To exhibit or not to exhibit

The last 18 months have been a difficult time for the events and exhibition industry.  During 2020 and part of 2021, many thousands of exhibitions in the UK and globally were cancelled and exhibitors had to look for alternate ways to get a message across about their products and services.

If you work for a business in the manufacturing, construction or building products sector, you may be planning for 2022 and wondering whether you should be putting budget towards exhibitions or focusing more on PR, social media and SEO.   

Here are three considerations to help you decide whether to exhibit or to spend your budget elsewhere in 2022….

What are your objectives for attending an exhibition?

It is important to carefully consider what your business objectives are for attending an exhibition.  It’s not enough these days to attend an exhibition just because you’ve always done it or because your competitors are there.  Attending an exhibition, as you know, can be a very expensive experience and there has to be clear business benefits, in terms of number of sales enquiries generated, number of meetings on the stand, webinars held and speaker opportunities.  You need to set out the objectives for attending an exhibition several months in advance, before you sign up.  You also need to fully cost it out, which includes not only exhibition space and stand design, but also cost of graphics, social media support, accommodation, travel, cost of hotels, hospitality and advertising.

It is also important to factor in that sales people won’t be accessible to do their normal job during this time, so their workload will need to be picked up by someone else.  There is a whole chunk of management and marketing time that needs to be dedicated to setting up an exhibition and you need to be sure that you have the staff able to cover this.  You also need to be sure that the exhibition is the very best way that you could reach your target market and that it will be money well spent.

Could you get better value for money through PR and digital marketing?

Take the objectives that you’ve put together for the exhibition and go through carefully identifying where these could be applied to PR and digital marketing.  For example, if you are looking to increase sales enquiries by 5% next year, could this be achieved through a focus on PR and SEO, for example?  Would it be worth comparing your potential spend and outputs from an exhibition with a dedicated PR and digital marketing plan? By talking to a PR agency like Dragonfly PR we could put together a PR plan and digital strategy for the year ahead, with ideas for activities, spend and what we would expect in terms of ROI.  You may find that you achieve better value for money through a planned consistent PR and digital marketing campaign, rather than focusing all efforts on one or more major events per year.  We can show you examples of how we have helped other b2b brands to reduce their spend on exhibitions and increase their return on investment through a dedicated PR and marketing campaign.

Will an exhibition take the majority of your annual marketing spend?

Exhibitions often take as much as 60% of a businesses’ annual marketing spend.  It is essential, therefore, that you ensure you are maximising the impact of attending an exhibition.   In a previous blog, we looked at how you can make sure you get the most out of exhibitions

If you do decide to go ahead with exhibitions for 2022, it is important that you support your attendance with a PR and social media campaign.  This will help to ensure that you are maximising awareness, visitor numbers, attendance and webinars to ensure your exhibition is as successful as it can be and you are achieving your business objectives.

If you would like help and support with maximising your profile at an exhibition and increasing attendance on your stand, or at webinars, just drop us a line.  Alternatively,  if you decide not to attend, we can put together a PR and digital marketing plan to generate the results you are looking for.

As a dedicated PR and social media agency, based in South Yorkshire, specialising in b2b sectors including manufacturing, construction and food, we have over 20 years’ experience in working with SME businesses and corporates across the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond.

For more information, email: or call 0114 3495341.

Call us on: 0114 349 5341