Conference Exhibits Can Be A Powerful Marketing Medium
In today’s economic climate, companies of all sizes are examining every outlay of finances to determine how they can get the most benefit for the least amount of expense in all aspects of their business. When it comes to finding leads, closing a sale, and general marketing of products and services to a target market, exhibiting at trade shows and conferences can be an extremely powerful marketing device, no matter how large or small an organisation may be. While larger companies definitely benefit from conference exhibits, smaller businesses actually benefit even more because the format of an exhibit levels the playing field for companies of all sizes. Potential customers at a conference have the opportunity to look directly at a company’s product and/or service and not at the hoopla that can surround a large marketing or advertising campaign.
Conference or trade show exhibits can be especially good marketing tools for smaller firms because the format in which these exhibitions are designed gives companies of all sizes the opportunity to represent themselves in a professional, sophisticated manner for a very affordable cost. Because of this, smaller companies are able to attract customers and clients through an exhibit that their marketing budget may not normally allow them to do.
As long as a business chooses conferences or trade shows that attract the people they want as clients, their target market will come to them. And, numerous face-to-face interactions with clients and potential clients can happen in one location over a period of one to three days, which is typically the length of most exhibits.
While exhibiting at conferences or trade shows, business owners and key employees also have the chance to personally interact with already established clients and suppliers, which is an excellent way to reinforce relationships or build new ones.
Most Common Reasons for Exhibiting at a Trade Show or Conference
As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” And, networking at a conference or trade show is a great way to get to know people who are in the same industry, whether they are other business owners, potential customers, or reference sources to new customers.
Generate Sales Leads–
Generally, the cost of generating sales leads can be expensive because of the advertising, marketing and travel involved in gathering information on prospective clients. At a conference or trade show, people who are interested in a company’s product can come to their booth, giving them the chance to generate a list of possible sales leads.
Make actual sales–
For most sales in a typical sales environment, a business generally incurs the cost of marketing and advertising to bring the buyer to them. When exhibiting at a trade show or conference, the overall marketing of the show is done by the organisation behind the conference, so the costs for any sales that a business makes during the conference are reduced to the cost of the booth, the people staffing the booth and the product or service they are selling.
Prospect for new customers–
Along with generating sales leads from potential customers, conference exhibits are also a good time to look for new markets or even a new market niche that a business might not yet have explored. Perhaps the other suppliers at the exhibit could be a potential niche market that a company hadn’t before considered or explored because of the cost of marketing involved. When a large variety of businesses are all in the same conference hall together, marketing costs to interact with these possible prospects becomes minimal.
Enhance image and visibility–
A small company typically does not have the budget for large marketing or advertising campaigns to establish a strong image or visibility. Trade show exhibits gives those same businesses a chance to do that at a considerably reduced fee. There may be a large market of potential customers who are not aware of the company and/or their products and services, and the increased visibility that the business can garner from a conference exhibit can get the attention of customers who are looking for exactly what they offer.
Reaching a niche market–
As long as a business selects conferences and trade shows that attract their target market and ideal clients, that company will be able to reach the people who want and need their products and services in an affordable and easy format.
Educate target audience–
If there is something about a company, product or services that a business would like to communicate to their target market, a trade show exhibit is the perfect solution for an inexpensive way to accomplish that task. The biggest advantage for using an exhibit as a means for educating a target market is because it gives businesses the opportunity to directly communicate with customers or potential customers at a much reduced cost compared to typical educational and marketing methods.
Establish a market presence–
If a company is new or relatively unknown in their industry, a trade show exhibit gives them the opportunity to make their company known with a relatively low financial output. A good display that can be used at a variety of exhibits throughout several years will usually cost the same or less than one advertisement in a publication.
Introduce new products and services–
If a business has a new product or service they want to announce, a conference or trade show is the ideal environment in which to do so. With thousands of people typically attending a trade show or conference, a business has a myriad of ways to communicate that information through handouts, demonstrations and giveaways at their booth plus any marketing opportunity that the show itself offers.
Pre-Planning is Essential for Reaping the Most Benefit from any Exhibit Opportunity
When it comes to marketing, flying by the seat of the pants is never a good idea and conference exhibiting is no exception. The more prepared a company is, the more benefits they will reap from the money that is spent to attend and exhibit. Here are some of the things that a business can do to make sure that their exhibit Euros are well-spent:
- At the beginning of each year, plan out the conferences or trade shows at which the company wants to exhibit. Choose the ones that will attract the company’s ideal target market.
- Take advantage of early registration, which usually has a discounted rate from the normal registration costs.
- Create an agenda of what can be accomplished during the show. Are there suppliers to connect with, other business owners to talk to, or a specific number of sales leads that a business wants to generate? Knowing what a company wants to accomplish will help owners and key employees plan their days at the conference so that they will be able to complete those tasks.
- Set up appointments in advance with any particular supplier or company that a business wants to connect with. Is there a potential customer that a company has wanted to connect with but their marketing budget or travel costs have prevented that from happening? Setting up a meeting during the conference can provide the wanted interaction within the professional setting that enhances the company’s credibility.
- Before attending the conference, a business should develop a follow-up plan of how their staff will take the leads and prospects that are gathered at the exhibit and turn them into customers for the company.
Exhibiting at a trade show or conference is one of the easiest and most affordable ways for developing or enhancing a company’s visibility with their target audience as well as reducing the amount of time and expense in converting a lead to a sale. Marketing is an essential part of running a successful business, and trade show or conference exhibiting is a strong utensil in a company’s tool belt of marketing options.
Paul Davis is an acknowledged Executive Confidante & Business Trainer who uses a unique and powerful blend of mentoring, coaching, and consulting, to achieve rapid results in the areas of Business Development & High Results Performance for Business Executives Globally. Contact Paul today to find out how he can help you with your business.