A Show of Spirit for Greeks
That evocative title, Spirit Show, came on my newsfeed radar screen this week. Even back in 2004, I was questioning whether Trade Shows Are Out? given that Internet marketing was becoming so powerful.
If you run your trade show activities now in 2004 exactly the same way as you ran them 7 years ago, then you have probably seen a major decline in ROI from this activity. Relying only on the direct selling benefit at the show is sub-optimal. You should probably seriously question your continuing trade show participation.
You remember 2004. Although Google was giving some website owners a hard time, most online e-commerce sites were doing just fine. The increased costs of travel, and the delays through heightened security were making tradeshows ever more difficult.
Now move forward to 2008. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is still very powerful, but the new trend is Social Media Marketing (SMM). Everyone is thinking communities and how to spread the word through viral marketing. Who isn’t trying to figure out how Facebook might help them? No wonder that Microsoft, at a loss for what to do next, is contemplating acquiring them. With the explosive increase in energy costs, what model of a trade show can hope to survive?
Well, perhaps the Spirit Show typifies that model.
The Spirit Show is an open trade show dedicated to the privately owned recognition product stores. The trade show serves as a showcase for approximately 80-100 exhibitors carrying Greek, Cheer, College, and Recognition products along with a wide variety of complimentary goods and services. The Spirit Show is unique in that the exhibitors are geared to sell directly to the smaller, privately owned stores.
The market, which its participants serve, is made up almost entirely of social media. Sororities and fraternities are some of the earliest examples of communities, and many of them have their online presence in Facebook. You might assume that Greek clothing or Greek gear would be traded entirely online.
Well, it’s always been true that people prefer to buy from people. Buying from an online box store carries with it that unspoken risk. Is this company one I can trust? Meeting face-to-face can set many of these fears to rest. A trade show like the Spirit Show has a very clear niche and its participants go there to buy and sell. The ROI on their activities is much more measurable than for a trade show, where networking is the sole objective. We wish the Spirit Show a long and happy future.