Tradeshows are becoming of more importance in many organizational communications mix. Behind advertising, tradeshows account for one fifth of total marketing communications budget in the US and approximately one-fourth of the budget for European firms (Gopalakrishna, Lilien, Williams & Sequeira, 1995 & Jacobson, 1990).
This report will analyze why tradeshows are becoming a more utilized marketing tool and how it contributes to achieving organizational objectives. The analysis will be broken up into two major sections, the first will analyze the strategic significance of trade shows for sustainable competitive advantage and the latter half will explore the guidelines to exhibiting a good trade show.
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There are two main types of trade shows that organizations can participate in, and these are horizontal and vertical. A horizontal trade show exhibits a wide variety of products. An example of this is the Hamburg Fair, which exhibits everything in consumer and industrial goods. The other is a vertical trade show, which is product specific; it may be limited; for example, to medical, computer or electronics. Electronica is an example of a vertical trade show held each year in Munich to display the latest electronics (Kane, 1989).
According to the Trade Show Bureau (TSB) (1994), the number of tradeshows exhibited in USA and Canada between 1989 and 1994 grew from 3289 – 4316, the number of attendees rose from 60 – 85 million and the number of companies from 1.0 –1.3 million. The TSB projects a 35% growth in trade show activities for the late nineties to the early 2000’s for the US and Canada and 15% for Asia (Chowdhury, 1998). In 1994, the TSB estimated that over USD 53 billion were spent directly on trade shows and this excluded planning costs and overhead allocations. Kerin & Cron (1987) predicts that most corporate firms will allocate up to 25% or more of their average annual advertising and sales promotion budgets to this promotional activity. With these large expenditures, the question that beckons is “ are trade shows budgets accountable?”
Bonoma (1983) viewed tradeshow and promotional budgets as a reactive marketing tool representing an inertia habit, that is, using last year’s activities budgets and updating that budget to reflect this year’s activities. The idea being “Our competitor will be there and our image reputation will be damaged if we don’t show.” This view is fiercely debated by Slywotzky and Sharpiro (1993); McDermott (1993) and Tanner & Chonko (1992) who view marketing expenditures such as tradeshows as investments and a systematic approach to gaining a competitive edge. Bottom line managers are observing and demanding accountability by the asking the important question: Do Trade Shows pay Off? The answer to this question will hopefully become self-explanatory as the benefits of tradeshows are discussed
Before the benefits of trade shows are discussed, it is important to understand the role tradeshows facilitate and where it fits in corporate marketing communications strategies. The latest trend in corporate strategies is value adding (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2000; Hill, 1997; Ansoff & McDonnel, 1999; Fletcher & Brown, 1999 and Mone, McKinley & Barker 1998). Take the pharmaceutical industry for example; the functions with the largest gross margins are not in the traditional intermediates and bulk substances, but rather in the new chemical entity and drug discovery. Below is a diagram underpinning how value adding contributes to higher profitability:
Trade shows exhibited by companies are no different, its role to add value to the marketing strategies. The idea of value adding is emerging across many different industries, not just pharmaceuticals, for example Acer proactively seeks methods of value adding through their distribution channels and e-commerce to designing their own software and CPU.
Trade shows are exhibited to value add to the marketing mix, it achieves this objective by:
- Identifying new prospects
- Servicing current customers
- Introducing new products
- Selling at shows
- Enhancing corporate image
- New product testing
- Enhancing corporate morale
- Gathering competitive information
(Kerin & Cron, 1987; Penaloza, 2000, Zappaterra, 1999; Darby, 1998; Bendow, 1992 and Oliver, 1993)
Through the sheer number of attendees, trade shows are an excellent frontier for prospecting new clients. Although scholars disagree on the range of attendees, the estimates range from 85 –150 million globally. Companies that do not scan and qualify for new customers will face significant financial challenges in the near future (Bryant, 1994; de Costa, 1995; Raton & Geraldi, 1997 and Cobb 1992). A company that continuously and proactively seeks outs new clients will always have a competitive advantage over their competitors who do not.
This competitive advantage can be used to create a market entrance barrier and lockout potential and new competitors (Jain, 2000; Porter 1980 and Wheelen and Hunger, 2000). An example of a company which understands this principle and the functionality of trade shows is Nippon Electric. This company uses trade shows for identifying new major account prospects, which are later, funnelled to the sales force, through this process, Nippon Electric is, in essence, is able to lock out competitors and increase profitability by 10% per annum (Clever, 1992).
