25th March 2015

Selecting A Construction Solution: Trade-show V Traditional Research

In the digital age a common perception is the web and social media is the #1 go-to resource when looking for information to support a purchase decision. However, statistics from CloudNinePRs survey shows IT Chiefs still trust Trade shows. So, if you are looking for information to support a business decision, you shouldn't necessarily rule them out straight away!

  1. Online publications 64%
  2. IT blogs 52%
  3. Trade shows 50%
  4. Printed publications 47%
  5. Vendor Events 44%
  6. IT Analyst blogs 40%
  7. IT analyst events 38%
  8. Vendor emails 31%, LinkedIn 31%
  9. Twitter 20%
  10. YouTube 19%

7 reasons to attend a trade show/exhibition

Of course, not all Trade shows and Exhibitions will be right for you, but should you find one that is relevant to your needs – for instance, yesterday we exhibited at the itShowcase an event that focuses on solutions for the construction, service management and manufacturing verticals - you can get quite a lot out of a single day.

1. Save time – by visiting a Trade show you get to see multiple suppliers and solutions in one day, which can save you a lot of time. Particularly, when you consider the amount of research you conduct to identify appropriate suppliers and the subsequent ‘beauty parade’.

2. Meet suppliers – where else can you meet face-to-face with multiple vendors under one roof? In a digital age, often phone or email is the preferred method of contact. But when you are making a business decision that involves a significant investment a face-to-face meeting can help to develop business relationships.

3. Make easy comparisons – by meeting lots of potential suppliers it means you can easily compare the features and price points of different solutions.

4. Get hands on – the exhibitors will be armed with demonstrations setup for you to see, allowing you to get in ‘amongst the cabbages’ and see what is on offer. However, it would be unwise to expect a full demonstration, particularly with more complex products – in order to provide you with a demonstration to suit your needs, first of all your potential suppliers will need to know more about you and your business. Therefore, it would be beneficial to setup meetings with shortlisted suppliers at a later date, giving them the opportunity to prepare a demonstration that reflects how you operate.

5. Learn more – at exhibitions, its not just full of people trying to sell you something. Many will include keynote sessions and seminars which give you an opportunity to hear from the experts about the latest industry trends, hot topics and best practice.

6. Spot trends – when attending shows you will observe some key themes amongst exhibitors and the seminars. Remember, the exhibitors will be specialists in their fields with their finger on the pulse of innovation, so it’s a great place to seek out new ideas for your business.

7. Network – networking is extremely useful, and at a trade show there will be lots of other like-minded professionals you can talk to - remember you are not limited to conversations with exhibitors. By speaking to other attendees, perhaps on a similar journey to you, you can gain another perspective.

How to maximise value from a trade show

  • Be selective – not all shows are right for you. Go for events targeted to your role, vertical or your business needs.
  • Plan your day – know who is exhibiting and who is speaking and make sure you attend those of importance to you (this doesn’t mean you should rule out others that catch your eye – the best fit for you might not be an option previously considered).
  • Be prepared – if you are looking for a solution to a specific problem take the time to prepare a brief before you attend. The more information you have to share with a prospective supplier, the easier it will be for them to make a recommendation.
  • Set up appointments in advance – trade shows can be busy, so make sure you don’t miss out by setting up appointments with the main exhibitors that you want to meet – these could be industry bodies, potential suppliers or even existing suppliers.

If you are in construction, contracting or service management, come and meet us at our next trade show – itShowcase, 28th April 2015 at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton.

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