Shows and Events, or face-to-face Marketing as we call it, is a big part of the Industry’s Marketing efforts. Trade and Consumer Shows in the diving industry are market places created to bring Buyers and Sellers together. The diving community has a fifty year history exhibiting and attending trade and consumer shows but we need to have a new look at the reasons we support these shows as sponsors, advertisers, exhibitors, speakers and attendees. It may help to think of what we are doing as trying to get a 21st Century perspective on a 20th Century concept.
First of all, Dive Industry Association monitors trade and consumer shows that are important to the diving industry. A Shows & Events Calendar is posted and updated on our website on a continual basis. If you are responsible for exhibiting, attending or participating at trade or consumer shows, you may want to Bookmark this page. See Shows & Events
Shows & Events Categories: The categories that attract divers and diving businesses are Dive Shows, Surf Expos, Travel Shows, Outdoor Sporting Goods Shows and Boat Shows. They include domestic shows and popular international shows. In all these categories, we have consumer and non-consumer shows. Consumer shows feature educational and entertainment seminars and have exhibitors who show their products and exhibitors who sell their products. Non-consumer shows either focus on exhibits or seminars. We call a non-consumer show that focuses on exhibits a Trade Show or Expo. If the focus is on seminars, we call it a Professional Development Conference. Rhonda Abrams’s book Trade Show In A Day, sums it up best. “At a trade show or expo, the primary action takes place on the exhibit hall floor. Attendees are there to visit booths, and all non-exhibit activities are secondary. At a conference, the opposite is true. Attendees are there to go to seminars and educational sessions, visiting the exhibition hall only during breaks in their daily schedules.”
Priorities: Let’s look at Trade Shows & Expos first. It is best to prioritize your involvement at Trade Shows by looking at the Buyers and Sellers of these marketplaces. If you are a Seller (Exhibitor) then you will want to exhibit where you can interact with the most buyers. Will your buyers be there in sufficient quantity to make it cost effective for you to be there? If you are a Buyer, you’ll want to look at the list of exhibitors to determine if you will be reaching the businesses that supply the dive equipment, training and travel products you re-sell.
At consumer shows, it’s all about the attendees (buyers). Are they coming to attend seminars, look at exhibit booths or just to socialize? It’s good to ask the show producers about the focus of their marketing and advertising. Who are they target marketing? Are they active divers, prospective divers or old time divers who don’t dive, buy gear or travel anymore? It’s good to know if the active divers are currently in the market for new dive equipment, training or travel products. Is there a way you can capture the contact information of the attending buyers? With all this information, you should be able to tell if this marketplace being created for a weekend will be productive for you.
What about Dive, Surf, Boat, Outdoor, or Travel Shows? A good way to prioritize the shows you exhibit at is to look at the concentration of the type of attendees. What percentage of the attendees are likely to be your customers. A dive show with 5,000 diver attendees may be more cost effective than exhibiting at a show that has 20,000 attendees when only 1,000 of them are divers. It’s not the raw numbers of attendees that is the most important factor. It’s the total number of qualified buyers interested in your products.
Domestic & International Shows: Prioritizing domestic versus international shows all depends on the number of perspective buyers that will be in attendance. Is it cost effective to be there? Do you have the budget and the personnel for it?
Hire a Trade Show Marketing Specialist: Why not make all your Trade Shows count? Our Trade Show Professionals at Dive Industry Association can help you pick the right shows, create annual budgeting estimates, and create a marketing strategy that covers pre-show, at-show and post-show activities. We’ll advise your staff on your marketing materials, booth merchandising, and achieving planned outcomes. We’ll assist you with customer follow-up after the show and evaluating your performance at the show.
For more information, contact: Gene Muchanski at firstname.lastname@example.org