Maximizing gains and benefits of participating in trade fairs and exhibition

In today’s globalized world, where businesses have crossed the frontiers of countries, trade fairs are playing a vital role in boosting trade activities of any organization or company in throughout the world. A trade fair or trade show or an exhibition is organized so that companies in a particular industry can showcase their items/services on a global map. Trade fairs can be categorized under 2 heads – Public and Trade only.

Public trade fairs, as the name itself suggests, are those fairs which can be attended by the public. Whereas trade only encompasses those fairs which can be attended only by company representatives and press members. All these trade fairs are organized for an enticing large number of visitors, exhibitors from different parts of the world. Now web trade shows are gaining huge popularity among people as these are organized online and do not require exhibitors or visitors to travel a lot for attending them. Thus it saves considerate amount of money, time and energy.

The reason for the popularity of Trade F airs is not far to seek. Ask any marketing guru what he/she considers the most important elements of any marketing drive and the answer will be

  • Ability to reach right target group
  • Ability to pitch right products to right buyers ‘
  • Opportunity to interact with actual buyers one-to-one and get feedback
  • Opportunity for Brand Building and PR exercise

Trade Fair – with all its accompanying difficulties and expensive nature – fulfill all these marketing goals. In specific terms – a well-organized trade show delivers following benefits:

  • Business lead generation – from buyers, distributors, agents
  • Market Intelligence – get competitor insights, market trends, innovation previews
  • PR Exposure – media, speaking opportunities, in-show awards
  • Opportunity to interact with various service providers, industry associations, logistics partners, marketing channels etc.

Knowing how a trade fair fits into your overall market strategy is important to working out specific benefits your product/company needs and select matching trade shows and display media.

Trade Fair as Communication Tool

When it comes to effectiveness (range) and efficiency, trade fairs are the communication tool of choice as they allow companies to interact with customers one-to-one and collect live market feedback.

Trade fair is a reflection of the physical world – a replica of an actual market in an easy to handle form. It brings representatives from the supply and demand sides of an industry together on the same platform for a limited period of time. It gives participants comprehensive market information and serves as a platform for business contacts.

At the same time, trade fairs allow companies to use the complete range of marketing tools that they have at their disposal. Instruments that promote sales – known as the marketing mix – related to product, price, and distribution and communication policy. When a company participates in a trade fair, all of these areas are simultaneously activated and focused on specific target groups.

Should You Participate in a Trade Fair  or Just Attend?

This is a very crucial question every business must address. If you are making initial forays into a target market and your main objective is to understand market dynamics, then simple attendance may be the right choice. In any case, it is most sensible to attend a trade fair several times before deciding to participate. There are several trade fairs directory to help you locate right fairs for your products.

However, if you already have some presence in a target market and plan to consolidate this market presence with more customers, agents, distributors, PR media etc. – then participation may yield rich dividend.

For example, if you have several customers in a target country, who are geographically dispersed – participation in a trade show may be a cost effective option as you are not only demonstrating commitment to the market, raising your profile and enjoying other benefits of exhibiting, but you are also potentially saving time and money from having to fly all over the country to meet your customers in their home territory.

Why go to a trade fair or trade show?

More customers, less time: A perfect opportunity to network, discover clients and generate new leads, trade shows serve as a specialized marketing tool designed to accelerate relationship building and sales by linking buyers, sellers, and other stakeholders from common industries.

Personal contact and receptivity: Live shows allow sellers to appeal to all a buyer’s senses when showcasing products or services and highlighting competitive advantages. The nature of a trade show provides a unique opportunity for the direct personal contact critical for building confidence and closing a sale. Buyers themselves are in an ideal state of receptivity as they are actively looking to take advantage of having multiple vendors in one place. They want to pose questions. They want to physically examine and experience both products and the people behind them. Shows can also be an excellent way to impress and attract investors or reconnect with existing clients and maintain a positive image.

Higher return on investment (ROI): Trade shows are an effective non-mass media tool to market your company and its products, new and existing. The African Global Competitiveness Initiative identifies trade shows as the most accessible best practice for connecting to new markets. Trade shows tend to exhibit higher rates of return than typically found with direct marketing and advertising which are primarily successful in cases where the industry is small, organized, and scarce in supply, or when the character of the consumer market is well understood. Think of it this way: one day spent at an exhibition provides access to more clients from more places than one could ever visit during a typical workday.

Study your market: consumers, competitors, and innovation: Simply being present is often a cost- effective way to perform market research, stay informed on industry trends, and check out the competition up close. It is also common for fairs to include workshops, training, seminars, trade talks, and other activities geared towards expanding the skills, capacity, and knowledge of participants. If you’re not ready for the investment involved in hosting a full exhibition, registering as an attendant will still give you the opportunity to make contacts and gather market intelligence.

How to make your trade fair exhibit booth standout

How do you stand out from your competition? This is the question that is constantly on the mind of the big players in any industry. Making your product, service, or company different and better than the rest of the competition is one of the keys to success, and at no time has it been more important than the day we’re living in.

Specifically, one area that demonstrates this concept perfectly is at a trade fair. When all of the major companies in an industry get together in the same place, they certainly want their trade show exhibits to stand out from the rest and really grab the visitor’s interest. So how is this done? There are a few tips for maximizing your exposure and creating the most interest at a fair.

  • Attention! Attention!

By far, the most important function of any trade show exhibit is getting attention from the visitor. Potential customers will be everywhere at the show, perhaps walking around aimlessly, and you want your display to grab them and pull them in so you can showcase your product. Your banners should have bright colours and easy-to-read lettering, as well as something unusual that the customer might not be expecting. For example, the most well-known trade fair in the electronics industry is E3, and a particular company might have someone dress up in a mascot costume and physically interact with visitors. This is a very effective way of getting attention with your trade show exhibits.

  • Make It Interesting

Once you have a strong hold on the customer’s attention, you need your product or service to actually be interesting and relevant to them. What makes your product different than the one at the next booth over? What unique feature or benefit does it provide? If you just have a boring, rehashed version of something, why should your customer buy from you? You’re essentially wasting your time by having nothing of interest.

As we have seen, trade show exhibits are the way that first impressions are made at a trade fair, and yours can either make or break any relationship you’re trying to establish with a visitor.


Trade fair is a formidable marketing option for any business, provided it is used most judiciously and after much deliberation. Careful planning and execution are essential for ensuring a healthy return from this sizable investment. No business can afford to rule out this marketing option, nor can it afford to adopt in haste.

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