Despite the disruption in in-person events caused by COVID, trade shows remain broadcast and media technology buyers’ go-to resource for industry trends information and vendor news, according to a new study conducted by Caretta Research in partnership with Bubble Agency.
The research included surveys and in-depth focus group interviews with a sample of broadcast and media technology buyers and sellers during Q3. Respondents were self-selecting, so the research is directional, rather than necessarily representative of the industry as a whole.
Trade shows were the most-cited “favorite” resource by both buyers and sellers, but they were cited by 83% of media technology buyers, versus 72% of sellers. And while 32% of buyers cited trade shows as their “most trusted” source of industry information, just 9% of buyers said the same.
Sellers “underestimate the role of trade shows in creating a trusted relationship with buyers,” according to the report, which notes that the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention had to be cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID.
“It can be notoriously difficult to quantify the value of investing in a trade show presence in terms of leads and pipeline growth, but this research... reveals a consistent message: Buyers want to meet their potential suppliers face-to-face before they do business together, and trade shows are an effective and efficient way to do this," the report continues. "Trade shows, and meetings arranged by industry organizations, offer a chance to build trust and rapport that can sustain virtual interactions via web conferencing the rest of the year.”
Trade shows also “increasingly play a more important role in closing sales than in generating pipeline, with content-based marketing raising awareness long before the convention begins,” it adds.
Buyers’ other “favorite” sources (rankings above) are industry organizations (70%), personal networks (69%), trade press/websites (69%), webinars (55%) and direct contacts (53%). Social media and online search were cited by fewer buyers (50% and 48%, respectively).
Buyers’ most ‘trusted” sources (below), after trade shows, are personal networks (20%), industry organizations (12%), social media (12%) and white papers reports and case studies (8%).
In comparison, sellers’ favorite sources beyond trade shows rank only a bit differently: trade press/sites (71%), industry organizations (68%), personal networks (64%) and webinars (59%) are their top five.
Sellers’ top five most trusted sources are personal networks (36%), direct contacts (29%), industry organizations (13%), trade shows (9%) and the trade press/sites (4%).
“There is rather more disconnect between buyers’ most-trusted sources of accurate and impartial industry information, and the channels that suppliers think create most trust with their prospects,” notes the report. “Buyers have far more faith in social media, webinars and published content than sellers think, while sellers greatly overestimate the importance of direct contact.”