Bospar Trade Show Success Survey: 69 Percent of Marketers Disappointed by Big Trade Show Media Coverage

While most marketers say large trade shows aren’t worth the investment, many feel that small industry conferences are worthwhile and that social media is critical to the success of all events

SAN FRANCISCO—May 4, 2017 – Bospar, the boutique PR firm that puts tech companies on the map, today announced the results of the Bospar Trade Show Success Survey. Fielded to more than 200 CMOs and other marketing professionals, the survey gauged marketers’ feelings about trade shows and conferences.

“Trade shows and conferences are often some of the biggest investments in a company’s marketing budget, and our research shows that small trade shows are often a better investment,” said Tom Carpenter, a principal of Bospar. “Big trade shows and conferences are often a disappointment when it comes to media coverage. But big or small, attendance often has great social yields.”

Conventions: Lose Big

Sixty-four percent of marketers say they have been disappointed when attending major trade shows like SXSW, Money2020 and CES—45 percent say the cost of attending was too high relative to ROI, and another 45 percent complain that they didn’t get the right spot on the conference floor. Other complaints include low-value leads (36 percent), wrong speaking slots (36 percent), and the company booth being overshadowed by bigger players (27 percent).

Another 9 percent each complained about having to stay in lousy hotels and not getting invited to any of the good parties.

Even more (69 percent) have been disappointed by the media coverage their company received at these conferences. Top reasons include:

Most marketers feel that major trade shows are only a worthwhile investment when you want to speak before a large audience (64 percent) or demonstrate that you are a major brand (45 percent).

Eighteen percent said that major trade shows are never a good investment.

“For me and most marketers I know, trade shows and conventions are a necessary evil – they’re expensive so they don’t deliver a worthwhile lead gen ROI, but you can’t measure them only by lead gen metrics,” said Michelle McLean, Vice President of Marketing at ScaleArc. “Trade shows deliver that softer, hard-to-measure benefit of increased awareness, which remains important. The trick is to invest in the right lead gen/demand gen mix – limit trade shows so you have enough dollars to invest in programs that deliver a much higher ROI.”

Trade Shows: Win Small

Meanwhile, marketers have a much more favorable opinion of small industry trade shows— a whopping 92 percent say these are a good investment. According to the Bospar data, marketers feel that these shows are better for:

When is participation in small trade shows a bad investment? Half of marketers said that it’s when participation requires most staffers to travel or local employees are not available to staff the booth, and another 42 percent said that the investment isn’t worth it if a customer isn’t available for joint participation in panels or sharing booth space.

Social or Bust

Marketers were again in agreement that social media improves the trade show and convention experience—both large and small:

“If a given trade show isn’t pre-planned at the level of the Normandy Invasion, it’s doomed to fail. Sales meetings need to be pre-scheduled, speaking slots secured, and every show attendee assigned specific objectives—from thoroughly deconstructing a competitor’s pitch to making a number of new contacts,” said Simplilearn CMO Mark Moran.

All of the marketers polled said that photos were essential to a trade show or convention social media effort. Other essentials?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of marketers (93 percent) ranked Twitter as the most useful social media tool for trade shows, followed by LinkedIn (67 percent). Instagram and Facebook tied for third place with 27 percent each of the vote.

About Bospar

Bospar is a boutique tech PR firm featuring a team of highly seasoned professionals who exist to put tech companies on the map. Bospar’s principals include a longtime PR and tech industry guru, a former broadcast TV producer and award-winning media maven, a standout PR agency manager from the corporate side of a leading global law firm, and an experienced executive with both large agency and public company credentials. Bospar’s larger team includes experts in both social and traditional media, financial and analyst relations, and public affairs.

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About Bospar

Bospar is the award-winning “politely pushy” tech and health public relations and marketing agency. The firm, which launched in 2015, provides clients with national support thanks to its distributed agency model. Bospar’s staff includes marketing and PR experts and veteran journalists from top-tier tech and business media. The agency’s strategic and creative thinkers excel in earned and social media, analyst and investor relations, content creation and placement, and public affairs. Leaders from brands – including Alkermes, Standigm, Marqeta, Snowflake and Unisys – trust Bospar to drive category leadership for disruptive technologies and solutions.

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