Tradeshows are also an excellent chance for the company to engage in industry-related networking. Networks have as long been regarded as a key resource for companies (Jarillo, 1998; Atkins and Lowe, 1994 and Birley & Westhead, 1990), the industry trend which is emerging is strategic networking, which is sharing key competencies’ knowledge with strategic partners (Jarillo, 1988 and Miles & Snow, 1992).
Through networking, the first step of relationship development can occur. Clark, Hayes and Lorenz (1985) and Bracker and Pearson (1986) identified countries such as Japan and China for example, as countries that prefer to develop a “trusting relationship” before a transactional one. Through tradeshows, the company has the chance to “break the ice” and build the foundations of a possible long-lasting mutually beneficial relationship (Jarillo, 1988; Birley, 1985 and Ring and Van de Ven, 1992).
Another role that tradeshows facilitate is the servicing of current customers. Many scholars agree on the concept of lifetime value, that is, a successful company will realize that a lifetime customer is worth 10 fold the largest single transaction (Clarkson, 1995; Starik, 1994 and Waddock & Graves, 1998).
Through tradeshows, companies can engage in servicing not just their customers but also all their other important stakeholders such as suppliers, financial institutions and employee and so forth. Through careful event selection and product planning, a firm can utilize trade shows to communicate its message to the right people about the right products services at the right time of the buying cycle (Kerin & Cron, 1987, Bellizzi & Lipps, 1984)
Introducing or testing a new product or product concept has always been a popular reason for exhibiting at trade shows. Researchers have recognised that customers undergo a complex purchase decision process in which consumers have different informational needs (Wind & Thomas, 1994, Gopalakrishna et al., 1995; Neal, Quester & Hawkins, 1999 and Cullen, 1999). Since tradeshows are a mix of direct selling and advertising, it can create awareness in the consumer’s mind. Hence when the time arises when the prospects move closer to the purchase or supplier selection process, the company that is exhibiting will be in the prospects’ awareness set and more information search on that company will be more likely to occur (Gopalakrishna et al., 1995; Berman, 1992 and McMaster, 2001).
Connoisseur, the maker of premium ice cream uses the Royal trade shows around Australia just to introduce their new flavours of ice cream. In 1998, for example, the company introduced the flavour “Macadamian Mambo” in its Connoisseur range at all Royal shows. The launch included free sampling and market research at the show proved invaluable, it was able to gauge the acceptance of the new flavour, and as a consequence, this new flavour has made it in the top five most liked flavours in the Connoisseur range (Jackson, 2001).
The most frequently given explanation by senior management as to the reasoning for exhibiting at tradeshows is to sell (Hatch, 1998; Brooks, 2000 and Cobb, 1993). According to Berman (1992), trade shows offer ad sales people more face-to-face contact per hour than any other sales vehicle, the Centre of Exhibition Industry Research claims that the company can save 45% of the cost of making a typical field sales call by selling from a trade show.
Many scholars view this function of tradeshow to be only small potential of what it can really achieve (Dekimpe, Francois, Gopalakrishna, Lilien, & Van den Bulte, 1997; Bendow, 1992; de Costa, 1995 and Kerin & Cron, 1987). These scholars believe that tradeshows should be used in conjunction with other promotional communications mix to develop a long-lasting relationship, hard selling at the trade will likely push potential clients away rather than attracting them. Hard selling will give the image that the company exhibiting is in financial trouble and needs to clear stock quickly, this is a bad image and the company will be labelled the “sales piranhas” (Berman, 1992).
Successful companies that are a success are always conducting external scanning, and tradeshows can be one avenue that can assist in this process. Tradeshows are excellent for sourcing out what’s “new and hot” in the industry. Through the determination of industry trend, the company can monitor what their competitors are doing and how to retaliate if necessary (Gopalakrishna et al., 1995; Berman, 1992 and McMaster, 2001).
