Jose Tovar is the founder of Trade Show Explorer, a research firm based in London, UK. With over 15-years in the market research industry, Jose travels to the top trade events around the globe performing bespoke research projects for clients. His speciality is in consumer packaged goods and also offers marketing services to trade show exhibitors.
Here he gives some useful tips on how to make the most of a trade show.
Whether you've launched a new product or will be, exhibiting at trade shows offers a wealth of opportunities you shouldn't pass up.
As founder of Trade Show Explorer, I visit trade shows for a living. I specialise in bespoke research projects at global events. With over 15-years’ experience under my belt, I can confidently say there is a show for virtually any niche you can imagine.
So, what makes trade shows so special? The right shows offer access to buyers, decision makers, education, and a plethora of knowledge to gain from the products on display. But what makes them so unique is the networking opportunities, with people in your niche, all under one roof.
Where do you start? Before you even think about exhibiting at a show, you need to understand why you're doing it and where. Here are two crucial things to consider:
Have a game plan
First things first, you have to be strategic and map out why you want to exhibit at an event. Exhibiting at events isn't cheap, and the excitement of the show can turn to disappointment if your goals aren't clearly defined.
Some critical questions to ask include:
Is your goal brand awareness or to get sales leads? Or both?
If your goal to gain is brand awareness, how will you measure it?
If your goal is to sell, how many hot leads do you need, or how much do you need to sell to meet your target?
Once you've had a chance to map out your goals, the next step is to decide which show is the best one.
The Right Show
As I mentioned earlier, there is a show for virtually any type of product or industry. The trick here is to choose the right one.
In general, trade shows are categorised as trade-only or consumer events.
- Trade-only events are more exclusive and open to those in the industry. Because these events attract buyers and distributors, you have more to gain if you have an established product that is already selling. The primary purpose of exhibiting at these events is to procure sales leads for your offering. These events also attract press and media in your niche, giving you access to free publicity.
- Consumer events are more relaxed and open to the general public. They're great for market research and brand-awareness as the attendees are mainly general consumers. You can sell your product on the spot, which means you can see a return on your investment quickly. Those just launching a product can leverage consumer events for market research, to assess the response to your product.
Trade shows can seem daunting, especially for first-timers - this is normal. Make sure you know why you want to attend and where. And finally, don't wait for visitors to come to you, schedule meetings ahead of time, proactively approach visitors, and ask for feedback. In a crowded digital world, Trade Shows offer a unique opportunity to speak and meet your ideal client!
Jose was one of our successful clients who benefitted from the Enterprise Steps programme. Find out more about the programme here.