Exhibitions Industry to Remain Key Marketing Channel in B2B

Marketers may be excited about the opportunities that technology brings to promotion. But, they also say that there’s no substitute for face-​to-​face interaction and relationship-​building. This is especially true in B2B marketing where exhibition attendance can play a big role for the long term.

Professionals who attend exhibitions say they are:

  • Looking for new products/​vendors 80%
  • Seeking insights into industry coalitions/​trends 65%
  • Hoping to talk with their existing vendors/​suppliers 61%
  • Wanting to network with vendors/​colleagues 59%
  • Want to check out specific products/​vendors 57%

The Trends in Use of Exhibitions report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research indicates that marketers and attendees value these gatherings. Most attendees travel to at least one exhibition annually and hope to increase their attendance in the next couple of years.

B2B marketers have been busy this year producing content and developing insight and expertise on subjects that align with their business mission. These efforts are likely to impress potential clients. While the content marketing effort is done largely online, B2B marketers can expand their footprint by presenting this information at exhibitions.

The findings of this study make another point clear. Exhibitions are not the place to close a sale. Only 22% of attendees have a purchase in mind when they are at these events. The B2B sales cycle is typically longer than in the B2C sector. As a result, B2B marketers should use exhibitions and conferences to network with existing clients as well as potential new customers. The follow-​up process after the event will offer plenty of opportunity to pursue the sale.

[Source: B2B Exhibitors: Attendees Want to Find New Vendors. Marketingcharts​.com. 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.