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Tradeshow decline has left the door open for a different type of engagement

It’s no secret that B2B marketing has changed in recent years. The days when marketers could rely on a busy programme of tradeshows to build relationships with customers, investors, corporations or the media are long gone and campaign managers are under increasing pressure to justify their exhibition and event marketing programmes.

Sure, the likes of CES, Mobile World Congress, Arab Health and the Geneva Motor Show are well-established, flagship industry events, but it’s the second tier tradeshows that are finding it difficult to attract the right crowds - the important decision makers and influencers. After all, it’s not all about the numbers, it’s getting the right people there that’s the real challenge.

Return on investment has never been so important and the decline in net square feet, exhibitor numbers and attendees at tradeshows around the world reflects the number of companies now channeling their time and money elsewhere.

If the mountain won’t come to you…

Barclays roadshow trailerMany of the B2B brands we work with echo the sentiment that tradeshow audiences are in decline and are questioning their value more than ever before. So, as the future of many smaller exhibitions hangs in the balance, what can businesses do to secure the same type of face-to-face engagement the tradeshow offers? One answer may be to create your own tradeshow and take it on the road to the people you want to influence.

Here are three reasons why a roadshow tour approach could work for you:

1. You choose the audience

You pick the people you want to target. Whether it’s decision makers, customers or influencers, you’re in control of where the exhibition goes and ultimately that will ensure better quality engagement with the people that really matter.

The targeted approach also means you can make your campaign as far reaching as you like, travelling across the UK, EMEA or the world if that’s where your brand needs to be.

2. It makes an impression


Imagine turning up at the office to see a giant roadshow truck parked up outside, opened out to reveal up to 70m2 of branded exhibition space. It’s an environment that can be used to demonstrate, communicate, train or simply entertain customers on a personal, one-to-one level. It makes a powerful statement that’s hard to miss and even harder to ignore.

3. You have all the limelight


Schlumberger roadshowYou’re guaranteed more quality time with your audience if you take the exhibition to them, and they’ll appreciate the effort. Trying to be seen or heard against a backdrop of hundreds of other brands at a tradeshow is a huge challenge. A roadshow tour gives you the chance to develop a deeper relationship without the interruptions or time restraints.

The power of personal interaction

The Internet has created a twenty-four seven, worldwide tradeshow, which has made exhibiting and attending tradeshows a thing of the past for many brands. Add ever-tightening travel budgets and increasing time pressures to that and it’s easy to see why many are predicting a bleak future for second tier tradeshows.

The risk with all this is that marketers forget about the power personal interaction can have in winning the hearts and minds of different stakeholders. Face-to-face engagement is still the most powerful weapon in the marketing armoury, it’s just evolved in such a way that the onus is now on brands more than ever before to take their message to the people they want to reach.

To find out more about how EMS helps some of the world’s leading B2B brands take their exhibitions on the road, take a look at our Conference & Meetings section or get in touch with the team.



About the author

Nic Whelan

Nic Whelan

For more than 15 years, Nic has helped some of the world’s biggest brands deliver international roadshow tours. He combines experience and insight with a strong commercial understanding, ensuring you enjoy a successful tour that achieves all your objectives.
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