Despite its enormous and expanding success, the value of international trade expo’s is still muddled today by organizations who perceive participating at trade shows as a time-consuming burden that is only beneficial to medium-sized to large market stakeholders. In reality, when done correctly, trade shows are top-of-the-funnel heaven and have been a vital sales and marketing tool for centuries, providing an organic setting for B2B companies to connect with like-minded industry peers, meet leads, audit market trends, challenges, and competitors, receive feedback, educate, and have a good time.
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How to make the best of it?
Preparing for a trade show can be tough due of its importance and complexity, and small issues like undertrained employees, logistical difficulties, unrealistic goals, selecting the incorrect event, or ineffective marketing efforts can all be game-changers.
Although the digital channel has taken a larger share of business calendars in recent years (especially since the Covid pandemic), there’s nothing like genuine, face-to-face interaction to build professional expertise and grow clientele, especially since trade shows pique the interest of past attendees and pique the curiosity of new attendees due to their rich history.
Because you’ll be meeting wine, beer, and spirits importers, distributors, and retailers, as well as sommeliers, fellow exporters, the media, and possible leads, planning ahead of time is essential for a successful participation. With this in mind, making a solid first impression from start to finish is critical, and preparation begins earlier or later depending on the size of the show.
When choosing the trade show that best suits your company aims, knowing your offer and plan is essential. Consider how you want to design your booth, what marketing materials (brochures, testimonials, leaflets, business cards, etc.) to use, and what promotional plan, such as samples, workshops, discounts, giveaways, or other eye-catching gimmicks, will generate buzz around your brand.
After the event’s agenda has been finalized and the location has been confirmed, it’s time to inform people about your presence and invite them to visit your booth by creating a wow factor.
Use suitable additional web space, such as social media outlets or your blog section, to showcase your engagement and generate buzz, according to your strategy. Take advantage of your entry display in the exhibitors’ list by developing a memorable bio about your company, as most trade fairs have a website for the event.
During the show
Participating in a trade show provides you with a unique, additional sales channel, which is ideal for smaller businesses seeking exposure outside of the global retail channels dominated by large stakeholders.
Remember to shake hands with industry peers and take advantage of the atmosphere in which you can network and meet potential partners, clients, suppliers, and distributors since trade exhibitions bring relevant firms together under one roof.
Trade exhibitions are an excellent source of industry knowledge, allowing you to gain vital insight and learn about business trends, technology, marketing strategies, difficulties, and opportunities, all while keeping an eye on the competition.
Real-time feedback is something you should ask, answer, and listen to. Wine, beer, and spirits trade events allow for face-to-face actual human engagement, which provides a sharp learning curve for your business success.
Because trade shows are all about interacting with people and delivering value, most event agendas include speaker panels, workshops, or other interactive events for attendees, which allows exhibitors to participate and enhance brand exposure by sharing industry knowledge.
After the show, your mission does not finish. It’s now time to sit back and debrief your lessons learned, check on client and team feedback, see what worked and what didn’t, and track your progress toward your goals so you know what to do next.
Make sure you follow up with your leads and business partners with a “thank you for visiting” email after you’ve learned your lessons, but also make the most of the experience by sharing your opinions about the event with those who couldn’t attend.
The near-term outlook
Exhibiting at a trade show is still a serious business with a significant payout, especially for those who prepare ahead of time. Despite their complexity, the need to embrace new innovations and technology, and sometimes pricey nature, 75 percent of industry participants believe trade fairs have a bright future because of their unique ability to create contact between craftsmen and their clients.