So with all these people involved, it begs the question: Are trade exhibitions still worth the investment for a manufacturer or distributor of construction products, or just a costly flag-waving exercise?
A large trade exhibition doesn’t just take a week out of a company’s time; it is a huge investment of people time and finance.
The preparation of a successful show takes months: selecting the space and position; design of the stand; deciding on your objectives and key messages, writing the copy; design of any graphics; creating any necessary new literature; arranging electrics and stand services; completing reams of paperwork; organising promotions; inviting customers and prospects; organising travel, accommodation and stand personnel; building of the stand; coordinating everything with product launches, printing of literature; arranging giveaways, sales samples and demonstrations for the stand as well as maximising the press coverage of your presence. After all that comes the break down of the stand and then dealing with requests for information and following up all the leads post show. It is tiring just thinking about it!
Stands become a sales and marketing team’s 'home' for the week and some stands can cost almost as much as a small house itself - perhaps they should be included in the UK housebuilding figures!
Any responsible marketer has to think carefully about their show strategy: which show to exhibit at, what to promote, how to maximise the number and type of people visiting the stand. You cannot just expect the show to be a success, otherwise the expense should perhaps be used elsewhere.
There are many questions to consider when deciding whether to exhibit:
- Do we need to be there to enhance our profile and reputation?
- Can we reach people we wouldn't normally be able to see?
- Is the opportunity to bring people to us and actually show them our product a major benefit?
- Would we have got these leads anyway?
- Could we have spent this money better elsewhere?
- Can we afford to have our sales team off the road for a week?
- Do we actually have anything new and interesting to say?
- Can we now reach people just as effectively with all the opportunities the Internet provides?
- Does it fit in with our business strategy and objectives?
- Will we put as much time and effort in post-exhibition as we do into organising it?
And there are many, many more which will keep Sales and Marketing Managers' brains active for weeks during planning and budgeting time.
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We would like to gain your view as Sales, Marketing and Management professionals of construction products, manufacturers and distributors, whether you feel that exhibitions still play an important part in your sales and marketing strategy in 2013.
Please vote and comment.