IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MARKETING
Worldwide, trade exhibitions are growing at 10% per annum, making them the fastest growing marketing media, because they work in delivering better quality leads, than from any other source, that are faster and easier to convert to orders. Yet exhibitions are frequently misunderstood and totally under-estimated. Corporate South Africa largely see’s trade exhibitions as a necessary evil, rather than a viable and productive marketing tool that can be used to achieve annual sales objectives. The surprising fact is that most South African exhibitors are retailing at exhibitions – not marketing! They book a ‘shop’ (stand) in a specialized shopping centre (exhibition), dress it up, then wait for passing traffic to stop by.
You can tell if an exhibitor is retailing if:
- the exhibitor has not set multiple exhibition objectives
- 80 – 100% of their exhibition budget is spent on the design, construction and equipping of the stand
- there are few if any pre-show promotions (which alone could improve results by 300%!)
- on the stand, staff sit around chatting and reading newspapers
- no budget and resources have been allocated for lead management and post-show promotions – which is why 80% of trade show leads are never followed up.
Exhibiting is the most dynamic and direct form of marketing available. Research by the CEIR, Centre for Exhibition Industry Research in USA, shows that exhibiting can achieve most of your corporate marketing objectives:
Increase sales by generating more, better quality leads than from any other media
Launch a new product, enter a new market or promote for exports – exhibitions are the most effective media
Most exhibitors claim that their objective in exhibiting is to build the brand – yet this came second, in CEIR’s research, to advertising.
Considering that very few exhibitors have been trained in trade show marketing, it is a credit to the medium of trade exhibitions that they have shown spectacular growth in South Africa. If it’s all about the marketing, then it must be all about exhibitions!