Today, more than ever, marketing is all about relationships. We are continuing to shy away from the traditional practice of just pushing products and, instead, putting an emphasis on building real connections with customers.

Event marketing offers a unique opportunity in this changing industry as you are able to be face-to-face with your audience. What better way to build a relationship with a customer than meeting them in person? Statistics prove it. Here are five ways event marketing can increase sales and why it should be included in your marketing mix.

1) Lead Generation

When generating leads, most companies are faced with the obstacle of finding an interested audience. When cold selling, you are working with limited information and you're often going into a pitch blind. The result is a lot of hang-ups and one-way emails. With event marketing, you're given the advantage of knowing that everyone you speak to will have an interest in or use for what you sell. Why? Trade shows gather groups within a specific industry and the result is guaranteed access to your target audience.

2) Education

One of the greatest gifts you're given at a tradeshow is time. When an attendee approaches you, you know you have their undivided attention and the opportunity to educate them in a way that is very unique to marketing. Whereas ads are typically just glanced at and press releases skimmed, at a trade show you have your target audience right in front of you. If you use your time with them wisely, you could not only introduce them to your product or service but also educate them on what makes your company different (your unique value proposition) and why they should do business with you.

3) Establish a Rapport

In marketing you're always fighting against the noise of your competitors but with B2B marketing it can be hard to even be a part of the competition. Receptionists and other "gate keepers" make it a priority to block cold callers and advertisers from bothering company decision makers. New businesses often face the difficulty of getting a call with a potential customer, or even getting on their radar at all. Trade shows are a great place for networking, and meeting those influential people that are nearly impossible to get a hold of. It's also much easier to build a connection in this environment, since your customer is able to put a face to your name and is not just dealing with another voice on the other end of the phone.

4) High ROI

When spending money on marketing, ROI is everything. No one wants to waste funds on something that isn't going to benefit their business or increase sales-but marketing can often be a gamble. Some platforms perform inconsistently, and some campaigns are cyclical. With event marketing, businesses are given a little more reassurance. There is less uncertainty because you are guaranteed to reach your target audience based on the type of trade show you attend, and surveys show that around half of attendees plan to buy what they see exhibited within 12 months after an event.

5) More Sales

A trade show offers a rare platform where you can market and sell in the same place. While typically marketing is a first step and a way to direct a potential customer to your website or store, at a trade show you are marketing to someone who could immediately turn into a sale. Since a good majority of the sales process is can be done right then and there, the funnel from first exposure to purchase is much shorter. Shorter lead nurturing means more sales.