Most business owners consider the possibility of participating in the exhibitions that happen around the year to improve their sales and get new customers’ attention. Maybe you are considering it right now but there are just so many factors to consider. But before you start off preparing for that exhibition, have you considered whether the exhibition is right for you at all? Let me help you choose and decide whether you should do it at all.
Who does an Exhibition benefit?
Any Exhibition is meant to bring together businesses and their customers. Which means that you can always benefit from any kind of an exhibition. But is it worth the cost? Let us see. You need to choose the exhibition based on your industry. For eg. I own a business of natural bath & body goodies, so I need not register for an exhibition that sells south indian silks. This will narrow down the range for you.
What is your objective to participate?
Why do you want to participate in an exhibition? Do you want to make some extra cash? Find more customers? Whatever your reason, you need to be certain of the same. At an exhibition, you can:
- Find new customers who otherwise wouldn’t know about you
- Learn more about industry trends
- Find partnership or expansion opportunities
- Network with people in your industry
- Market your brand
- Get bigger order/clients for the future
- Launch new products
- Find what is working and what is not
If any of these are your objective, you will benefit from the exhibition irrespective of the monetary benefits.
The scale of the Exhibition
Some exhibitions are too big. And I don’t mean big in a way that it is famous and established, I mean the size of the exhibition is so huge that the customers cannot check the whole exhibition in one go. You stand to lose out customers this way. On the other hand, some exhibitions are so small, that they only have a handful of stalls. In this case, the customers might not visit or get bored on entering. The small and big is also relative. For a home baker, an international festival and the orders might be overwhelming on the other hand, for a designer, a local expo might be lackluster. You can do the following to ensure the exhibition you are participating in, is worth your money:
- Visit the venue at the earliest and ensure the size is up to the mark.
- Book your stall space near turns and crossings where it is the most visible
- Look at the kind of brands that are participating in the exhibition, they might give you an idea
Is it too expensive?
Most exhibitions charge per stall participation fees and some are complimentary as they charge from the customers. However, there are other costs to be considered as well. Consider the following costs and look at the total to see if you can afford the exhibition:
- Stall fees for the exhibition
- Decoration costs: Table cloths, visual aids, display material etc
- Marketing material: Pamphlets, visiting cards, standees, banners etc
- Packaging costs: Packaging material, boxes, wrapping paper, bags etc
- Gifts/complimentary items
- Staff salary at the stall
- If you are closing your shop for the exhibition, then the average sale for the time.
- Your time: Yes, calculate the time you spend in monetary terms
The hidden benefits (and shortfalls) of exhibition marketing
The biggest benefit of an exhibition is that it shakes things up, gives you a new perspective on things and tells you loudly about the factors that are working and the ones that are not. Think of exhibitions as unit tests. They give you a quick reality check in short intervals and inspiration to improve. Some hidden benefits of participating in the exhibition are:
- You have access to amazing thought leaders in your industry. It is an opportunity to learn and grow.
- There is no vying for customers here, exhibitions give you customers on platter, all you have to do is ensure you have a great product and good marketing skills.
- Many times it happens that a customer checks you out in an exhibition before giving you huge contracts, it is a great place for exposure.
- As exhibitions are highly concentrated consumer platforms, it doesn’t require too much money to set up shop, you save a lot of time and money if done correctly.
As with the benefits, there are several shortfalls that come with the exhibition marketing too:
- Exhibition marketing is not a one man job. As opposed to your place of business, the stall needs to be set up and maintained, multiple clients need to be attended to, and you need to run around constantly. You need a team for this.
- If you are a small business, chances are that you will have to close down your shop for the time of the exhibition, this may lead in lost opportunities and costs.
- New businesses, when starting up are not equipped with the right marketing mix, for them it is difficult to attract a crowd at the exhibitions. However, this can be prevented by proper preparation and advice.
So Ladies, I hope you have your answer. To sum it up, Yes you should participate in exhibitions but you need to be very picky about them as they can only be profitable if you plan ahead and choose wisely. Let me know in the comments if you are participating in any upcoming exhibitions.