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Choosing a Trade Fair - some basic tips

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by Startacus Admin

Trade fairs and exhibitions can be one of the best ways of promoting your business or craft and getting your name out there. The organisers of these fairs and exhibitions all tend to be experts in sales and marketing, trade fairpromoting their particular event as being the biggest, the best, the most unique or whatever. Deciding then which event to attend can be pretty difficult, since they all claim to be “the one” not to be missed. To help you decide if an event is right for you, we’ve put together some basic tips which should help you make your mind up...

Identify your ideal customer or client
If you’ve done your market research, you should already know the answer to this. You hopefully should have an ideal customer or client in mind for your product or service and have them in mind at all times. When looking at a trade fair, try and establish if this ideal customer is likely to be there. Trade fair organisers normally have detailed analysis of the types of attendees, the demographics, their preferences etc. If your ideal customer or client would not normally attend this type of event, why should you? Ideally you want to choose a trade fair attended by customers and clients who would really want your type of product or service. If on the other hand, you are looking to widen your market appeal, choosing a trade fair with potential new customers can be extremely worthwhile.

Local, national or international products or services
Many trade fairs are held on a regional basis, meaning that attendees are drawn entirely from one geographic area, whilst others are marketed at attendees on a national or even international level. Bear this in mind when choosing a trade fair. If your product or service is so niche and “local”, you are unlikely to benefit from attending a large scale national event. The reverse of course is also true. A product or service with an international target focus is unlikely to go down too well at a small local trade fair.

Do your own research
The thing to remember is that event organisers are there to sell and promote their events in the best light possible. Successes will be feted whilst any bad points or issues may be ignored. Rather than relying solely on the PR spin surrounding a trade fair, instead spend some time to do your own research. Look at industry or trade forums to see what previous attendees have said, ask some questions on your social media sites, approach previous attendees directly. You are more likely to get accurate and honest information from the other side of the table as it were than from those whose job is primarily to sell tickets and spaces.

Again, hopefully you will have identified who your competitors are as part of any market research that you have done. It is essential then to ascertain if those competitors are likely to be at a particular trade fair or not. Event organisers will be able to provide details of previous exhibitors and you can then weigh up if it is likely to be worthwhile. If the trade fair in question is deemed a ‘must’ by all your competitors, you would be foolish not to attend. The key thing however will be conveying your own USP to the attendees, thereby ensuring that you stand out amongst the competition.

Calculate all costs
When determining if a trade fair is going to be worthwhile, make sure that you calculate all the costs of attending. Most event organisers will promote the basic cost of having a stand but there are other added extras to take into consideration. For example, will you have to buy marketing materials, banners, flyers and promotional materials? Are there travel costs to consider as well as accommodation costs if the event is being held too far away to commute to? What about any lost earnings on the day when you exhibit? Will the money you outlay actually be a worthwhile expenditure in the long term? All these factors need to be taken into consideration when making your decision.

Hopefully these tips will help you when deciding if a trade fair is right for you and your product or service. Got any other tips on this? Why not share them over at the forum....

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Published on: 23rd October 2012

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