After two days of keynote sessions, advice from industry-leading speakers and an abundance of live demonstrations, IP Expo Europe is over for another year.
The lorries were out in full force throughout the conference, supporting several of our innovative clients, tuning in to the latest technology trends and – if all that wasn’t enough – asking some rather important questions.
All quiet on the IP Expo floor?
Trade shows such as IP Expo have been a staple in the calendars of B2B businesses for decades, traditionally providing valuable opportunities to meet with partners and generate new sales leads through face-to-face discussions.
But, given that it is easier than ever for businesses to buy, sell and interact with customers online, is trade show ROI still high and providing value for exhibitors? To find out, we took to the show floor at IP Expo 2018 and – armed with a trusty iPad and the notoriously unreliable ExCel Wi-Fi – questioned marketing representatives on their perceptions of trade show ROI.
And, despite the growing emphasis on digital marketing, it seems that the trusty trade show is unlikely to disappear any time soon. In our poll of marketing and communications professionals from companies in the cyber-security, cloud, AI and blockchain sectors, 83% believe trade shows still deliver a return on investment, such as generating leads or increasing brand awareness.
In fact, just 4% believe trade show ROI is no longer delivered, highlighting how they still have a valuable role to play in B2B marketing strategies. Although this may not seem surprising coming from an audience which has invested in exhibition space, it is noteworthy given that so many marketers frequently talk about the ‘death of the trade show’.
Interestingly, when compared to specific marketing methods, the results are slightly more mixed. For example, less than half (42%) of respondents believe trade shows are more effective than content marketing, while just 25% believe they are more effective than pay-per-click campaigns. Furthermore, half of respondents believe PR is more effective at generating ROI.
This all suggests that exhibiting at trade shows should be part of a wider, integrated communications strategy that includes tactics such as digital marketing and more traditional media relations.
The year ahead
Our poll also included questions on more general marketing trends, specifically related to the biggest challenges and opportunities marketers are expecting to see in 2019.
In terms of challenges, marcomms professionals identified generating traffic and leads, targeting the right audience and creating quality content as the three biggest challenges they are likely to face over the next 12 months.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are also plenty of opportunities on the horizon. For example, “utilising new digital tools to reach our target audience” and “the ability to collect data on our activities and analyse the results in more detail” were both cited as key opportunities for 2019.
Respondents also referenced the ability to “reach a wider audience than before and more effectively monitor engagement with our brand,” highlighting that, although there will be some challenges to address, the future of marketing is looking bright.
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