Some companies can be on the fence about attending trade shows. Yes they can bode many benefits but also require a lot of preparation work, financial and other resources. Let’s analyze what you need to do in order to exhibiting at a trade show and whether it is in agreement with your goals, strategy and possibilities.
Determine your target audience
It must be one of the first matters you must decide. Finding who your target audience is influence the whole process of exhibiting. It means that according to your TA you need to pick a proper show to attend, select a booth and its location on a show floor, assign budget, prepare pre-show and on show promotion and many other things. If to speak in general terms, all the audience can be divided into business (B2B) and direct consumers (B2C). Let’s see the difference in exhibiting models based on these basic TA. So if attract attention of other companies and businesses is your goal, you probably should attend industrial an specialized trade shows where there are more representatives of business circles and a structure of the whole show is more business oriented. With B2C model you can also keep specialized show model, however you may not restrict yourself attending only them. You can find potential customers at every show directly or indirectly related to what your company does and produces. Also it is good to combine participating in trade shows with other forms of promotion. Further on, pre-show and on show promotion also differs. While you can send personal invitations to companies you are interest to cooperate, this doesn’t work with consumers. In this case it is better to concentrate your attention on a display and ways to lead people to it. Usually displays are also different for these types of TA. If you want to attract mass audience to your booth it should have appealing look, be noticeable, present products and samples for everybody to see, giveaways also encouraged, good booth location is vital. With B2B model it is not exactly plausible. If you want to conduct negotiations it is better to place your booth away from a crowd, make its layout for more private meetings, giveaways can also be, but in less quantity but with higher value.
Select a show
Trade show industry offers a great selection of shows to attend, so every company can pick an exhibition the most proper to its goals. As we already mentioned, there are industrial and specialized shows in many fields, which can provide you with your target audience, you can study the market, assess competition, maybe even find business partners. But you must attend a trade show only if it is with correlation with your goals and it is available for you. If there is a large show there will be also a lot of competitors. If you are not quite ready to seriously compete, or attending such a show requires too much resources it is probably wise to put off your participation till you are ready, however going to a show as a visitors can be useful. Also you need to analyze if there are better ways to promote your products and services. If specific of your work permits it can be more effective to invest in creating and promoting a good website for your products instead, or open a new shop if you aimed at local consumers.
Financial aspect is always something that is able to stop any endeavor. You need to intellectualize over your goals and how much you are ready to pay. If you make your first steps in business a cost of attending a show can be seem too high and unaffordable. But here you need to think whether it worth to throw an opulent presentation. Probably in this case it is better that matter prevents over a form – you products must be a focal point and not means by which you present it. So in terms of a limited budget it can be something that allows you to not refuse from exhibiting. Also you can consider other ways to lower your budget – rental options or buying a used display. Creative approach can also help – if you can think of an original way to do without a booth it may be more interesting, refreshing and in the end of the day even more appealing for visitors.
Think how exhibiting at trade show may affect work of your company at operational level. You need to have a trained staff at your booth, people who know the products and services you present. Usually you take someone from a personal of the company to a show. But if you are a small company with limited human resources it can really hurt the work of the office. Think of your priorities. Answer the question – will a trade show bring your more benefits than what you can possibly lose by temporary depriving your best people from the office? Maybe you can find a way to redirect your customers from your facility to an expo center and serve them there if it won’t negatively affect the presentation. But if finding the right people to work at a booth is a real big problem it is better to refuse from participating in a trade show than to make an impression of a non-professional company.
As we can see, it is not always needed to sacrifice a lot to participate in a trade show. However it is not the only way you can promote your business. We hope this simple analyze will help you to determine whether it really worth to attend a trade show for your company.