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Trade Shows in the Business Marketing Communications Mix - Abstract


Srinath Gopalakrishna (, University of Missouri
Gary Lilien (, Penn State University


Trade shows are a multi-billion dollar industry and constitute an important part of the business-marketing communications mix. They have overtaken print ads and direct marketing and now form the largest portion (18.6%) of the marketing budget in the U.S (Stevens, 2005). Three-quarters of trade show attendees say they have some influence on the buying decision; it is easy to note that this medium offers enormous opportunities for buyer-seller interactions. The trade show industry is valued at $120 billion and organizers attracted 64 million attendees and 1.5 million exhibitors in 2007 (CEIR 2008).

In this chapter, we review the overall role of the trade show within the broader mix of b-to-b marketing communications. In section I, we describe and summarize academic research that looks at the value generated by trade show activity from the exhibitor and the attendee perspective. We also discuss the synergy that trade shows create with other communications mix elements notably personal selling. In section II, we review the measurement area focusing on research that has examined various trade show effectiveness measures and the key decision variables for exhibitors that drive those performance metrics. Finally, in section III, we describe emerging trends in the trade show and event marketing industry that involve new approaches to reach customers and prospects (such as virtual trade shows) and the emerging state-of-the-art measurement and data that suggest exciting opportunities for further research in this area.

The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing

This chapter is part of the ISBM Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing, edited by Professors Gary Lilien and Raj Grewal. The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing is available from Edward Elgar Publishing and other online book retailers.

As the authors retain the copyright to their chapters, only they have the right to use or distribute their chapter. If you would like a copy of this chapter, please contact the author or authors directly through their emails included above.

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