Benefits and risks of trade shows and exhibitions

Consider the benefits and risks to your business when deciding to exhibit your product or service. These will be different for each event, however, there can be a lot to gain from promoting your product in person within a different environment.


Trade shows are generally targeted at an industry and people involved or interested in that industry. Exhibiting at a trade show can be a great way to advertise to a target market and create brand awareness.

Exhibitions are open to a large and sometimes diverse range of audiences (usually the general public). This provides you with a platform to promote your product or service to a broader group that may have little or no knowledge of your products and services.

Depending on your type of business, product and market testing can be carried out at trade shows and exhibitions to gain industry or general opinion about your offering.

Being involved in a trade show or exhibition can provide you with opportunities to branch out to business-to-business trading and create a customer database from the visitors to your display booth.


It is also important to ensure that you have thoroughly researched attending a trade show or exhibition, and if you have a business adviser, discuss it with them.

There are risks involved and you need to be aware of those risks in the planning stages, for example:

  • trade shows require at least a day and probably more of your time
  • travelling to trade shows can be costly
  • displaying at a trade show can also be costly
  • there could be quite a bit of competition at all shows.

Choosing the wrong trade show to exhibit your business's products or services can result in displaying to the wrong audience. Poor promotion can mean the costs of attending the trade show outweigh any revenue you gain.

Deciding to attend

You might find attending trade shows is worthwhile if you have:

  • enough funds to cover attendance, display and other associated costs
  • worked out how many prospects and clients you'll need to obtain to generate a return on your investment
  • visited a trade show at which you're contemplating exhibiting and you're confident that a suitable number of contacts attend
  • worked out a way to capture people's attention
  • sufficient product literature.

Also consider...