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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Media at Trade Shows

The Constellation Group [1] (TCG), a European marketing communications agency, recently polled over 3,000 media professionals from the EMEA, North American and Asia-Pacific regions in the world’s first #COVID19 related poll about their past experiences and new insights when working at international trade shows.

Fédor Coopmans, author of the report told us “The high response rate of over 20% shows the high importance journalists rate international trade shows. Respondents in North America are more familiar with a digital format of marketing events versus Europe or Asia-Pacific but there is a unisono sound for the genuine touch-and-feel experience and wanting to meet executives face-to-face. Relationship building is not done remote.”

So, what are the roadblocks that make media hesitant to hop on a plane to attend a show?

30% of media confirmed as trade show attendees do not expect to attend a trade show in the coming year, compared to only 5% last year.

Flying is not what it was a few months ago. Every professional has concerns about travel, quarantining and health risks and so do media professionals. Therefore, it is not surprising to see over 60% expressing their concerns in the survey.

The big question though is about anticipation, and our respondents respond here in line with universal expectations: 50% indicate that they would not attend a trade show as they expect exhibitors/visitor numbers to be less than before.

So, what is important? Not surprisingly, it’s hands-on discovery of new products!

With a high score of nearly 90% the live touch-and-feel of products is rated as the most important aspect of a trade show.

Following closely are personal interactions for off-the-record background and fresh story ideas. Approval rate is over 80% here.  Journalists are adamant in their comments that direct human interaction in a casual setting is very important to their business allowing them to feel the vibe and translating this into strong stories, opinions, and novelties.

Half of the respondents admit they have never attended a virtual show or product release before, they do expect to attend such event in the coming year. This is a high uptake of a new phenomenon. A mere 20% indicate that it is unlikely for them to attend a virtual event shortly.

In all questions relating to personal interaction we see this vast 80% majority unsatisfied with what virtual has to offer today.

Over 50% of media professionals state that a virtual show cannot replace a classic live trade show, at least not as things stand today. Improvements in the quality of the interaction, increased personal connections and improved technology to bring on casual and “off-the-record” conversations will help increase the staying power of the virtual trade show.

Editors are willing to give the virtual show a fair chance and they see advantages in cost and logistics, however, the real value they seek in a classic trade show cannot be found in a virtual event under the present conditions.

The complete TCG report is available free of charge on request. For more information, please contact Eric Dauchy at eric.dauchy@theconstellationgroup.eu [2]