A Marketers in Demand company

Will Trade Shows Return to B2B Marketing In 2022?

Jacob Brain


The B2B marketing world is all about change and adaptation. We are constantly optimizing our approach to achieving growth.

After the COVID 19 reared its ugly head in 2020, marketers adapted again. However, this time it was more about survival than growth. 

Unfortunately, many staples of the industry nearly went the way of the Dodo Bird. Event marketing, specifically trade shows, seemingly suffered the most.

In fact, roughly 73% of B2B exhibition or trade show executives reported one or more event cancellations during 2020. 

Many attendees use these events for lead generation and networking opportunities. As the new year shifts into full throttle, most B2B businesses are looking to return to full operation status and attain more customers. 

This begs the question: Will trade shows make a significant comeback in 2022? And are they even still worth the time? Before we reveal our expert predictions, let’s look at a few stats.

Stats To Consider

Numbers often give us a realistic perspective on a situation. After all, they don’t lie. Here are a few numbers to indicate recovery time and continued relevancy.

  • In 2019, the US B2B trade show market was worth 15.58 billion dollars
  • The market dropped to 5.6 billion in 2020
  • Projections indicate it will snap up to 14.5 billion dollars in 2024

What’s the significance to you? These stats indicate that while trade shows are coming back into popularity, a full recovery will take some time to take effect. 

As of January 2022, Display Wizard found that:

  • “65% of businesses said that in-person trade shows were an invaluable part of their marketing strategy.
  • 35% of respondents said that in-person trade shows needed to change to stay relevant.
  • 0% of respondents said that in-person trade shows were no longer relevant.”

What does the mean for trade show relevancy? They will be sticking around, but adaptation will need to happen.

After reviewing these stats, it’s clear that trade shows will continue to be a big part of B2B marketing in the future. However, trade show practice and trends will need to innovate with these changing times. Likewise, we will need to innovate with them.

Read on to discover some trends and tips for trade show marketing in 2022. 

Trends To Watch

Looking at trends can help us align our expectations and prepare for success. These trends will be seen in trade shows as we advance into 2022.

1. Hybrid Options

Remote interaction was a necessity during the height of the pandemic and will continue to be a viable option for trade show attendees and presenters in the future. While many might prefer to attend events in person, a virtual experience is better than not attending at all. B2B businesses should consider being prepared for virtual and in-person presentations.

2. Limited and Specialized Events

Jamming thousands of people in one space will not be considered safe for a while. As a result, hosts will shift to putting on events for more niche B2B audiences instead of catering to the industry as a whole.
In addition, resources and time have become more precious than ever. B2B businesses will look for smaller events where they can make an impression and get more bang for their buck.

3. Safety in Mind and Design

In-person events will generate safety concerns for attendees and hosts. Booth layout and design will need to consider any health protocols like mask-wearing and social distancing.

Tips to Follow

Trends are valuable for analyzing the lay of the land. These tips will give you ideas for crafting a trade show road map.

1.Up Your Creative Game

In this intensely digital age, banners, signs, and badges aren’t going to cut it for trade show booths anymore. Instead, your business needs to have built a strong brand identity that stands out to the other attendees. 

Get creative utilizing every inch of your space and leave a lasting impression. 

2. Reach Out

Time is money at these events. Make sure you are providing value to any interested party. This might mean spending more time and resources on offering demos or evaluations. Don’t forget the emotional connection. If this pandemic has taught us anything, connecting with others is a necessity in business. Please give them a reason to enjoy your interactions.

3. Market On Social Media

4.48 billion people will use social media this year. Promoting your business’s display at an upcoming event is vital. Social media is a great channel. It allows for a lot of creativity and impact at lower costs. Consider investing in a social media marketing campaign before your next trade show. 

Ready to Roll With Trade Show?

They are back, and they are expanding. So if you’re uncertain about preparing for trade show marketing in 2022, don’t worry. 

That’s why New North exists. We’ve got over 20 years of experience with these events. 

Looking for a creative and actionable plan for your next trade show? Let’s talk or visit our site to learn more about our public relations and event marketing services.

You might also like...

Looking for something and want to bet the farm that big data analytics is the right ticket? Think again. Let’s take a step into reason before jumping into the big expense of big data….
Is your lead funnel not getting the results you’d like from your online marketing? You might have a few clogs in your lead funnel….
Wondering if you are getting enough feedback from your customers? Or maybe not enough? In this post, we look at the two extremes in survey frequency and how to best handle the situations….
Scroll to Top