The last role that trade show facilitates is helping the exhibitor create corporate entity and staff morale. The company’s booth will reflect the company’s image. Having a well-organized and lively booth will enhance the corporate image, since the potential clients has first hand view and touch or taste of the booth, they will have a better understanding of what the company does (Brooks, 2000; Plachta, 1989 and Marken, 1995). Trade show also gives the staff a chance for an outing, this will allow them a chance to show off their knowledge, and certain staff members do enjoy the limelight and hence boost their confidence and morale as a result (Dekimpe, et al., 1997; Bendow, 1992; de Costa, 1995 and Marken, 1995)
Trade shows do offer many benefits, but usually at a high cost (Braziller, 1993; Bryant¸ 1994; de Cost, 1995; Cobb, 1993 and Marken, 1995). The broad guidelines to ensure that trade show budgets produce results are:
- Setting objectives
Setting objectives for the trade show is pivotal to its success. It is important for the trade exhibitors to understand what they want to achieve at the show. These results may be in the form of maybe creating awareness, personal selling, market testing, whatever the objective, it should be quantifiable and concise. Zappaterra (1999) reports that this is the main reason for trade shows budgets being viewed as ineffective is because its objectives clash with different organizational functions.
For example, the sales department will judge the effectiveness based on the number of leads, whereas the marketing department is based on long-term objectives such as brand development, and relationship building. Where there is a plethora of competing views, the organization will find it difficult to extrapolate anything meaningful during the post-show analysis (Zappaterra, 1999; Kane, 1989; Berman, 1992 and Simons, 1998).
Well before the exhibit, the company should conduct research. The first question the organization should be asking is who is attending, the organization should then acquire or buy a list of attendees; many shows organizers will either give or sell their list as incentives for exhibiting. This gives the exhibitor an idea of who is attending and how to contact them. The next step the organization should take is qualifying these attendees and contacting them before the show. Sending customized letters or personal invitation makes the potential prospect feel important, but more importantly, during the hectic periods of the trade show, it ensures that the company is dealing with its target market client.
The last important method to ensure promotional budget accountability is through preparation. Simons (1998) proposes that booth personnel get together with product managers and other executives in the know about the products services being displayed and brainstorm every possible conceivable question that could arise from the showroom floor.
This will ensure creditability. The next step is to create that “buzz” at the company’s booth, the booth attendees should be energetic and high approachable, Berman (1992) highlights that the company has only 10-15 seconds to capture the attention of the attendees before moving on the next booth.
The main focus of this part literature search is on the bird’s eye view on the important aspects of effective trade shows. There are many little “knitty-gritty” procedures related to tradeshows that are not covered in this literature review, but there sources such as trade publications and marketing trade consultants who specialize in this form of promotion.
Trade shows are often viewed as a wasteful company expense; they consume much valuable company resources such as mailing, telemarketing, contests, presentations and demonstrations and the list continues. However, if the groundwork is properly laid, the booth will be no less than a living, breathing, the three-dimensional embodiment of the corporate identity.
Name & Contact Details of Interviewee
Mr Joe Thung
Interview date: Thursday 27th September 2001
Contact: 9455 1133
Pisconeri Fine Foods Pty Ltd
Mr James Peter De Leo
Interviewed date: Tuesday 2nd October 2001
Contact: 9242 1588
C.N.A. International Imports and Exports
Mr Chin Qin
Interviewed date: Friday 21st September 2001
Contact: 9459 9708 or 0401133035
South Seas Trading Pty Ltd
South Seas Trading Pty Ltd has been trading for the last thirty-two years. The company started out with two brothers wanting to start a business and seeing an opportunity in the wholesales market to provide packaging containers and related items. With limited knowledge on the import and export skills, they decided to start and gradually grow. The company still is owned and operated by the same brothers who started out the company thirty-two years ago. South Seas Trading has established itself as a wholesaler of imported packaging goods.
The company now holds a variety of accounts ranging from small to corporate clients. At the moment their major client is Dawsons, both in a regional and metropolitan area. South Seas Trading has been supplying to Dewsons and similar clients with packaging containers, examples of this include ‘chicken carry bags’ that the supermarket utilizes when selling their roast chicken to customers, these bags keep the chicken warm and moist.
Other packaging containers include the cake containers, which are used by the bakeries to store and keep their cakes fresh. South Seas also services many restaurants and eateries that require containers for ‘take away’. The company also wholesales mainly packaging products, but they also carry a variety of catering items like foils, plastic wraps, bag tapes, bag tags and etc.
South Seas Trading is dedicated to servicing the local business with plans of expanding into the international market.
