Blog | March 7, 2022

Are We Asking Ourselves The Right Questions About B2B Tradeshows?


By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer


When speaking with my friends who have been in sales and marketing roles for a while, questions about the return of tradeshows often come up. When do you think we’ll get back to normal and trade shows will be busy again? Perhaps we’re asking ourselves the wrong question.

Hal Gregersen, the Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, believes that the best problem-solvers focus on asking better questions. For Gregerson, good questions have a catalytic quality, and he offers a framework for overcoming challenges by asking better questions in his book, “Questions Are The Answer”.

Live events experienced a great deal of disruption in the past two years and attempts were made to create virtual and hybrid versions of trade shows and conferences with mixed results. Those who tried to hastily duplicate real events in a virtual setting failed to deliver. Chat room networking went over like pickle-flavored ice cream. Organizations that created virtual experiences more suited for an online environment saw more success.

However, if we want to be honest with ourselves about trade shows, our frustration with diminishing buyer attendance has been growing for years, before COVID put the kibosh on live events. A common refrain from exhibitors has been that they feel a need to be seen at some trade shows because their absence will be noticed by their competitors.   

If you’re looking at your event schedule more carefully this year you’re not alone. If your attendance criteria have changed based on the experiences of the past couple of years, I applaud your efforts.

Here are some better questions to ask.

How do events support my marketing and sales strategy for 2022?

Which events better align with the direction of my marketing this year?

Can I get the same outcome by attending a virtual event rather than live?

What trade shows delivered poor results before the COVID shutdown?

Good luck and keep an eye out for our Wednesday newsletter when we dive deeper into the topic of events. 

I hope you have a great week!