Trade shows have long held a key position in the marketing activities of businesses. Suggestions that such events have had ‘their day’ appear to hold little warrant, with companies still presented with many benefits from attending shows.
Tending to be industry specific, and with tens of thousands of events taking place every year globally, you are sure to find a trade show to fit your needs, so let’s take a look at why you should consider attending international trade shows…..
Exhibiting at a trade show overseas provides broad access to potential customers and partners. They offer the ideal opportunity to develop brand awareness amongst key decision makers within your target audience, which can help to increase sales in an already established market or assist in entering a new market.
As trade shows require attendees to commit time to attend, you can be assured that visitors hold a genuine interest in the markets in which you operate.
For buyers, trade shows provide the convenience of meeting a number of product suppliers in one location and the ability to view and test products that they may be interested in. This can be of particular benefit to you if you are involved in the promotion of products that are easier to sell when given the chance to view, such as technical machinery. However, whether you’re trying to promote the development of industrial machinery, or a new shade of lipstick to cosmetic retailers, the ability to meet with potential buyers, build rapport, and provide answers to any questions that they may have there and then is invaluable as it helps to place your company at the forefront when they are ready to make a purchase.
As well as helping to create additional sales for established product lines, trade shows provide a good opportunity to introduce new products. Asides from the exposure gained amongst key market players, introducing new products at a trade show enables you to receive feedback on your offerings. This is particularly poignant when launching products in an overseas market, to establish if any adaptations are required for your products to suit the market differences. Besides the obvious amendments which may be required, such as the mandatory adaptations of electrical items due to differentiations in voltages, feedback received may highlight other adaptions required for your products to account for the fact that, due to differences in customs and values, the products translate differently in overseas markets.
Trade shows aren’t just useful for promoting your products. They offer valuable networking opportunities, with the opportunity to develop new contacts and further nurture established relationships with key players within your industry. Networking activities can help to establish your company and your products amongst market influencers, and can assist in increasing sales – After all, people like to buy from people that they like and can trust.
So much more than exhibitors and networking, most trade shows also offer demonstrations and seminars, which help you to keep up to date with latest industry developments, and learn from peers.
Trade shows also provide the ideal opportunity to assess the competition, and establish market conditions. For example, where does your product sit within a market? Is there market saturation? Is there something that you can do to adapt your offering, creating a USP and giving you the edge over your competitors? Are there up and coming markets that you should be targeting? For example, establishing market trends, such as the high demand for power generating systems in Africa, or for consumer goods in China due to a rising middle class population, and e-commerce, can help you to decide your market strategy for overseas expansion.
Whilst there are clear benefits to be had from exhibiting at trade shows, there are a number of key considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure you receive maximum benefit from attending.
But firstly, let’s dispel any fears that you may have about exhibiting overseas and not being able to speak the language. Do not think that because you have opted to exhibit at an overseas show that you suddenly need to continuously listen to a Rosetta Stone!
Whilst it is polite to learn a few small key phrases, there’s no need to panic if you are not a language expert. English is the universal language of business, and as such, you will generally find few issues with communication – Just be sure to avoid colloquialisms.
To ensure that your attendance at a trade show is as successful as possible, pre-planning is essential. Ensure that your marketing materials are in place, and any pre-event invites are sent out. Ensure that all required facilities are available at the venue, such as electricity, wi-fi and chairs, and that shipment of display materials and products are arranged in advance, with a reliable shipping agent. Selecting a competent agent will enable you to take advantage of their experience. For example, they will be able to advise if you are able to transport goods under temporary exports for exhibitions and inform you of any relevant documentation that needs to be completed.
Exhibiting at a trade show may seem like costly investment. However, they tend to exhibit a higher ROI than any mass advertising or direct marketing campaigns so are certainly worth considering. What’s more, there is financial assistance available for attending overseas exhibitions via the Tradeshow Access Programme, so if you are legible for one of these grants, it can help to offset some of the costs. For more details on eligibility and how to apply visit www.gov.uk/guidance/tradeshow-access-programme
If you’re ready to enter the world of trade show exhibiting, make sure that you set measurable objectives in order to calculate your ROI. You may be pleasantly surprised on the results. Exhibiting at an international trade show can offer a passport to success – Just don’t forget your actual passport!