Pisconeri Fine Food And Wine Merchants Pty Ltd
Pisconeri was established as a café and coffee wholesaler in 1952 it was not till late sixties that the company was incorporated and wholesale in fine foods and wines and beverages. The Pisconeri family first founded the company and has since succeeded by the next generation, till today the company is owned and operated by the Pisconeri family.
The company employs approximately twenty staff plus a board of directors that consists mainly of the Pisconeri family. Pisconeri Fine Foods currently imports fine food and wine from overseas and wholesale to retail outlets. They do export to other regions of the world especially with fine foods. Some examples of such are the exotic range of olive oils, varies selection of delicate chocolates, unique selection of fermented wines and etc.
Pisconeri Pty Ltd prides itself on being price competitive and instilling a high level of quality service throughout all their operations. The owners and operators of the company are dedicated to understanding the uniqueness of the business by both working in the business and managing the company.
C.N.A International Import And Export Co.
C.N.A International Import And Export Co. specializes in importing unique gift and collector figurines. The business was established five years ago in 1996 with only the indention of helping out a friend. The proprietors of the business are a husband and wife team, both started out no import and export knowledge. The business started off with the intention of helping a friend in China test the Australian market for this novelty product. As it turned out, Australia proved to be a viable market; the husband and wife team took on the challenge of being a wholesaler and distributor for these unique gift lines. The company now buys directly from one of China’s largest manufacturing plant and has patient rights in Australia for the distribution of these gift wares.
C.N.A. holds a variety of accounts across Australia, mainly with independent retail stores and distributors. The buyers of these products are mainly general gift stores or collectors item store some are pharmacies too.
The company has not expanded since its opening, this is because the business is a secondary income earner for the couple. Each financial year, the business receives renewed orders from existing clients, the reason for this being each year the era of the figurines change, that is first year it could be medieval and the second might be caveman.
C.N.A. prides itself on constantly carrying a unique line of products that is updated regularly, coupled with being price competitive.
Study and analysis of respondents answer to questionnaires.
South Seas Trading Pty Ltd.
Response from Mr Joe Thung (Director) from South Seas Trading, understanding and analyse trade show relevance to this company.
At the moment South Seas Trading only imports and does not as yet export. They have been importing from Asia for the past thirty-two years. South Seas Trading has both being attending and setting up booths at trade shows, mainly in Western Australia. The company is a member of the FAL (Food and Liquor Association). The reason South Seas Trading (SST) chooses FAL is because it is industry relevant. FAL provides support to businesses engaging in the retail-supermarket business. SST is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce. By being a member, SST benefits from the support that the chamber offers; the benefits include setting a web presence, business plans and so forth.
SST participated in setting up a stand in last years FAL show. They choose to start engaging in trade shows because they realized that members with the FAL was their target market. SST wanted to expose their current and new product lines at the show, at the same time wanting to increase awareness for the company within the food and liquor industry and being able to meet new prospects.
At the end of the trade fair, SST had achieved its objectives of gaining increased awareness; they also received inquiries about their new and existing product line, plus the introduction of ten prospects that turned into clients. SST had spent approximately $5000 in setting up a stand for trade show; this amount was spent based on a joint rational decision made by the directors. Even though SST has no fixed promotional or marketing budget as such, they are quite flexible if there is an opportunity to achieve the business growth and recognition.
SST’s greatest or main achievements when participating at the show is sourcing prospects and converting them to clients.
SST did not hire outside expertise to help them with setting up at the trade show, this is because the association with FAL and Chamber of Commerce offered basic help and they felt it was sufficient, plus the additional benefit of saving money. During the trade show, the directors felt that the staff attending the booth needed to possess absolute knowledge of the products, so much so they decided to exhibit at the show themselves. The directors had extensive knowledge of the product range but lacked experience in exhibiting. They did not seek formal training, and felt it was just a matter of “monkey see monkey do”.
The effectiveness of the trade shows was measured by the number of people stopping and inquiring about their products at their stand. This was further deduced to whether any new prospects from the show were converted to a client.
There was a great amount of promotional brochures used at the show, ranging from general catalogues to specific product sheets and samples. At ending of trade shows, all leads and prospects are followed up extensively.
Though the trade shows increased the number of clients, it did not have a large financial impact on the company. There was only an increase of 5% of sales; this is directly attributable from exhibition.
There was only one direct competitor at the show. This did not affect SST because its objective was to promote awareness rather than hard selling.
