THE “UNDER ONE ROOF” EXPERIENCE OF CONVENTIONS AND EXHIBITS
For as long as people have been active in commerce, that perhaps can be considered as to how exhibits, conventions, and trade shows in general may have come about. When one group has a need for items, services, or other goods that they don’t have on hand, they probably have to source those elsewhere, hence trade comes into effect.
It may have begun as simply as traders just displaying what they have for all to peruse and inspect. Conversations usually ensue and negotiations logically follow. The buyer can see for himself or herself the benefits and quality craftsmanship of the products offered. The agreement that transpires results in the beginning of economic activity. People need to make a living, so you need to show what you have so customers get curious, interested in your wares, and this hopefully leads to a purchase that can encourage even more purchases in the future.
Tradesmen of the Middle East through their penchant for bazaars could perhaps be the precursor for how exhibits came to be. Medieval Europe had a period of merchant capitalism and this also supported the need for organizing proper marketplaces. Farmers, craftsmen, traders, could freely travel to these fairs and hawk what products they had available. Europe and North America in the 1700’s thought of these exhibitions as quite commonplace by then.
With today’s advancements, the discriminating consumer now seeks premium Italian coffee, fresh New Zealand milk, unique Asian furniture, or pretty much whatever is out there in the global arena. And the easiest way to source these products are through trade shows, exhibits, and conventions. It invites buyers and sellers for a couple of days to gather under one roof.
The options can range from your small scale village fairs to vast exhibition halls. And to have a better lay of the land, signs and collaterals help make the experience more bearable. It just assists those attending not to feel so lost and just to guide them along for where they want to go. The main purpose in the end is that hopefully everyone finds and acquires what they need.
Because buyers appreciate the convenience of having numerous choices under one roof, small businesses can have their “coming out” party of sorts when they choose to become a participant in their industry trade shows and exhibitions. But, if not planned out carefully supported by relevant data, these businesses might end up losing more than potentially earning more.
It all begins by formulating your events budget. After checking your finances, and if it won’t stretch you out too much, perhaps it would be good to have your presence felt at one of these conferences. After reviewing what it will cost to rent a booth, produce enough promotional material, hire people to man your booth, and other miscellaneous fees, hopefully, the potential sales generated by networking and improved brand recognition will make it all worthwhile.
Your marketing plan should be scrutinized by business advisers and accountants so that an appropriate budget can be created. The event should strategically match with your business objectives and won’t unnecessarily place a strain on your expenditures. Maybe one highly visible trade show can best optimize your resources instead of looking into smaller events that might take the same effort at a similar cost.
Have a good overview of what upcoming events are worth that time and effort. Research online to see if these future trade shows are in sync with your industry practices. Perhaps by contacting your relevant association, they can refer you to the activities that you should participate in.
It would also be good to actually attend other trade shows and exhibitions. This would give you that first-hand information and experience as to how organizers arrange these gatherings. You’ll also get to see the sort of clientele who actually attend these events. This can also grant that prime opportunity to casually inquire with other business owners about the positive or negative impact of joining these kind of shows.
Find out what your target market likes, in other words, you may need to do some research about your audience. The promotional materials and even your product itself adjusts to your customers’ tastes and needs. There has to be something about what you sell that invites repeat purchases and brand loyalty.
Trust in professional groups that can provide you with the most eye catching graphics and overall design for your intended booth. Aside from the actual business goods or services, it will definitely help your bottom-line by getting more people to notice what you can uniquely offer. Having an optimal display will do just that. Hammer down your script so that you have your talking points on hand to share with your future clients. Doesn’t hurt to practice speaking these out loud so your delivery is flawless and thus expresses your confidence in the company’s deliverables. BE SEEN AT THE RIGHT SCENE
There are certain risks and benefits that should be considered when you’re looking into exhibiting your product at a particular event. It will vary from one organizer to the next, so one needs to review the pros and cons of joining these different events.
These trade shows are generally focused on certain industries like steel manufacturing, medical supplies, construction equipment, and such. So, your product should match up with the industry in focus for that particular event schedule.
These types of exhibitions are almost always open to the general public. This would be a good opportunity to build brand awareness and to expose your stuff to a portion of the populace that you currently have little or no interaction. The chance to widen your opportunity to a different market increases with this exposure. If you’re selling food, be prepared to offer free samples. If it’s a particular type of equipment, hope a demonstration can be conducted to showcase what your product can do. The service industry depends on a good number of testimonials and the service itself must be presented in a unique and memorable manner. You gain momentum in adding to your customer base and you also have that intangible business-to-business trading that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible if you didn’t join this certain event.
