Whether you have a big business or a small one, it takes a lot of effort to give your business a real presence. It is vital that you exploit all possible chances for you to showcase your product to the public. One of the best ways to do that is to participate in marketing trade shows.
What is a Trade Show?
A trade show is a marketing strategy wherein different companies can demonstrate and showcase their products and services. It is also commonly called a trade exhibit or a trade fair. Some shows are open to the public while some are only exclusive to people from the press or representatives from the prospective client companies. This is also an avenue for business owners to get to know their competitors who are also exhibiting their own product or service.
There are a lot of advantages to showcasing your product in trade shows. Let’s take a look at the different factors that lead up to a successful trade show.
Trade shows can be expensive to put up especially if they are located in a different state or country. If you are planning to showcase a new product line, then you may have to spend a great deal on shipping. It also depends on the size and quantity of the product.
Some trade shows are free while some require you to pay a fee for setting up your booth. The fee covers rent or the space that you are using which means the bigger the space the more expensive it is. The construction and design of the booth could be covered by you or by the organizer depending on your agreement
3. Travel or Airfare
As employers, you need to shoulder the airfare expenses of the people that you are sending to man your booth.
Aside from airfare and shipping you would also have to consider travel accommodation which also comprises food and lodging. You have the option to include the food budget in the hotel or provide them a per diem allowance. Shows typically last three days to a week and can even go as long as a month.
5. Promotional Materials
You need to have promotional materials such as flyers and handouts ready when participants visit your booth. This is also another cost that you should be ready for. These can be done weeks before the actual show to promote the event or during the event itself.
Some exhibitors conduct press conferences prior to the event, which would require additional time for preparation and cost too. If you are not launching the next gadget that could potentially beat the latest smart phone then consider skipping on this.
6. Telecommunication Services
Since there is a lot of traveling and moving of materials involved it is essential for each person involved to have a cellphone or laptop. This depends on how big the event is and on the needs of your event. You can opt to provide a mobile phone for each employee or provide them a cell phone allowance.
7. Booth Maintenance
As exhibitors, it is important for your booth to look presentable at all times. You can arrange this with the organizer if they have cleaners who clean up every day or if this has to be shouldered by you. Aside from cleanliness you also need to decorate your booth for it to look appealing. You have the option to hire or to do it yourself.
Electricity cost is usually included in the registration or rent fee. The cost of electricity is usually stipulated in the contract and as to who shoulders it.
Internet may or may not be included in the trade show package. Shows that are held in hotels or convention centers usually have WiFi. It all depends on the product that you are advertising. If you are advertising a website, a mobile device or any technical gadget then you might want to consider getting Internet.
As the saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” goes then so should you. If you are a small company, it is best to get to know who your competitors are. If you are competing with a world known brand, then think again if it is wise to join the said trade exhibit. Do your research ahead of time. If you want to stand out, then make sure that you have something that the other company or companies do not have. You wouldn’t want to put all your time, money and effort to waste, would you?
Setting up a trade shows requires a lot of time both before and during the actual show. You need to have a clear timeline of events for everything to go smoothly. Create a giant chart or a calendar of activities to monitor all the things that need to be taken care of. The length of preparing for trades show also depends on how long the actual trade show is. If you are a very detail oriented person, then planning a week long show might take two weeks to a month.
Create a team specifically geared to ensure the success of your participation in the show. Assign a point person for each task. This should be done a month ahead or three to six months ahead if you are planning to join a worldwide trade show. Conduct a meeting every month and then make it every week when you already have a month left till’ the big event.
This involves the flow of resources from one point to another. As exhibitors, one must be mindful on how the goods are transferred this includes packaging, inventory handling and transportation of goods.
13. Get to know your target market
Aside from the length of the actual show you also have to consider your target market. If you are dealing with professionals you might have to load up on research and training your staff before the actual event.
Gather manpower that you need for the event. For large events, you might have to hire temporary manpower to man the booths. Of course, you can’t just hire them the day before and then send them out to battle. You have to hire them a week, a month or months before depending on how complicated your product or service is. Usually for new product launches, it is advisable to have tenured employees man the booth. Those who have experience. The temporary hires that you have can act as ushers or those who can give out flyers at the entrance to lure them into the show. You also have to make sure that these people are equipped to answer general questions about your product or service.
15. Guest List
Ask for the guest and media list prior to the event. Check if the people or companies in the list can be considered your potential client.
16. Organizer Agreement or meeting
Ask for other inclusions that you can get from the show. Set a meeting with the organizer prior to signing up and check what’s in it for you after the show. Maybe they offer extended services such as exposure on their website or free advertising on any of their marketing medium.
Aside from checking on what you can get after the show, also inquire about how the organizers plan to advertise the trade show. Will they be advertising it online, on the newspaper, on TV or on the radio? Knowing the medium that they will use will benefit you because if your product is catering to smart phone users then most likely they won’t check the local newspaper.
18. Media Coverage
Review media coverage prior to the date of the show. You have done that prior to signing up, it is also critical for you to review the coverage prior to the show itself. Contact advertising agencies that you can partner with. If you are launching a product that could interest people from all over the world, then consider conducting a press release. A press release will help you attract clients from all over the world and certainly increase your chances of success. Otherwise, if your product is not as big as a deal like the iPhone or Samsung 4 then don’t do it. The cost for conducting a press release would certainly be greater than the benefit.
19. Website or Blog
Create a website or blog that people could visit before and after the show. Make sure that this website is easy to update so it won’t put added stress on your part. Load the site with all the information needed to get to the event such as the official date and venue of the show. Show pictures, slide shows and previews of what’s in store for them. If it is a major show where buyers and clients from all over the world would flock over, then include travel information on your site. Make it as convenient as possible for your target market. Review the sites or advertising medium that you have chosen. Make sure the content of your write up is not giving too much away. Arouse curiosity among readers so they would really want to visit your booth at the show. In addition if the trade show will be in a different country or state, you could take advantage of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those will spread like wild fire.
20. Research and Training
Be ready at all times to answer the questions that your potential clients might have because no matter how prepared you are and if you do not set a good impression then all your hard work might go down the drain.
Those are just few tips to get you started on your way to a successful trade show event.