:
- brings your most active prospects and customers to you
- allows you to demonstrate products, answer questions, overcome objections and meet your market face-to-face
- harnesses all five senses to drive home your messages
- allows you to further virtually all your marketing goals at the same time
If you’ve had a bad show, don’t let that put you off events for ever – it’s important to remember that when you evaluate an exhibition, you’re actually measuring many things at the same time, including the show itself, the market climate, your planning and marketing and your competitors’ activities. You might conclude that an event was wrong for your company when it was a competitor who made a huge investment and their special promotion rained on your parade – try to be objective before dismissing events altogether and missing out on an opportunity to do things differently.