Trade shows like AWISA are considered an expensive proposition for most suppliers. To cover the cost of even a small stand, up to ten machines may need to be sold at the show depending on the mark-up. So are trade shows worth the cost and effort?

Trade shows have seen suppliers come and go as they jockey for the best deal and this happened most famously at the Xylexpo fair in Milan a few years ago, although you may remember it’s happened in Australia too. It’s a challenge to determine where to best invest advertising dollars because this cost will be built into the price of the product.

At AWISA this year, 58% of visitors came from Victoria. When it was held in Brisbane 51% came from that State. Previously in Sydney, 59% were locals. The pattern seems to be that less than half the visitors at any trade show are prepared to travel. This means that most of the leads from the show will be from the greater metropolitan area of the city in which it is held. Of course, you can’t measure exposure from a show in terms of dollars. If Ford were missing from an auto show, what would that say about the product and Ford’s position in its market?

Supplier magazine did a little research to find out what people think about when they purchase equipment. Mr. X said: “When I plan to buy a major piece of equipment I go to AWISA. I go to compare features and look at the best value for me. I’ve had sales people drop by and give me a card but I hardly ever hear from them again. I want someone who takes the time to see me at least a few times a year”.
Mr. Y said: “A lot of sales people visit us once and then disappear forever. Not sure if I can trust them. I tend to purchase around AWISA if I can”.

And finally, Mr. Z said: “You already know that AWISA is a worthwhile investment. Most of us prefer to see all the machines from every supplier under power at the same time. It’s a lot cheaper than travelling around the country. It’s great to network too. We bought our first panel saw in 1998 and have attended every show since”.

In all the last three AWISA shows, around half of the visitors were the people who would make the purchasing decision so it looks like trade shows are worthwhile after all.