Exhibitions & Conferences 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.
Paul Davis FCMA CMC Davis Business Consultants, Business Development and Growth Specialist
hen 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
• Networking – 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/
risk manager magazine spring 2011