Don’t forget about the risks when joining such trade shows. So, it’s good to have your advisers around to guide you if this is the right thing to do. There are considerable cost implications so you should be able to pragmatically control your expenses.
Just setting up to be part of a trade show may require at least a day and probably more of your time. The travelling expense to these shows can be quite an investment. The same thing can be said for the custom displays made to help you stand out. And yes, you will have a lot of neighbors and this translates to more competition on the field.
It would be quite unfortunate if you end up at the wrong trade show that doesn’t target your intended audience. This poorly researched decision may cost you more than booking the sales you were hoping to gain.
Supposing you have enough funds tucked away to finance this operation, then this might prove to be worth the additional push to make this happen. Try to estimate how much new business you intend to generate so that it covers the cost of attending in the first place. If the exhibit has a renowned reputation, then you would have limited your risks somehow. But keep in mind that you still have to get people to come over to your booth and you should have enough brochures on hand for them to peruse at their convenience.
Now that you’ve decided to participate, make sure that you cover all your bases so that you don’t miss out on any important details. Go through your signed agreement with the organizers so that you’re very clear on what’s expected and what can be delivered. There are some things that need your attention before, during and after the exhibit proper.
Invite your loyal customers, suppliers and practically everyone you know to the event that you have a booth in. Post the invitation on your website and encourage your clients to spread the word. Should you have your customer database available, email out a newsletter and other details about this awesome conference that no one should miss.
Have your company info in brochure form and other product descriptions in stock so that visitors can easily grab these and go. Inspect that these flyers or handouts contain correct details and are up to date. Granted that you have permission to sell your items, don’t make the purchasing process a hassle for your new customers. That sort of chaos you can do without.
For further brand awareness, this would be the most opportune moment to push your unique selling proposition. This can get more people to notice what you have. Train your staff accordingly so they know what to say for the inquiring minds entering your area. Product and service knowledge is key to winning new people over to what you’ve got.
Answering a questionnaire or filling up a mini survey would give you very helpful data, so you should think of creative means to achieve this. Have some goodie bags or giveaways as a thank you gift for those who took the time to fill up those forms. This evaluation can improve your exhibit experiences in the near future. You also build a de facto database with all the people typing in or writing out their personal opinion about what you have for them.
Here’s a very important tip. Try not to deviate from the allocated budget that was approved in order to participate in such a trade show.
At the event itself, visitors should be invited with high energy to your display venue. These visitors must not encounter any difficulty in finding out more about you. If you are fortunate to meet their specific needs, feel free to punch that up as an additional sale.
Smiling can be very inviting and should be done frequently when engaging with your potential clients. That atmosphere creates good will and positivity and provides a positive experience for your buyers. Don’t “hard sell” too much by being overly aggressive that it scares away your visitors. They’re just window shopping at the moment and if they like what you have, that sale is sure to follow.
An evaluation should be conducted after the event has transpired. Review your customer feedback, conduct a debriefing with your frontline staff, see if the trade show contributed to your sales somehow, input new customer information into your database. If the results are promising, this can probably imply your willingness to participate in next year’s show. Otherwise, it may be good to look at other options that afford better returns.
TRUST YOUR CONVENTION AND EXHIBIT GRAPHICS WITH PROLAB DIGITAL
So, if you need the real deal to assist you in closing real deals, look no further than the Prolab Digital team. Their more than 20 years of experience in the printing industry can surely provide you with the graphics you conceptualize for your exhibition and convention displays. Wow the crowd by having a very enticing entrance sign. Guide them to the proper lines by decking out your registration area. Whatever the surface, be it glass, carpet, linoleum, wood or others, they can print out the signs designed to meet your needs.
They even have large and grand format prints that can amply cover convention hall walls. These range from window to floor clings, to even outdoor building wraps. Don’t worry about the environmental impact because these materials can eventually break down under landfill conditions. The toxic gas emissions are limited or even nullified with this process.
In order to make the most out of your exhibit investment, contact Prolab Digital at +1 (310) 846 4496. They can help you and your products stand out from the vast crowd of other exhibitors. ■