Trade Fair Marketing: How Important is it for your Business InfographicSubmitted by Valentina Petrova on May 25, 2020
Establishing long-term connections with clients is arguably one of the most time-consuming and difficult tasks for most of the companies. Luckily, the business world has created a solution for professionals who aim to create and maintain partnerships through face-to-face communication with their existing and potential clients and allow companies to present their novelties to the wide world. According to the reputable website – auma.de, the trade fair & expo industry is growing and Germany – a leader in the trade fair market, is expanding its overall economic importance. Having that in mind, participating in trade fairs and expos as an exhibiting company/speaker/visitor is crucial for every business which aims to gain international recognition and generate new sales leads.
“According to data from the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), there are around 1,200 exhibition venues and 31,000 exhibitions a year worldwide. Around 4.4 million exhibitors and more than 260 million visitors gather at these more than 31,000 exhibitions a year. Germany accounts for 10 per cent of the world’s trade fair market.”
Harald Kötter - Director of Public Relations & Trade Fairs Germany Division at auma.de
Some numbers to support the aforementioned:
- Germany hosts between 160-180 international and national trade fairs with over 180-190,000 exhibitors and 10 million visitors. 60% of the exhibitors are from outside Germany. This means that every company which decides to participate will receive worldwide coverage of their business.
- 2/3 of the renowned international trade fairs take place in Germany
- 40% of the foreign exhibitors and ¼ of the international visitors at the events are traveling from outside Europe
- Exhibitors and visitors spend more than 14 BN Euros a year on trade fairs
In the following paragraphs, we at ProExpo Services have highlighted some of the important reasons to participate in trade fairs as an exhibitor and develop a well-structured marketing strategy, that will secure your future sales.
1. Networking – face-to-face with industry leaders
One of the biggest benefits of attending trade fairs is an invaluable opportunity to meet potential clients, future partners, and existing customers with whom you would like to maintain long-lasting business communication. In the B2B business world, expos and trade fairs are the second preferred tool for communication, after the corporate website. Some of the 80% of the visitors at trade fairs have decision-making power in their companies, which means you could expose your brand at the right person at any time.
Despite meeting visitors at your company’s booth, there are other types of visitors that could be interested in your products/services/ solutions. 5% of attendees are CEO’s of companies, and another 5% are media representatives, so It could be your attendance’s highlight if you manage to arrange a meeting with a member of those two groups. Most importantly, where exactly do you engage in a business conversation while being on-site? Most of the trade fairs have a dedicated lounge section, which could be organized in various ways by the different venues.
Others organize informal “parties” for trade fair professionals, usually scheduled after the end of the main program, a friendly atmosphere that will predispose industry professionals to meet new prospects and fellow peers. Job fairs, workshops, summits, conferences, and training sessions are also hot spots for meeting professionals and possibly engage in a conversation.
2. Brand Awareness – The invaluable benefit from trade fairs & expos
Being the main advantage of trade fairs, brand awareness is the long-term goal most companies seek to achieve while being on-site. Under normal circumstances, this process takes months, sometimes years before any company achieves to become recognized by its target audience. This could include a vast marketing strategy through all communication channels – mass mail campaigns to clients, social media campaigns, PR articles, website landing pages dedicated to your brand, paid ads, exclusive booking/buying terms, incentives, branded retention materials, etc. These are all marketing tools and techniques that will help leverage your brand awareness and are somehow considered as mandatory and preliminary work before attending the fair. A peculiar marketing funnel, which is structured according to your business goals, so it can strengthen your brand and become recognised and preferred over competitors.
Note: Inform your clients through an official press release/statement that you are premiering at a trade fair well in advance.
Having this in mind, why are trade fairs crucial for your brand awareness and most importantly what place do they take in your overall marketing strategy? Before attending a trade fair, every exhibitor needs to assess what is the short-term goal of the company’s participation. Is it meeting potential/existing clients and partners, is it generating sales leads, presenting a product development, completing deals, or “spying” on competitors. Once you have determined your main on-site goal, it will be significantly easier to prepare your team for attending. How to act after this first important step? We can pinpoint some focal areas for a trade fair brand awareness campaign.
- Positioning your booth/stand strategically near industry leaders – This implies the subconscious impression that you are one of the important players on the market. Invest in display banners, multimedia, stand constructions. Provide your team with branded clothes, badges, discuss sales strategies, or promotion presentations.
- If your company has a marketing specialist, you need to make him/her part of your on-site team. Marketing specialists know how to generate sales leads, hence win your new contacts.
- Print retention materials designed for the trade fair and organize giveaways – brochures, branded accessories, etc. Exclusive incentives only for the days of the event are also a good way to attract attention.
- Create a unique QR code for promotions and offers only for the days of the trade fair. This is an efficient way to track your website leads.
3. The Follow-Up Plan – Convert your trade fair leads
You have been to the trade fair for 2,3,4 or more days, had the opportunity to engage in important conversations with CEO’s, media representatives, decision-makers, sales specialists, experts in different fields, renowned speakers, probably participated in workshops, tastings sessions, lectures, presentations, etc. This all led to meeting a lot of new prospects, among which are your future clients and partners. From all the collected business cards, retention materials from other companies, and made notes, it is time to “drill” through everything you have collected and receive the much-needed feedback for your business goals. You could use all communication channels for reaching out – e-mail, phone, direct mail, face-to-face, or even social media. Make sure you have specified the type of communication with your prospects in advance. How to proceed when you arrive back in the office after the trade fair? How does the follow-up plan look like? Here is an idea:
- If you have an internal database of existing/potential/future clients, include your new contacts in the company’s database with a label “Interested”, source – “Trade fair year XXXX”
- Write a personalised “thank you” card/e-mail, inviting for a phone/video call and set a date.
- Contact on the agreed date. Send a preliminary e-mail, so your contact can prepare.
Trade fairs have a major significance for your team of co-workers/employees attending the show as well. Most of the employees visiting these shows pinpoint that they have improved their sales skills at the fair, while others highlight the product knowledge as crucial for their attendance, as they can explore hands-on demonstrating a product. Team bonding and knowledge gained through seminars and workshops are essential for respondents.
In a long-term trade fair are created so you can present your products/services to as much as people as possible and engage in business talks with professionals who can contribute to your business. Also, you can receive immediate feedback that is needed for your business evaluation.
Make research, explore the events that are presenting your industry, learn what are the future novelties in your sector, and are there any forthcoming premiers of them at these trade fairs. Discuss the opportunities of participating as an exhibitor or visitor at the event and start planning your future attendance!