The latest Packer poll, “What element of tradeshows do you find the most useful?” helped gain insight into the tradeshow industry and how to best increase exhibitors’ return on investment (ROI).


Sixty-seven percent of voters said gaining industry contacts and networking was the most useful element of tradeshows. One reader commented, “trade shows give us the opportunity to show off our products and tell our story to a large number of people at once. We can connect with both our current customers and potential new customers on a level that we aren't able to do outside of that event. We also have the opportunity to meet and talk to others in the industry from packaging to software, and see what others are doing.”

Others mentioned that the ROI tends to be higher in smaller format shows and the ability to have on the floor learning experiences was of great value. 

Seven percent of voters said education was the most useful. Some voters commented that one way to better streamline the tradeshow experience would be to organize the exhibits by themes (grower, shippers, suppliers, software, food safety, etc.). 

Marketing and brand awareness seemed to be another major theme, chosen by 13% of voters. One commenter said, “expanding on marketing and communication value and through seminars/workshops/activities would be especially valuable.” 

One voter said a more modern exhibitor toolkit or tradeshow app with a map that shows where exhibitors are would be helpful. “It would be great to have social media graphics, logos, etc., all given to exhibitors to use in marketing efforts.”

According to poll participants, some barriers to exhibiting are the cost, logistics, booth fees, badges, transportation, lodging, food, samples, etc., while some of the factors that increase the cost of attendance are distance, add-ons to participate in special events and designated or “official” travel agencies. One reader said a good option for attendees would be “pricing options for set up and tear down booths or bundling services.”

In general, the most useful elements of tradeshows seem to be contacts/networking, marketing/branding and education. Have an opinion? Submit your feedback here.

Vote on other Packer polls here.