22 Jul 2016

Another week, another entry into our article series called Beginner’s Guide to Trade Fairs – your shortcut to getting the most out of trade fairs and exhibitions without years’ worth of experience. We’re still in the early stages where we explain to you the strategic advantages behind consistent business travellers. Last time, we launched into the specific benefits your company sees from attendance broken down into short-, mid- and long-term.

With this, we wrap our sales pitch and move onto the next stage.

You know you need to make yourself known to your industry. How do you achieve this?
Out of the trade fairs and events hosted around the year, how do I chose the best exhibition for my company? It all comes down to what questions you ask yourself and answer to narrow down the list to either a few handful options or immediately pinpoint the right choice for your company. As you gain experience and confidence, you’ll find your goals change and new opportunities present themselves.

How many trade fairs are there for your industry?
You’d be surprised how many business events crop up in an industry. Some will be legacy trade fairs with at least 20-30 years, others will be newer. Some will focus on a certain niche closer aligned to your field. Others will give a full-industry overview. You need to get a complete understanding of what your options are and only then proceed to select because otherwise, you might favour an ill-suited trade fair.

How far will my budget let me fly?
Yes, international flights have become more accessible, but if you’re located in Denmark, it makes much more financial sense to head out to an event in Germany than fly to Japan or Australia. You need to factor your company size into making the most strategic early choice.

Our advice is to restrict yourself geographically, especially in the early stages. It also makes sense to stay in your own region where you’re competing for leading positions on that market. Conversely, if you’re already a big fish in a small pond, you might want to consider going to a trade fair in a different region where you can revitalize your sales.

How much do you pay for a lead?
Ideally, the plan is to go there and rank up direct sales on the spot, but the most realistic would be to calculate the costs to generate a single lead and go from there to justify whether at this stage it’s worth it to attend a trade fair as an exhibitor. It’s not a bad idea to add in a long-term vision to know the worth of your customer. Will you get a profit from a direct sale? How valuable is a long-term customer? Are you in a field that relies on repeat purchases from customers or do you need to constantly expand your customer base? This will also give you hints as to where you need to head, once you research all the available trade fair options.

Do you need sales right now?
This is a rather short/mid-term question where releasing a new product and seeking a spike in cash flow pose more value right now. You should ask yourself this because you need to decide now between two types of fairs – trade only and consumer shows. Consumer shows are where all the customers are and you stand a stronger chance to make an impression on the market.

Do you need to build a reputation?
Reputation is not just a valuable currency with customers but also a powerful resource in your business circles. Trade only events give you the chance to enter a bigger conversation, access valuable resources that will aid you in growing your company, and not to mention the superior access to up-to-date expertise that shows you just where the market is heading and how you can change to meet its future demands.

Is this a reputable event?
The older the event is, the more you can be certain organizers know what they’re doing. These events already have legacies and attending them boosts your prestige. Be sure to compare trade fairs based on their history and their significance. Which are the ones with the better media coverage? With the important awards?

Is your product category represented?
Most events aim to give visibility across all product categories and groups, but sometimes it’s not the case. You won’t sell much if all visitors are there to buy something else. You need to find the trade fair that targets your ideal audience.

Answer these high-level questions and you’ll easily land on the right choice that serves as a swift ROI and boosts your business. Of course, there are other questions to answer, but they are all prep work for right before the event itself.

If you have comments, please share them with us. Email ideas at [email protected] and maybe you’ll be featured in our next article.