Over the past 20 years since opening E&E Exhibit Solutions, I have encountered many ad agency owners who look at trade shows as something that takes up a significant portion of their clients’ marketing budgets—and subsequently takes away from the agency’s profitability. Ad agencies have either walked away from the trade show business as too complex or have attempted to help their clients and opened a Pandora’s box of trouble that equals little in revenue for the agency.
Yet, one cannot deny the importance of trade shows in the marketing mix. Businesses spend upwards of 30 percent of their marketing budgets on trade show displays, accessories, graphics and participation, for which the ad agency previously received no compensation. This leaves agencies asking, “How do we help a client with its entire marketing strategy, including trade shows, without losing money?”
There are three main concerns for an ad agency considering venturing into the trade show business for their clients:
- Trade shows require a lot of time to plan, execute and manage the details.
- Successful trade show participation requires a level of experience and knowledge that most ad agencies don’t possess.
- Ad agencies don’t typically make money when their clients invest in trade shows.
So again, how does an ad agency provide trade show assistance to a client and still make a profit? The answer is to seek out trade show experts to handle the details of trade show exhibit designs, production and logistics. At E&E Exhibit Solutions, we recognize this challenge and through a partnership can address the concerns above. By working with a professional trade show display company, an ad agency can provide their clients with the best of both worlds—expert marketing guidance and expert trade show management.
A partnership with a trade show display company enables the agency to expand its billable marketing offerings, while allowing a company like E&E to manage the trade show details. Yet, this service doesn’t necessarily mean added cost to the client. As the experts, the trade show display company can provide cost-saving exhibiting strategies that also improve event ROI.
This partnership can be as invisible or as transparent as the agency wishes. At E&E, we work with ad agencies behind the scenes or work side-by-side with clients as the agency’s trade show division to provide complete solutions including exhibit design,trade show graphics, shipping and labor services. Either way, the agency becomes the one-stop shop for their clients.
The bottom line is that trade shows aren’t going away. Time and again, studies show there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction in business. A company is going to participate in trade shows as a component of its marketing strategy. By working with a trade show display company, the ad agency can say, “Yes!” to their clients’ trade shows and provide a billable service they previously shied away from. And, clients benefit by working with the ad agency they trust, along with experts in the trade show industry, to help ensure a successful trade show experience.