Healthcare Marketing: Analysing the True Cost of Trade Shows


When it comes to healthcare marketing, a lot of businesses have relied on the use of trade shows as a big part of how they generate revenue. It was a great way to meet your potential customers face to face and lots of them.

If you are a healthcare business and are already doing trade shows you may find this post helpful and even if you have never done one before, and are thinking of doing one, this is a great place to start.

Your trade show budget

Sometimes a trade show budget can be handed down to you and getting a feel for how much things really cost can be difficult as at times there are no realistic goals or budgets set in place.

According to the Trade show Instiute the true cost will be three times the cost of your exibit space. See the pie chart below for a greater break down of the costs.


What’s wrong with healthcare trade shows?

Trade shows are what I would call a more traditional method of marketing and if you weigh up the gains against the costs, you will find it does not yield a great return on investment. Compare this to a more inbound marketing approach which costs 62% less than tradeshows.

When asked, 47% of companies said that trade shows had a higher than average cost per lead.

Some other challenges you need to think about are:

  • High costs
  • High competation
  • Unpredictable costs
  • Not scalable
  • Great time investment


What’s good about healthcare trade shows?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not totally against trade shows, I just think there are far more effective ways you can spend your marketing budget.

If trade shows can help you to reach your business goals and are scalable, then keep doing them. If not then you need to start to explore other alternatives.

The great thing about trade shows is that you get to see and listen to your prospects face to face, something that just isn’t possible with digital marketing.

Some of the other benefits of exhibiting at healthcare marketing tradeshows are:

  • Everyone is in one place
  • Key buyers are present
  • Instant lead generation

How inbound can help with trade shows

Inbound marketing can be an effective way to draw your patients or clients to you and costs 62% less that trade shows. However you can use inbound marketing in conjunction with trade shows to maximise the ROI.

Tips for making the most of your trade shows with the help of inbound marketing:

Take email addresses: Do you take email addresses? If you don’t, you should and by using inbound marketing and a lead nurturing programme you can enter the interested people into a lead nurturing programme so you can send them helpful information.

As I’m sure you know, not everyone who you speak to will buy your product. They may just not be ready to buy and if you don’t keep in contact with them they could easily go to your competitor when they are ready.

Create show specific landing pages: Create pages on your website which are dedicated to the show and send participants to the landing pages, perhaps offer them a free guide and entice them to visit your website to download it. This is a great way to help them with their buying decisions and a way to capture their details.

Create lead nurturing email campaigns: Once you have collected their details and they have shown an interest in your products and services, you should then send them timely emails to keep them engaged over time.

Create an email campaign that addresses their questions and pain points. Offer them a free consultation or demo of your product.

You want to keep in contact with as many of them as you can.


When you decide to exhibit at a show, make sure you know exactly how much it will cost and what revenue you expect to take from it. Think of your business goals and how the show aligns with them. Is the revenue that you generate scalable?

Use inbound marketing to keep in touch with people who are interested. Create a helpful guide and pages on your website to promote this guide and use email marketing to address common sales questions and pain points.

Don’t leave your prospects guessing, tell them what you want them to do next by offering consultations and demos.

For more in-depth guidance on how to successfully carry out digital marketing strategies for your healthcare business, click here to learn about our free ebook:Digital Healthcare Marketing in a Nutshell”.

Now it’s your turn

I would love to know if you have exhibited at a trade show as part of your healthcare marketing. Did you get much success? What challenges did you face?

Source: Comparing this to a more inbound marketing approach which costs 62% less than traditional methods.


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