Trade fairs remain one of the most important communication tools, especially in B2B environments. So why do some companies still not consider taking part in trade fairs? The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e. V. - AUMA) has looked into this issue in some detail.
Reasons for not participating include costs, lack of time and staff and the amount of organisation involved. But how does participating in trade fairs benefit companies? Why should they still consider this tried-and-tested marketing tool, even now in the digital age?
1. Trade fairs as an innovation platform
Competition based on quality has dramatically intensified in recent years, along with the pressure to innovate, grow and succeed in the global economy. Trade fairs provide an ideal platform for demonstrating innovation and tackling competition head on:
- They create high market transparency due to the many competitors represented at industry trade fairs.
- Participants get a comprehensive picture of the range of products and services on offer as well as price/performance ratios and market trends, helping to steer them towards future business success.
- Cooperative arrangements can be formed with other companies.
2. Product presentations with a personal touch and hands-on experiences
For most companies, showcasing new products and services is the main benefit of taking part in trade fairs. Presenting products in person can boost sales success in many respects:
- All the senses can be appealed to, so that visitors enjoy an immersive event experience.
- By actively testing products at the trade fair, visitors can see for themselves their functionality and quality.
- Exhibitors can respond directly to customer queries and requests and impress with their expertise and passion.
- Offering both professional product presentation and hands-on product testing demonstrates a focus on the customer.
3. Retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones
The high numbers of visitors make trade fairs one of the most effective means of com-munication. With so many existing and potential customers clustered in one location, exhibitors benefit in a number of ways:
- This presents an opportunity to build on existing customer relationships and boost customer loyalty.
- Customer requests often crystallise from dialogue with visitors. This feedback is extremely helpful for improving products and services.
- The high number of potential customers makes trade fairs an efficient means of promoting your business with the aim of acquiring new customers.
- Face-to-face contact makes it easier for exhibitors to convince interested parties of their products and services and win new customers.
4. Attractive trade fair offers
One of the reasons companies most frequently give for not participating in trade fairs is the presumed expense involved. But few know that organisers have many attractive of-fers aimed especially at new exhibitors:
- Many organisers offer special packages for new exhibitors, such as lower stand prices.
- Apart from the discounts available, first-time exhibitors are usually offered a great deal of support as well. The organiser’s experience, especially in respect of organi-sational aspects, can be beneficial to a new exhibitor.
- If eligible, take advantage of state-funded programmes for trade fairs at home and abroad.
- According to an AUMA study, 22% of exhibitors manage to keep their budget under €10,000 and 7% under €5,000.
5. Increased exports
Participation in international trade fairs is important for export sales. This opens up a multitude of opportunities for exhibitors:
- Participation in overseas trade fairs cranks up exports. Companies need to spend more for the travel costs, but the benefits of an international presence are enormous.
- Trade fairs are an affordable way for small and medium-sized companies in particular to access international markets.
Trade fairs are a unique communication tool that will remain a key element in the marketing mix in the future.
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