Spielwarenmesse: Visitor marketing – Simple strategies for winning new customers at a trade fair

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Visitor marketing – Simple strategies for winning new customers at a trade fair

from Spielwarenmesse eG

The goals of trade fair exhibitors are always influenced by visitor expectations. But what do customers really expect of an exhibitor and a visit to a trade fair? The success of a trade fair participation is entirely in the hands of the exhibitor. We have put together a few tips to help you as an exhibitor with your visitor marketing.

A look at visitor surveys tells us what trade visitors to the Spielwarenmesse® in Nuremberg are looking for. The reasons most frequently stated by trade visitors in 2015 were:

  • looking for new trends and products
  • initiating new business contacts
  • general market orientation
  • cultivating and maintaining business contacts
  • expanding knowledge

This information can help exhibitors to align their goals with visitor expectations in advance and attract attention to their own stand.

Discovering new trends and expanding knowledge

Visitors to a trade fair are primarily seeking information about new products and trends. And they want to see where markets are going. A good idea in this connection is a guided tour at your stand during which new products are presented. Customers also want exclusive information about products. Exchange of experience and information is another of the top priorities for trade fair visitors.
Trade visitors also want to expand their knowledge at a trade fair. Although the Toy Business Forum offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about the toy industry, it is also helpful if exhibitors give visitors to their stands detailed information about products or even organise little product training seminars.

Don't forget that visitors want to buy

Trade fair customers expect additional advantages from their visit to a fair, for example special trade fair discounts. If customers make the effort to go to a trade fair they also want special discounts and extra products or POS materials. These giveaways can be the key to negotiating and concluding successful contracts at the fair. Even if visitors do not come with the sole aim of buying at the fair, many dealers see the Spielwarenmesse® as a way of preparing for purchases afterwards. According to a secondary analysis made in 2014 by AUMA (Association of the German Trade Fair Industry), 41 % of all trade visitors said that they definitely went to trade fairs with the intention of buying.

Visitor marketing before the fair

Exhibitors can start boosting customer satisfaction in the run-up to the fair. Admission vouchers that give visitors free entry to the fair are very popular, for example. Since they are usually available in electronic format, they can be integrated into e-mail marketing very easily and at very little cost. Exhibitors can obtain vouchers from the trade fair organisers and customers can either redeem the vouchers when they register online in advance or simply exchange them for admission tickets on the day at the trade fair box office. Exhibitors are only charged after the fair for vouchers actually redeemed. At the Spielwarenmesse® the first 10 redeemed vouchers are even free.

Customers are also grateful for info-packages containing flyers, site plans of the exhibition grounds and other useful information for a visit to the trade fair. These are best sent by letter post together with a visitor invitation since this gives exhibitors the chance to present their target groups with something they can actually see and feel. The package could also include vouchers for admission tickets, as mentioned above, vouchers that can be exchanged for a gift at the stand, lottery tickets or other perks such as free parking or free use of the cloakroom.

Apart from giveaways and vouchers, these packages can also serve to promote corporate identity, making the company and brand more tangible, and consequently increasing customer awareness and strengthening customer relations. Do not forget, however, that letter post may take a few days. Campaigns such as these should be planned and implemented well in advance.

Develop and strengthen business relations

Cultivating and developing business relations is also an important goal for trade visitors. It is therefore extremely important that the right representatives of the exhibitor are present at the fair. It must be possible to arrange appointments for meetings even if this was not agreed in advance. Targeted preparations and contact before the fair can be a great help in this context. The Spielwarenmesse® offers a "Matchmaking" service, for example, where exhibitors and trade visitors can contact each other before the fair.

Additional events such as shows and interactive presentations or evening events are other ways of strengthening customer relations. These offer a platform where exhibitors and trade visitors can talk to one another in an informal setting. Welcome gifts - that have a connection to the fair or the company - as well as refreshments for visitors to the stand also attract attention.

Follow-up the fair promptly

After the fair it is extremely important to maintain the new business relations that have been acquired. A letter of thanks with more information material is one way of rounding off the trade fair. This may differentiate your company from the direct competition.

Are you looking for specific ideas for your visitor marketing? Webinars and checklists can help you to prepare for your trade fair appearance. More information about customer invitations is available for exhibitors here.

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