The directors felt that the trade show has a positive affect on the company and will remain to use trade shows as a form of promotion. Due to the position and size of SST, the directors intend to keep the company local and are not interested in entering a joint venture with other companies to promote their services in other countries.
Pisconeri Fine Foods And Wine Merchants PTY Ltd.
Response from Mr James Peter De Leo (wine manager) from Pisconeri fine Foods And Wine Merchants, understanding and analyze trade show relevance to this company.
Pisconeri started exporting coffee and fine foods in late 1960’s, and has been attending both national and international trade shows. They are members of the FAL (Food and Liquor Association). The past five years, the company have participated in several trade shows, these include, the FAL trade shows, the Burswood Food and Wine, and Liquor and Fine Wine. Pisconeri choose these trade show to partake in because they wanted to gain awareness amongst their target market.
The main objective for exhibiting was to further expose the company’s name and the services provided, in addition to demonstrating the product range and reinforce their commitment to price and service to their current and prospective clients.
Pisconeri’s other objective for exhibiting to maximize their sales level. This is achieved by obtaining a quantity of genuine leads, and rigorously following them up and through these systematic follow-ups, this yielded bonus and other wise unexpected sales.
Pisconeri does not have an allocated promotional budget; their spending on trade shows is based on whether the company will be receiving new stock for the next financial year. From past experiences, the average account for trade shows range from $2000 to $3000 per show.
The directors believe it is not cost effective hiring professionals to set up the trade show; this is because between them, they encompass a great deal of experience in attending and participating in trade fairs. The directors believe that the staff need to minimal knowledge about setting up, but rather concentrate on specific product related information. At the exhibit there will always be a senior manger representing Pisconeri, this has a two-fold advantage. The first is due to the nature of the business where answers and decisions need be made on the spot. The second is a mark of respect to the prospects, if the client has traveled a distance to be at the show, then the directors feel as though they owe a duty of care to be there.
Pisconeri measured the effectiveness of the trade shows by conducting a post show analysis, this consists of the customers’ awareness of their products and services over an allocated period of time. Pisconeri also considers the number of “warm” leads made at the show as a sign of success; the more leads, the more successful and vice versa. However cold leads are followed up on as well through personal mail out and brochures.
During the past exhibitions there were generally three to five competitors, so the competition to attraction is high. The company combats this problem by offering colorful brochures and on sight sampling.
Pisconeri has found trade shows to be an ineffective form of promotion. The show has little affect or impact on the company, the result and achievements poor, thus Pisconeri has decided that the use of trade shows will be kept to a minimum.
Even though the domestic trade show did not produce results, Pisconeri is still optimistic about entering a joint venture with other companies to participate in an international trade show or overseas trade fair. The motivation behind this is that Pisconeri is still interested in expanding their export markets.
C.N.A. International Import And Export Co.
Response from Mr Chin Qin (Director) from C.N.A. International Import And Export, understanding and analyze trade show relevance to this company.
C.N.A. only imports and do not export, they have been importing for the past five years. C.N.A. is a member of the Australian Gifts And Housing Association (AGHA). C.N.A. has taken part in participating in majority of the trade shows held by the trade association. The reason C.N.A. has chosen AGHA because the other members of the association are in a related industry.
C.N.A. started to exhibit because it was the only efficient way of generating new clients. For every show the company expects to generate new leads and sales, the outcome of the trade shows matches with the desired objectives that needed to be achieved. In each trade shows the objectives are achieved, but the scale of each objective is define mainly based upon the amount of sales in monetary terms.
The average money spent at the trade show would be $3000; this includes buying booth space and shelves. Because C.N.A has no set promotional budget, 100% or their promotional money would be spent on trade shows, as this is the main income generator method for the company. From these monies spent C.N.A. would recover it from sales made during an allocated period of time.
The owner felt that there was no need for expert help on setting up in the trade show, as this would occur additional costs. Because this is a small business it is very important that they watch their expenditure, they have to cut down on costs where possible. This would mean that they have no staff and would exhibit at the show themselves. Both the husband and wife has little experience in the past about setting up at the show, now they have a great knowledge from experience, the important factors to them is the fact the senior manager owner should be their and talk to the prospects showing a thorough understanding of the products.
The success of the trade show would be measured by the amount turned over during the show that is how much was sold during the show.
