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Friday, May 15, 2009

The Value of Exhibiitng in a Downturn

“We need the continued visibility so that clients know you are still there and potential clients don’t think you have gone under.”

“Less people, but more authority to purchase.”

“The decrease in attendance has lent to increase in quality and size of prospects who do engage.”

“Not being at the show leaves people to wonder if we are still in business.”

“(We exhibit in a downturn to) gain additional market share in this economy and try to outlast the competition.”

“For increased exposure with new customers. Renew relationships with existing customers.”

“Maintaining our company profile of strength and consistency, so when the market strengthens we are the first choice.”

“(There are) fewer attendees, but typically they are high quality decision-makers.”

These are the opinions of real exhibitors. They continue to see trade shows as an important investment in new business and enhanced profitability. Particularly in the semiconductor industry, trade shows remain the most cost effective marketing medium and sales tool available today.

Passive marketing through advertising, web, and arming sales people with brochures and Powerpoint presentations won’t change customer perceptions and behavior. To effectively influence people, effective marketers know that you need to imprint your key messages on customers through interaction and engagement. Sales calls and meetings can’t deliver these effective environments because customers control the situation and will discount—if not actively fight—your attempts to differentiate your products from your competitors. Customers already have a supplier opinion and ranking and won’t believe your key messages and sales people. They won’t read your brochures and webpage and will resist all your efforts to position your new unique product features and technology. They will try to drive all sales meetings to a commoditized price and delivery conclusion.

Trade shows gives marketers the most effective way to differentiate their companies and products, and change customer perception and behavior. You control the environment in a trade show engagement and your sales messages have the supercharged credibility of 3 dimensional authority, underscored by demonstrated corporate commitment. They allow you to accelerate the sales cycle in measurable ways.

These are tough times, but they don’t change the way people learn, customers behave, or how good marketers differentiate their products for greater share and higher margin.

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