September 02, 2011
For 25 years, the Trade Group,, has provided over 40,000 superior trade show exhibits to more than 15,000 clients around the world. Malcolm Gilvar, co-owner and executive vice president of the Trade Group, has always believed that the exhibit hall/trade show experience is the most invigorating component of company life. "Whether you are an attendee or an exhibitor, everyone looks forward to these shows because nothing is more exciting or refreshing than seeing your industry come to life," says Gilvar. Below are Gilvar’s top 10 ways that trade shows are able to motivate both customers and employees.

1. Trade shows are platforms for industry growth. When attendees meet vendors and get the lowdown on new products, and when industry leaders speak on the big stage offering insights, communication and collaboration peak higher here than in any other medium.

2. Trade shows refresh and refuel your employees. When you support trade show attendance for your employees, you are actually paying for them to immerse in the excitement of experiencing everything that is new and breaking in your industry.

3. Trade shows reinforce supplier-client relationships. Trade shows provide the perfect settings to bring companies and their clients together. Your salespeople will be motivated to see their clients, and clients can reinforce the value they get at trade shows when the supplier-client relationship becomes stronger from the time spent together during show hours and off-hour events.

4. Trade shows drive your marketing team. Gilvar knows firsthand that trade shows are great proving grounds for new marketing tactics to motivate buyers into becoming familiar with your products and services. Show sponsorships, demand-generation campaigns, door drops, and post-show contests are just some of the marketing methods used.

5. Trade show intelligence gathering generates engagement. Attending trade shows allows companies to evaluate competitors in one swoop. This gives your staff the ability to share ideas and initiatives with one another on where they should consider more manpower, investment in research and development, or strike up creative marketing efforts to maintain a competitive edge.

6. Trade shows demonstrate employee pride and loyalty. Because the pressure to stand out at a show and separate your company from the pack is so critical, marketing teams are always fired up to make sure the booths look great and are well staffed and the sales team is armed with plenty of the wow factor to clinch deals. Arming employees with out-of-the-box tools drives up commitment for the company.

7. Trade shows prove that nothing motivates better than face-to-face. Nothing is more effective than face-to-face meeting in marketing, simply because people buy from those they like and trust. It has been proven time and time again that customers need personal interaction.

8. Trade show marketing gives attendees purpose. Pre-show activities like email blasts, direct mail campaigns, and voicemails help motivate prospects to visit your booth at the show. In fact, on average, these pre-show activities increase qualified leads by 36 percent.

9. Trade show staff, trained, is a prospect motivator. Malcolm Gilvar <> reminds us that a properly trained staff at a show is 39 percent more likely to motivate a prospect to visit and stay in your exhibit. The result, of course, is a qualified lead. This motivation is even more pronounced if senior-level management is present at these meetings.

10. Trade shows provide daily sales and pitch meetings. Where else can you have daily sales calls with prospects who are in a good mood?! Away from the office and in an atmosphere that invites both familiarity of old faces and excitement of new ones, trade shows produce 78 percent of attendees who make a purchase within a year.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Recognition Way and president of the Recognition Management Institute,, which consults companies on improving employee motivation that leads to increased productivity and profit. He can be reached at [email protected] Also, tune in every Tuesday to his radio show, Real Recognition Radio