Exhibiting at events: - Worth the money, effort and time?

In anticipation of Rugged exhibiting at the IATP show in Berlin, Simon’s been considering the big question:

Exhibiting at events: - Worth the money, effort and time?

Rugged Interactive exhibit at roughly 5 big shows per year, with a number of smaller conferences and events in between. But we always wrestle with ‘Is it worth it ?’.

To be clear, this isn’t throwing shade on the exhibitions or organisers (although there have been a few ‘interesting' events over the years), more a musing on our thought processes.

So -

Pros: Building company brand awareness, meeting new buyers, introducing new products and tech, maintaining a credible presence, PR opportunities, networking with industry, sets an immovable milestone, opportunities to deliver seminars and sharing time with existing customers.

Cons: Expense (travel, accommodation, fees, stand building, products), distraction (taking energy out of existing product development / sales), time and health (someone always gets ill during or after).

In our early days we used to say so long as we covered the cost of the exhibition in attributed sales within the year it was worth it, but it was always hard to directly link sales to exhibitions, and often a large order would come in many months or even years after.

Meetings are never as productive as hoped for, everyone is too frayed to properly concentrate or commit to an order - at best they are way of re-invigorating a relationship and introducing new products.

It’s always useful to see what the industry is doing with new product launches and presentations on interesting topics, but you can get that by just visiting.

Overall our decision always comes down to a fairly sketchy ROI equation taking all of the above into account with a skew one way or another depending on whether we are a market leader or a challenger in that sector.

By the time we have committed to an event I do believe that we’ve always found it worth the effort, money and time taken which is why they continue to exist I guess.

But it’s never an easy decision, we do always work through each event on its merits, and we don’t always say yes.

So on the eve of exhibiting at our 5th IATP event, that should tell you all you need to know!

by Simon Heap

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