Promotional brochures were used during the exhibition, this included product range and prices of each selection. Because C.N.A. details is on the brochures, there is no need to follow up on the leads afterwards. The other reasons for this is because in the past leads were followed up but no sales were made, the exercise proved to be unsuccessful.
The trade show have a large impact on the company as, every trade show C.N.A needs to generate an amount of sales in order to be successful. The trade show is a core component for the success of the company because C.N.A. relies solely on trade shows in order to generate sales.
There were no competitors at the show as C.N.A. carries due to the fact that the company has sole rights to the selected line of figurines and the only distributor in Perth.
C.N.A is only a small business that that generates extra side line income for the husband and wife team; there is no great concern to grow the company more then where it is at the moment. Thus C.N.A would not consider a joint venture with any other companies to exhibit overseas.
Analysis of Respondents answer to Questionnaires
Trade show has become one of the popular methods on marketing the company’s product and services these days (Gopalakrishna, Lilien et al., 1995 & Jacobson, 1990). Each company, which are exporting and importing appears to be attracted to join trade show. However, indifferent attitudes towards this promotional tool results the different reasons and executions of trade shows.
Even though trade show can be used as an entry modes for overseas market, in fact, many companies, named South Seas Trading Pty Ltd; Pisconeri Fine Foods and Wine Merchants Pty Ltd; and C.N.A International Import and Export Co, are more likely to use them as a supporting tool to increase the company exposure and the customer awareness on their product and services once they have entered into a new or local market.
Unfortunately, not every trade show can be guaranteed to be success (Kerin & Cron, 1987, Bellizzi & Lipps, 1984). The matter of success or not, really depends on the objectives of the company itself. Based on fact, South Seas Trading Pty Ltd and Pisconeri Fine Foods and Wine Merchants Pty Ltd find themselves succeeding in trade shows they have a clear concise objective which is to “capture” more clients. The other hand, C.N.A find that the success of the trade show truly depends more on the scale of each objective, which mainly based upon short term view of the amount of sales in monetary term, not based upon the number of clients or leads generated from trade show. Here, we can see that each company has different perspectives on defining the word “success” for themselves.
Selecting the right show for the right product or services is another fundamental aspects to be concerned when the company decides to join trade shows (Bryant, 1994; de Costa, 1995; Raton & Geraldi, 1997 and Cobb 1992). This aspect is able to assist the company on achieving a better outcome resulted from each trade show held by the company.
In fact, most companies are more willing to participate into any associations that have an industry relevance with their product or services, because they think that is the best way on finding out the right show for them, and they also believe those associations have their target market and able to give the right support for them. For example, South Seas Trading Company and Pisconeri have become members of FAL (Food and Liquor Association) and have participated in some FAL trade shows with the motive being to gain more recognition from their target market; C.N.A has joined AGHA (Australian Gifts and Housing Association) because the other members of the association are in a related industry.
At the time the company decides to attend the show, they need to make sure that they are well prepared. For this reason, they should analyze certain activities that need to be conducted for the show, for example: financial resources allocation, human resources required, and any additional marketing activities to be performed during the show. Here, budget plays an important role to determine how these activities will be performed. The more budget stated for the show, the more strategies and performances they can play with during the show.
However, it does not mean that the bigger budget they have, the more likely they will succeed. The important point in here is just that the company has to allocate the budget effectively in order to gain a success show (Ansoff & McDonnel, 1999; Fletcher & Brown 1999 and Mone, McKinley & Barker 1998). Every company has different ways of allocating their budget for trade show. Some company might set this budget as part of their promotional budget, for example C.N.A allocates 100% of their promotional budget for trade show budget as it is the main income generator method for the company, however, other companies, for example: South Seas Trading and Pisconeri set the show budget as a separate figure apart from their promotional budget. Based on fact, small to medium size companies are willing to spend their money for trade show range from $ 2000 – $ 5000 with or without any condition included. The condition will be varied for the expenditure of buying booth space or stand, shelves, airfare, accommodation, and any other expenditure.
Based on the budget stated above, small to medium size companies are more likely to have their human resource based upon their own employees rather than hire the outsider because their budget for trade show is not huge enough and it is the best way of saving their money and reducing the time wasted for teaching the outsider about the company’s product and services. More over, these companies will not likely give any training to their staffs on conducting the show. They believe that with the presence of the senior manager on the show and the knowledge of their staffs on the company’s product and services, they are capable enough to handle the show effectively. In fact, Mr. Joe Thung, The Director of South Seas Trading company, also stated that they had knowledge of the product but lacked experience in exhibiting at the show and did not seek training, they felt it was just a matter of “monkey see monkey do”.
