Western Cape Business News

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MARKETING: It's All About Business Sense


Recent Western Cape Business News

EXHIBITIONS and events make for good business sense. Marketers have never had so many different types of media to choose from. Some may boast ‘interactivity’ - but nothing is more interactive than a conversation between people, show organisers argue.

No one would suggest that exhibitions should be the only medium in the marketing communications plan. But many would agree that exhibitions are the pinnacle of the marketing communication process - that they deliver direct to the audience while other media can only get you a step closer to personal interaction with real buyers.

Even a company that knows nothing about exhibiting would find it difficult to come away from a busy show without generating new business. After all, the business is right there, organisers proclaim.

But there are a few simple principles that any company can use to multiply the value of every exhibition in which they participate - exhibitors need to do a few simple things before, during and after each show. The following information is based on the collective experiences of dozens of marketers who have used exhibitions effectively for many years.

Preparing the ground. Spending time and planning strategies before an exhibition will pay big dividends when show time arrives. One must evaluate the available exhibitions, analyze the audience profiles and choose the right show for relevant marketing initiatives. Pre-preparation is the time to lay the foundations for success.

Set specific goals. Do you want to generate 200 sales leads? Launch your new product to customers, prospects and the media? The more specific and tangible the objectives are set, the better the chances of achieving them. How about meeting at least 25 qualified new prospects? Or finding three new dealers? Or handing out 5 000 samples? Exhibitions are versatile but you need to focus on your most important goals. Want to demonstrate your product to 250 top buyers? Make 40 new appointments? Test a new idea? Sell products directly from your stand?

Establishing specific, measurable goals is probably the single most important thing you can do before every exhibition, organisers say.

Plan the stand to meet the goals. Your stand location, design and activities should reflect what you hope to achieve.

Even if you have a company exhibition stand in storage, think about how you can tailor it to a specific audience. Be creative about your presentation and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Tell people why they should visit your stand. The simplest and most obvious tactic of all is to inform your existing customers of your participation in a show, invite them using a professional database and use selected media to inform prospective audience of the solutions you will be presenting, organisers advise.

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