Are exhibitions still the best way to promote your building product? 

Getting it in front of architects, specifiers and other construction project decision-makers is essential, but in a world where something as innocuous as a handshake is a public health nightmare, are there better ways to promote your product?

The entire events sector industry has experienced turbulent times over the past 18-months, if exhibitions haven’t been cancelled or indefinitely pushed back, hall sizes have been reduced, or attendance has diminished.  

Some people just aren’t comfortable with mixing in large crowds just yet and might not ever be again.  

So, as you’re starting to plan for the new year and your 2022 marketing approach, you’ll probably be asking the question of whether exhibitions should be included.  

Away from the doom and gloom of the news channels and tabloid papers, we’re exploring the facts and whether your building product brand should explore the possibilities of exhibiting at trade shows in 2022.  

 

Do People Still Want To Exhibit At Trade Shows? 

Speaking with over 60 exhibitors at UK Construction Week early this year gave an excellent indicator of the value of exhibitions and how the entire construction industry feels about them. 

You can view the full report here.

 

It’s important to understand that this was the first UKCW post-pandemic during a time when infection rates were relatively low. Despite this, over 60% of exhibitors believed it was worse attended than they expected.  

It’s important to note that many who believed the exhibition was better attended still suggested attendance was poor. Still, because they had such low expectations going in, it didn’t take much footfall to be convinced otherwise.  

Whatever the numbers say, a large portion of the construction industry is still looking to exhibit next year and beyond - 72% of exhibitors of those asked, in fact.  

So, what we can deduce is that much of the industry still wants to be displaying their building products in more traditional forms. But you have to ask the question if attendance was poorer than expected; why? 

 

Construction Trade Shows - Quality Over Quantity  

One gleaming light from the trouble and turmoil that the construction industry has faced throughout the pandemic is a likely streamlining of trade shows. 

Like every industry, you could find a way to exhibit your building products at dozens of trade shows throughout the year but is that really the right approach? And in this post-pandemic world, there will be fewer to attend.  

Like your digital marketing and using content to bring in prospects, you want to attract the right people to your see your building product by knowing they’ll attend exhibitions.  

Many exhibitors we spoke to at UK Construction Week mentioned focusing their approach to quality over quantity.  

No one knows what the state of the world come mid-to-late 2022 will be, but by not putting all of your ‘construction’ eggs into to ‘exhibition’ basket, you’ll actually increase your chances of getting to the right people.  

Rather than 5 or 6 small exhibitions throughout the year, many in the construction industry are looking at increasing stand space at a single event in a big ‘brand awareness’ push. This approach makes sense and bridges the gap between wanting to attend exhibitions but avoiding being disappointed by shows with low footfall.  

 

What To Do If You’re Not Exhibiting At Trade Shows?  

Attending trade shows in recent months has highlighted that the construction industry is divided.  

With one foot on the side of sticking to traditional marketing and a more outbound approach, the other is on the side of more digital construction marketing approaches.  

But how can this be balanced? 

If you consider that 80% of the buyer’s journey is conducted online before architects and specifiers make a purchasing decision. With this in mind, there could be an argument for exhibitions being the final 20% instead of the first 10% or so.  

Imagine you’ve used a series of blogs as part of your digital marketing and have attracted a range of new prospective customers to your building product brand, they sign up to a series of webinars that you are hosting. 

Now imagine that as they’re reading through another well-executed and informative blog, you have a pop-up form asking them to visit you at an upcoming exhibition to see the product in person.  

This hybrid approach to construction marketing could see the industry and your building product brand get ahead of your competitors' curve.  

 

So, Should You Exhibit At Construction Trade Shows? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that binary, and there’s a lot of factors to consider.  

Firstly, who knows what state the world will be in 6-days, let alone 6-months. At the time of writing, the Omicron variant of covid-19 is wreaking havoc throughout the globe, and it would seem only a matter of time before another lockdown is imminent.  

While the construction industry is more prepared than it would have been 18-months or so ago, it can’t prepare for whether trade shows will let go ahead. And even if they go ahead, no one truly knows what sort of numbers will turn up.  

The best approach would seem to be a more hybrid one, as mentioned by many people at UK Construction week in 2021. Picking a ‘flagship’ exhibition and using the remaining marketing spend on rejuvenating your digital marketing approach would seem the logical choice and one that would meet whatever challenges 2022 might bring.  

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We use the latest marketing techniques, such as inbound construction marketing, to equip building product companies to grow sustainability in this era of digital transformation.

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Dom D'Angelillo

Written by Dom D'Angelillo

Dom is a Technical Writer at Insynth Marketing Ltd and enjoys nothing more than making complicated topics easy to digest.