The question is regularly anticipated with communication literature as to whether digital platforms will eventually take over physical platforms in B2B markets. It is also regularly disputed in communications as to whether digital is a richer form of communication than face to face. Similarly, the importance of face to face communication has been quizzed after the down turn in economy which lead to businesses focusing more only using the most effective and economical platforms. However, a reason that professionals gather at Tradeshows was to meet and engage in face to face communication.
This dissertation will look at the quality of communication that takes place at tradeshows and uncover people’s opinions within the food and drinks industry. It reveals attitudes and opinions towards online platforms, the importance of building relationships and the impact of the physical environment with regards to Tradeshows. The results inform what we can and cannot accomplish in these different environments.
92 professionals who have worked in the food and drink industry either as a Company Director, a Marketing Manager, a Sales Team Representative or as a Business Development Manager took part in an on line survey to reveal the factors that they considered most effective at Tradeshows with regards to on line, relationship building and stand design. The questions focused on whether face to face, digital, or a combination of both is the solution, exploring the value and necessity of tradeshows. They also focused on the how important relationship building was considered and explored individuals’ opinions on whether stand size and design has an impact on performance at Tradeshows.
Additionally, 6 in depth telephone interviews were also carried out to obtain the reasoning behind the survey answers. The results from the survey suggested that digital can only enhance, rather than replace, the communication that takes place at physical tradeshows. It was also suggested that tradeshows help to maintain and develop relationships by creating personal face to face experiences. Respondents also suggested that large open stands generate more footfall. The interviews also echoed these thoughts however, they countered the suggestion about stand size and design suggesting businesses must relate size with the brand image that they want to portray.
PLEASE NOTE: You must be a member of the University of Lincoln to be able to view this dissertation. Please log in here.