Has the Internet killed the Trade Show?

Has the internet killed the trade show?

Some say that the internet has killed the trade show. We say it hasn’t!

In the past prospective customers would attend trade shows to find out what’s new, these days that information is just a few clicks away.

There is no doubt that the internet has disrupted traditional marketing activities, including trade shows. But trade shows still offer many benefits to exhibitors and attendees alike.

To get the most out of a trade show, businesses need to re-think how trade shows form a part of the overall marketing strategy.

Here’s what ADM has done, and it has had some very noticeable results:

Identify Trade Shows that Generate Quality Leads

Identify the shows and events, where high quality leads are most likely to be harvested. The keyword here is ‘quality’. A smaller number of quality leads may have a higher value than a high quantity of low quality leads, or tyre kickers.

Type and Size of Tradeshow

Consider which trade shows are likely to attract the customers, who would be most interested in your product, or service.

Some trade shows are targeted to a very specific audience. These can often gain more traction as there are not so many exhibitors in the same space competing for attention.

Other trade shows are large scale events that set out to attract a large number of exhibitors, which of course they need to do in order to cover the running costs. This means that a visitor may not have time to visit all of the stands at the show.

ADM favours industry specific, or niche market events over large scale, broad based shows. This year our exhibition schedule includes:



WIOA Conferences and Exhibitions

Conference and exhibition exclusively for water industry operators.

ICRP 2019 Conference

Niche event for anyone engaged with radiation protection.

Electronex 2019

Specifically targeted at manufacturers of electronic equipment.

AUSA 2019 Conference

Niche event for OHS professionals in the tertiary education sector.

IICA Networking Events

Low key networking events for industrial and process control industry.


At a large-scale event we are mindful that the interests of attendees may be very broad. For example, at lighting industry shows.

Visitors to the show could range from wholesalers looking for a new LED globe supplier, to councils looking for the latest street lighting solutions. We review our product / service offering to ensure there is something for the majority of attendees.

Design of Trade Show Stand

We all like a quick and easy bump in and out at trade shows.

However, we don’t allow this to dictate how we set up our display stand.

The important thing is that our booth stands out amongst the crowd.

A few pull up banners, some catalogues generally won’t cut it. The stand can look bland, boring and visitors won’t even glance at it. 

ADM has designed a modular trade show exhibition kit, which allows us to quickly adapt the display to suit the event we are exhibiting at.

Products are mounted neatly onto a series of panels. These products are connected up so that we can demonstrate their use at the show. ADM has a number of different pre-assembled panels, displaying different ranges of products. We simply select the panels with product relevant to the show we are attending.

Bump in is quick as all we have to do is slot the two parts of the stands together, and then hang the display panels on them. At the top of each stand is an interchangeable illuminated panel, so we can customise the display’s branding according to the trade show we are exhibiting at.

It is vital to have a great looking stand, which shouts out to anyone walking past that there is something new and interesting that they must see.

This is extremely important if multiple exhibitors are promoting a similar product or service.

Customers need to be attracted towards a display in a way that makes them want to ask questions.

Pre-Marketing and inviting your existing customers

Businesses should always invite their existing customers to visit them at trade shows.

Yes, the trade show organisers should be running a high quality considered campaign for the events that they are managing. However, don’t take things for granted. Nobody knows your own industry as well as you do.

At ADM we create customised invitations to the events we are exhibiting at. These are mailed to our customers who are based in the vicinity of the actual show, who we feel the particular show would be relevant too.

We spend as much time and effort on pre-show marketing as we do post-show follow up and we can see the difference our efforts have been making.


Trade shows and exhibitions break the routine of the working day.

They generate clear air in which business people can take time to see what is new, and what is available to them to help them do business better.

Despite great E-mail marketing campaigns and dedicated sales people, some information will still fall through the cracks. We are all exceptionally busy and don’t always have time to read the latest product bulletin that just came into our E-mail inbox, or struggle to schedule an hour-long meeting with a sales representative.

Turning up at the biggest and busiest trade show with a couple of pull up banners and samples won’t deliver much in the way of a return.

Taking care to select the shows you exhibit at and putting some thought in how to make your stand unique and engaging will generate some highly valuable leads.

Pre-show marketing is equally as important as post-show follow up.