Their death was announced many times since the arrival of the web. Yet we see more and more industrial fairs, trade shows and events each year. In the digital age, why do we still need face to face contact when doing business?
The long road of the web
I spent several days calling hundreds of companies that, like us, will exhibit at the Salon Industriel du Centre-du-Québec in Drummondville on the 29th and 30th of April. During my conversations with different manufacturers, distributors and service companies, one thing kept coming up: the web is important in the buying cycle, or, very important in certain technical areas.
Buyers are looking for information that is often very technical and, can validate whether certain products and services meet their needs before contacting the company.
Many of these sites are simply front stores, with little or no clear calls to action. It takes an effort to find a contact at the company. Too often, the information has not been updated for a year, if not longer; maintenance is required, both technically and in terms of content. As for accessibility for tablets and mobile devices, let’s not mention it.
In Real Life (#IRL)
Industries will repeat it. They are looking for a demonstration of skills, expertise and, products and services that meet their needs. This is where inbound marketing is a useful complement to traditional marketing and, a well built website would facilitate this demonstration. The most dynamic in their market seem to understand … for others however, it seems they can still ride the wave but, for how long?
Another major element is establishing a relationship of trust between the buyer and seller. At one point, the buying process involves a meeting between experts, between technicians, among professionals and among business people; in short, an encounter in real life that the web cannot provide.
It’s this relationship that manufacturers seek to establish to the tune of thousands of dollars, by participating in this type of event. Whether it is to start the conversation with interested parties, continue discussions with prospects and customers or, reassure clients and demonstrate their presence in the market, any excuse for a meeting in person. That is why these events are still relevant.
Exhibitors at the show are lucid. They know they will not have extraordinary sales instantly, so they rely on deep customer relationships in the target area of the event and the development of new relationships from visitors following the invitations sent by their company and the developer.
In the industrial sector, taking part in a trade show is part of the marketing investment required to generate sales leads, as their “nurturing” and following up within a reasonable amount of time. If the strategy is aligned and quality marketing is executed, the result of these efforts will be rewarded with quality sales. The return on investment will be worth it.