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Trade Shows: Analog Marketing in a Digital World

Trade Shows: Analog Marketing in a Digital World
In mid-June we returned from the largest trade show in our industry, the National Apartment Association Education Conference & Exposition. This show represented months of prep, thousands of man-hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars investment. I really do love planning, promoting and attending these events, but as I decompressed from the show I wondered if the return could possibly be worth all that investment. The fun part of my trade show job as a marketer is now over. Now comes the hard part— proving out the investment. Trade show ROI is notoriously difficult to quantify. Piecing together the right metrics and measurement strategies can sometimes take months to accomplish, but if you know what you are looking for it can be possible to prove trade show effectiveness. The first thing that I want to determine is if trade shows are even worth our time. Currently 89% of marketers say that trade shows hold some level of importance and value to their organization, but only 31% say that they are vital1. In fact 40 percent of companies are cutting back on big shows in favor of more targeted gatherings, and 44 percent are choosing to host their own events such as the 2nd Annual Property Solutions Summit (sorry I couldn’t help myself). So, is the trade show world slowly dying like it showed a few years ago? Actually the opposite is true. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research2 the trade show industry has grown consecutively over the last nine quarters and is projected to con......
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