Trade Shows: Far From Obsolete

A guide to acing events

Published on Sep 21, 2023

Updated on Nov 20, 2023

Written by Miriam Glassman

Think trade shows are dead? Since 2022, in-person shows made a resounding comeback, and shows continue to be sold out. The market size of the Trade Show and Conference Planning industry in the US is measured at $21.7bn in 2023. 

This highlights the enduring importance of physical gatherings - even in a digital age. In fact, one could argue that it’s the digital age that is heightening the need for face-to-face interactions. 

For economic development professionals, trade shows remain a vital component of an investment attraction strategy. And it continues to be a primary avenue for pursuing foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities.

Trade shows have remained largely unchanged, despite the temporary “virtual event” era that many would prefer to leave behind. But what's evolved significantly, is the wealth of intelligence available to substantially improve your success at trade shows and conferences.

This article explores Gazelle's Trade Show tool and how it helps economic development organizations (EDOs) plan, research, and target the right audience before the event even begins. 

Gazelle: Succeed at Events & Networking

Gazelle indexes companies based on their likelihood to expand. By employing AI, Gazelle identifies growth companies, providing valuable insights for economic development and workforce professionals.

Gazelle offers a wealth of trade show data specifically designed to assist economic developers in maximizing their return on investment from events.

Today, trade shows are more about having real conversations and forging relationships. That's why it's crucial to identify who to connect with and who would be interested in engaging with you. 

Getting a Head Start: Mastering Pre-Event Research and Planning

Picture this: You're all set to attend a trade show, ready to make connections. But here's the twist – you can dive in blindly, hoping to stumble upon the right opportunities or take a savvier route. 

The key to event success is securing valuable meetings before the event even starts. Gazelle gives you that possibility. 

  1. Database of Worldwide Trade Shows: Gazelle gives you access to hundreds of lists of major conferences worldwide. It ranks exhibiting companies based on their growth potential and key data points so that you can hone in on the ideal leads for your region. 

Gazelle's global database of trade shows and attendees by growth ranking

2. Advanced Research Filters. The platform's advanced filters allow you to sort through and break down attendees by data points so that you can build the most highly qualified pre-show outreach campaign.

In the example below, we’ve taken the state of New York as an example. You will be attending the Medica Trade Fair. That’s a big show and you want to pre-book meetings. You can view the exhibitors and filter by:

  1. Companies currently not operating in the state of New York (i.e without a headquarter, subsidiary or branch)

  2. Companies experiencing rapid growth and/or that just received funding

  3. Companies with an international presence  – a powerful combination that signifies significant potential for foreign direct investment (FDI)

  4. And then pinpoint and reach out to C-Suite executives and key decision-makers within those companies 

Rather than being limited to a basic attendee list with no insights, this feature empowers you to navigate through the attendees and extract the best candidates for your region. Their alignment with your region and potential to expand significantly enhance your chances of securing a meeting.

Strategies for Choosing the Right Shows

Navigating the sea of trade shows can be a daunting task. Without data, determining which shows to attend and which to skip is challenging. Gazelle provides valuable insights to help you identify the events that will yield the best results for your region.

In the example below, we show you how can identify your ideal company and research what events they attend. In this instance, we used the keyword feature to identify a list of growing and international EV companies from around the world that are not located in the state of New York. 

In a few clicks, you can see what events they attend. You can then go a step further and find out how many other similar companies will be attending the show. This data-driven approach to trade show planning empowers you to make informed decisions and allocate your resources wisely.

Expand Your Reach: Targeting Missed Events 

Let's face it, attending every trade show simply isn't feasible. And no matter how many you manage to attend, there's always that one you wish you hadn't missed. Be it distance, budget, or resource constraints, choices need to be made. You can't be everywhere at once (see above if you skipped ahead too fast!).

By utilizing our trade show data, you now have a way to plan outreach campaigns to events you didn’t even attend. Whether it's exploring upcoming events or diving into the treasure trove of past events, Gazelle empowers your research team to compile brand-new prospect lists.

With this data, you can tap into the opportunities you might have otherwise missed. Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) utilize this data to broaden their reach and unearth fresh opportunities from a new dataset.

The Power of Data on the Show Floor

Trade shows success is more than showing up but about strategic planning and effective resource allocation. By utilizing data, EDOs can ensure that every moment spent at a trade show, every connection made, and every investment opportunity pursued is optimized for unparalleled success. 

Gazelle's Trade Show tool represents a transformative asset for economic developers. EDOs can leverage Gazelle's data-driven insights to secure valuable meetings before events, select the most promising shows to attend, and even tap into missed opportunities.

Want to elevate your event strategy?

Connect with us today.