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Modern Tradeshow Intelligence

Trade Show Organizers: Operate the Way Warren Buffett Does

Posted by Lew Hoff on May 15, 2009 12:53:00 PM

When everyone else is hunkering down, Warren Buffett steps up to the plate. Clearly, it is an approach has been brilliantly successful for the Sage from Omaha. Buffett, as he says, is fearful when others are greedy, but greedy when others are fearful.

Today, nearly everyone appears fearful. But as is pointed out in a recent article in Go To Market Strategies, companies that invest in marketing during a recession tend to prosper far more than their competition when the economy revives. In fact, they are likely to maintain or even improve their business during a recession.

Above: The EXPO! Leads2Go Lead Retrieval System

Marketing efforts during a recession have an outsizFont sizeed impact, since everything is relative. A company that maintains its investment in marketing while others reduce their visibility looms large by comparison.

If a company accept this concept, if it is “greedy when others are fearful”, the question then becomes, “Where can I invest my marketing dollars most effectively?” If it looks at its choices, one stands out: trade shows. Why trade shows and how can your prospects benefit most by making trade shows a major factor in their marketing mix?

Compare trade shows to your other options. For the purpose of this exercise, our assumption is that your prospective exhibitors are B2B marketers. Some channels, such as radio, television and outdoor advertising are very effective at B2C marketing, but not at all cost effective for B2B marketers. Print advertising, in the form of trade press, is effective, but it is a relatively passive form of marketing when compared to trade shows. This is true with most forms of B2B marketing, even the Internet, although to a lesser degree.

What sets tradeshows apart is that unlike other forms of marketing, it is face-to-face. Also, the marketer and the prospect each have “skin in the game”. Where else but at a trade show does a prospect invest substantial time and money to investigate products and services that could benefit his or her organization?


If your prospective exhibitor accepts the very rational thesis that his competitors are likely to reduce their marketing efforts, step 2 is to outline the advantages of trade shows in general:

  • Trade show attendees are serious buyers; they have skin in the game.
  • Unlike other forms of marketing, a trade show is an interactive experience.
  • Today, more than ever, making a personal sales call is expensive.
  • A trade show, by comparison, is a very cost effective means of making customer contact.
  • Smaller companies and companies new to a market find that exhibiting at a trade show is the fastest, most cost effective way to gain visibility and customers.
  • Exhibitors have the opportunity to network with non-competing exhibitors who can open doors through their relationships with customers/prospects in common.
  • Trade shows are an opportunity to see what the competition is doing and planning

So, you have convinced your target that now is the time to be an aggressive marketer and that trade shows are the best, most cost effective marketing channel. Why your event? Why should your event be at the top of his list?

Testimonials and anecdotal evidence are good, but especially in times like these, nothing beats facts. Empirical evidence is something difficult to ignore. If you have been accumulating data in the past, congratulations. If not, better start now. What data is most compelling to company management?

Leads is by far the number one reason why companies exhibit. Not overall attendance. Not booth traffic in general, not how many brochures and giveaways were gobbled up, but qualified, quality leads. The fact that someone assented when asked if his badge could be scanned does not translate into a qualified lead. Management wants prospects who have buying authority or who directly influence those who have purchasing authority. They prize prospects with plans to purchase within a time frame, rather than at some vague future date.


electronic lead retrieval, your exhibitors can collect all of this information and much more. But there is some key data that is collected that only you, the exhibit organizer, can provide.

If you are speaking with a prospect, rather than with an organization that did not exhibit previously, you can provide aggregated figures illustrating the success that other exhibitors had that target the same or similar markets. For both prospects, previous exhibitors and prospective sponsors you can provide data that illustrates the link between an attendees seminar participation, his attendance at social events and the exhibits he visited. You can also upsell by demonstrating how a larger booth or a premium location results in more qualified leads.


electronic lead capture and session tracking serves an auditing function. You can show your prospects real data, with job titles and other pertinent details. Your marketing message is credible.

Contact Bartizan Lead Retrieval Systems Toll Free at (800) 899-2278 if you are interested in a

free quote or to schedule a conference call with someone who can help you get the most out of your event.

Topics: leads, show, retrieval, trade, tradeshow, system, scanners, rent, terminal, lead, scanner