It seems that many companies now perceive business exhibitions and fairs as being a key facet of their marketing strategy. But just why is it so popular and are you missing out on the benefits?
Business exhibitions can provide the ideal platform on which you can showcase all that is your business. Find yourself some good quality printed promotional materials, a solid display stand and a faultless pitch – and your business should reap the rewards.
First off, you should always do some research before committing to an event. How much does a stall at the fair cost – and does this price reflect the potential gains your business stands to make with respect to sales, publicity and contacts? Usually, the answer is ‘yes’. Do you have all the required materials pre-prepared – and if not, then how might you source these materials? Exhibitions require stands, promotional materials and travel to and from the event itself. Most of all, exhibitions require time and effort spent building and rehearsing a well thought out pitch and information preparation. Get this right and your business will always sell itself to potential suitors.
Remember, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know. Exhibitions are the perfect opportunity for you to build contacts and network within your given niche or market. Attend these exhibitions with an open mind – such events can often lead to partnerships, ancillary services or new clients. It’s for this reason that exhibitions have been known to be more successful for businesses than more expensive advertising campaigns such as newspaper or online banner adverts.
Learn from the experience
A mistake most commonly made by business owners at trade exhibitions. These shows are a chance to gauge the competition; yet many marketing teams remain glued to their own stand, wrapped up in their own business and cut away from the crowd. It’s often these same people who complain that nobody wants to listen when they’re trying to promote their product or services. Always be on the lookout and analyse your competitors strategy, products and services – are they offering anything you aren’t? Try and give yourself a competitive edge in your chosen market.
For the many businesses whose daily marketing regime consists of e-mail and tele-based sales, face-to-face contact with relevant business owners can often prove a refreshing change. Use it as an opportunity to enhance your client liaison skills. Building solid relationships is what the business world is all about. Make sure you attend any available seminars, collect promotional materials from other businesses and always take notes detailing your experience – it’s all about gaining as much knowledge as possible.
After the Event
To ensure that your business fully benefits from the event, it’s a good idea to build an action plan so that you can properly follow everything up after the event. Without hindsight you won’t fully benefit from the exhibition. It’s important to make a list and really consider just what you’ve learnt and how you plan to put that into action within your own organization. It’s also important that you allocate some time after the event where you can follow up on any leads you may have made. Don’t leave it until weeks after the event when you’ve forgotten your conversation! If the event is particularly beneficial, ensure you remain in contact with the organizers so that you’re first in line for the next exhibition. As mentioned previously – the events are all about building lasting relationships.
This was a guest post by Thomas O’Rourke who works as an SEO consultant for Marler Haley, an online provider of exhibition banner stands.