Where Are Trade Shows Going?
A smaller, boutique event, with large distributors is a business model that is working. These are not really trade shows in the traditional sense, but meet the same need. Here, large distributor buyers connect with suppliers in an intimate setting at very nice locations. Conversations may focus very little on product and more on enhancing the business relationship. It’s a win-win situation. Traditional trade shows seem to focus more on products and less on the relationship. The environment at a “traditional” trade show, however, is not conducive to achieving that goal and the level of buyer is different. That’s just the way it is.
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I believe this points to an opportunity for regional associations to create quality events that engage both suppliers and distributors. The SAAC Show is a strong regional event. My experience is that those who are active in their regional association tend to be more success-driven and understand the value of building relationships. Regional events typically have good suppliers and distributors involved.
Not everyone can participate in regional associations for a variety of reasons, but those who can will benefit from not only the more intimate trade shows, but also from education and networking events as well.
No one can definitively know where trade shows are going, but I do believe they will continue to be an effective way to nurture business. The marketplace will determine how they will evolve.