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What value do exhibitions add?

Written by Erica Bassford, Head of Aspire, LI Europe Ltd

There’s no shortage of industry exhibitions, expos, conferences and trade fairs, and deciding which events to attend can be tough. After all, you don’t want to miss out on the latest industry updates, but equally, it’s impossible to attend every single event. These events can be an expensive day out and it’s difficult to accurately measure the return on investment.

Even if you aren’t exhibiting, there’s still the travel costs, food and drink expenses, and of course, the cost of your time. So, how can you measure the value of attending such events? How do you justify the spend?

When companies exhibit, it is easier to measure leads and enquiries and track the conversions. As a visitor, you may not necessarily have the opportunity to market your business, so you need to look at more than just the financial benefits of attending.

Seeing the latest technology is certainly an advantage. Listening to speakers can inspire ideas on which to follow up. Growing our networks can be hugely beneficial. And gaining insights from industry-leading experts can help us make more informed decisions.

That said, it’s no use simply saying you learnt a lot if you aren’t putting that learning into practice. You’ve got to take action. You’ve got to measure the return.

Think about the last industry event you attended. What actions did you take as a result? Investing in new technology? Changing a supplier? Streamlining a process? Cascading information and sharing your new knowledge with your team? What was the financial impact – did you see any positive effects on your bottom line?

You may have left the event feeling inspired, holding on to a goody bag full of branded merchandise and thinking about how nice the canapés were. But, if you didn’t take any action, did you actually get any real value at all? Or, was it just a nice day out at the company’s expense?

Simply attending every event you can, in the hope that you’ll get something from it, isn’t a strategy. Just like anything else in business, you need to go there with a goal – whether it’s to make connections, source new technology or develop your knowledge.

Before you book yet another exhibition, think about how it will add value. What are you hoping to get from the event? How will you measure that? How will it add value to your business?  

If it is unlikely that you will get anything of value from the event, then you might want to reconsider attending, no matter how appealing the free buffet sounds.

At LI-Europe, we understand the importance of value-adding events. That’s why we created The Ambassador’s Academy – a structured monthly meeting which enables forward-thinking managers to share best practice, learn about the latest improvement techniques and commit to actions back in the plant. And, because you commit to actions, you can see exactly how you are adding value to your business and what impact it has on your bottom line.

If you are a manufacturing professional looking for events that provide a real return on investment, then Ambassador’s could be right for you. To find out more click here or contact us to book a free taster session. 

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