Besides of gaining the company exposure and customer awareness, trade show is also a battle area for every company to compete against their competitors in order to win their customers. This means that the stronger their marketing strategy, the more likely they will be able to achieve a better outcomes compared to their competitors. Because of this matter, it is necessary for the company to conduct certain marketing activities to win their battle in the show. These activities include: handed out the company general brochure, samples, promotion discounts leaflets.
Pisconeri Company also gives their customer some samples to try on site and take away for selected products with the reason to attract the crowd when they have to face lots of their major competitors in the exhibition. Without the assistance from these marketing activities, the company will face a really tough way to win the battle because they have no weapon to win the battle. Exceptionally, in the case where there are only few competitors present in the show and the company’s brand name or products has been well known by the customers, they do not necessarily need to conduct very intensive marketing activities, a simple method of marketing activities, i.e. Hand out company brochure, is competent enough to win the battle as well as cutting down their cost.
Once the company has ended their exhibition, they will generally measure how well the outcome achieved from trade show by conducting variety of analysis. Here, post show analysis is vital to measure the success of the present show. In most cases, for the company who try to source the prospects and convert them to clients, they will probably measure them by the number of people who stopped at their stand and inquired further about their products, and also the number of new prospects that was converted to a client.
However, different objective stated and achieved by the different company will affect on how and what method to be used by the company to analyze the show’s outcome. For example, C.N.A, who seems to aim on generating the sales rather the clients, they will measure the result by calculating the amount turned over during the show that is how much was sold during the show rather than counting on the number of people.
Additionally, a follow-up program on the leads after the show finished is another significant action to be made in order to improve the objective attained. In fact, some companies, name South Seas and Pisconeri is pleased enough to perform this program in order not to waste the effort of the trade show, while C.N.A think there is no need to do the follow-up the program as their past experience on this follow up program was not resulting in any sales at all.
Based on the overall outcome from the show, the company will then move to the next step on their decision regarding the trade show. If they find that the show really gives plenty benefits to them, that’s mean the more likely they will use the trade show as part of their promotional tools in the future time, conversely, if the show results in a negative impact to the company, i.e. like what Pisconeri company find out about their show result, the more likely the company will abandon the show in future time. In fact, some company, named South Seas Trading company is still willing to look forward on joining the show on later time, even though the show has little effect on the company till now.
Joint Venture Trade show is another strategy that becomes popular among companies nowadays. This strategy allows two or more companies to joint together on building their stand for the show and they can share the expense on the show to cut down their cost. Joint Venture is mostly used when the company start to participate in an international trade show, where the matter of success is extremely uncertain. Some companies, i.e. South Seas Trading company and C.N.A do not interest to go a joint venture with other companies in the show as they want to keep their market or company locally, while Pisconeri is keen to go into a joint venture trade show with others in order to participate in the international trade fair.
For C.N.A International Import And Export Co.
Attend specific trade fair i.e. “Giftware” show rather than Home and Gift in order to concentrate and expose a more defined market, and push the sales directly.
They need to concentrate more on the follow up of leads to get more prospects.
They need to have a stronger marketing strategy in order to attract the customers, i.e. promotion discounts.
As trade show are the only way of generating the sales for C.N.A, it is better to exhibit at more shows held in other regions of Australia in order to increase their sales revenue.
For South Seas Trading Pty Ltd.
The company may need to join more trade show and concentrate on one ones where their target market will be in order to improve the outcome of the show.
The company needs to concentrate on promotion of their products, even though there are only few competitors in the show.
As the company want to keep the market local, they may have to consider participating exhibiting at the shows held in different states of Australia frequently in order to increase their sales and clients.
For Pisconeri Fine Food And Wine Merchants Pty Ltd
They have to join more local or international shows because of the failure of success at previous shows derives come from the customer knowledge about their products. Their marketing strategy is very good however their product brand is not well known that’s why they need to use more shows to increase customer awareness or brand loyalty
As they always face quite competitors at the show, it is maybe a better idea of hiring outside expertise to exhibit at the show in order to be more competitive.
The international trade show is another way that can help them to increase their sales, so it would be better if they try to join industry-related international trade shows.
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