It’s a rare business that has too many customers, and doesn’t want more – and exhibitions are a tried tested way of not only adding to the customer list, but also a great way to keep the conversation going with the ones you’ve already got.
The question is – which Exhibition(s) ?
You’ve probably got a good idea in your mind about what the ‘ideal’ prospective customer looks like. So how do you go about finding the events he/she is likely to attend?
Probably the easiest place to start is with existing customers or prospects. Simply ask them about exhibitions that they have been to or that they’ve thought about attending. Conversations with clients is seldom a waste of time and in conversation you’ll quickly establish the names of events that could be possible candidates.
Many exhibitions are audited in much the same way as printed media, so you’ll be able to gauge the quality and volume of their visitors to your requirements. Contact the event organiser and ask them to supply a breakdown of the audience attending previous events and their expectations for attendance and demographics for the particular show that you’re interested in.
Who Else is Exhibiting
If your competition attend a specific exhibition, then it’s probably a good clue that you need to be there too – but just because they don’t attend a particular event, doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t be there. Quite the opposite might be the case, and you may be able to gain an advantage by being there.
Who is the Organiser?
If an organiser is long established and a member of a relevant trade association then you can probably be sure that it will be well organised and deliver what is expected. That said, the world is constantly changing and their may be an opportunity for a new entrant to discover a new opening – you’ll need to assess the risks, and balance these against potential advantages.
Location, Location, Location
An exhibition is an ideal way to target a specific geography. There is a limit to how far people will travel to attend functions – so an exhibition is a great way to get to meet face to face with customers in a particular area. And your presence at a particular location is an excellent way for you to demonstrate your commitment which clients can find
reassurance and comfort.
Make a checklist
Make a list of all the shows you think you might find useful, and compare them. Look at each in turn an try and establish basic information on each.
Industry segment(s). Which industry area does the show target?
Size: What is the events expected footfall?
Area: How big is the total floor area?
Demographics: What’s the attendee profile like ?
Exhibitors: How many others are likely to be there?
Competition: Will your competitors likely to attend? If so, Who?
Publicity: Where/How will the exhibition be publicised?
Fit: Does this event fit with my other marketing plans?
Putting together this information you should be able to assess each potential trade show based on how well they meet your marketing objectives.
Don’t Break the Bank!
Above all else. Be realistic. Will the event show a reasonable return on both capital expenditure and time spent organising, attending and in follow up to justify us being there? If it’s easy to answer the question, then don’t be afraid to make the correct decision. If – as is mostly the case – its more difficult to be sure, then take comefort from the fact that deciding either way probably won’t be too detrimental if you don’t make the ‘right’ choice!!
It might pay to take your time and, rather than attending an event as an exhibitor, you might like to try going along as an attendee. Freed from the pressure of funding and organising your own presence you’ll be able assess if the audience matches the one you’re looking for and if the event is likely to help you achieve your objectives.