In this paper, the authors investigate the complementarity between two dominant elements of the business marketing communications mix-personal selling and trade shows-from an integrated marketing communications (IMC) perspective. Through a field study with a group of industrial distributors, they demonstrate that follow-up sales efforts generate higher sales productivity when customers have already been exposed to the firm's product at a trade show. Overall profits are shown to be greater when the trade show is used in conjunction with optimal levels of sales effort. The study also suggests that return-on-sales figures are higher among show attendees than non-attendees and that the trade show generates positive effects on customer purchase intentions. These results provide much-needed accountability for trade show expenditures and also highlight the valuable leverage they offer towards improving selling efficiency.
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