Despite the transition to digital means of marketing and communication, exhibiting at trade shows remains a powerful tool and one of the most rewarding forms of marketing when approached with the right strategy.
Today, according to statistics compiled by spingo.com, 99% of exhibitors believe that trade show marketing provides unique value that is not provided by other marketing channels.
International trade shows are an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to hundreds of different prospects in a short period of time. An Oxford Economics study indicates that 85% of people believe that face-to-face meetings are more effective to build and maintain a trusted relationship with prospective customers. A prominent trade show is an ideal place to engage and build connections with qualified leads that will potentially boost your sales pipeline in the short term.
Access International Market Expansion Success Via Trade Shows
Regardless of the size of your business, exhibiting on the show floor will provide you with these top five benefits:
1. Boosting Brand Awareness: Exhibiting at a prominent trade show is the best opportunity to give your brand a sizable boost in your industry. An attractive and strategically located booth space will help you enhance your presence on the show floor and give attendees the impression that you are one of the industry leaders. Also, most trade shows host workshops sessions and panels with various keynote speakers. Securing a speaking opportunity is a strategic way to boost your presence and brand awareness at the trade show.
2. Generating Leads/Sales: A major trade show is an ideal place for qualified lead generation. You will have the unique opportunity to meet with a curated group of potential buyers from both domestic and international markets by exhibiting at a major trade show. To improve your trade show ROI, assemble a dynamic booth staff, analyze the audience in advance, and decide how your team will approach each client. Also, an effective post trade show engagement strategy is crucial to turn warm leads into sales quickly.
3. Networking: Trade shows host various types of social events including parties, lunch breaks, and even yoga gatherings that are great for networking. Networking can help you gain valuable insights on new trends and advancements in your industry while generating qualified leads. During a trade show, you should consider every single opportunity to engage with potential customers, decision-makers, and even competitors to broaden your network.
4. Competitive Intelligence: Trade shows are one of the best opportunities to connect with competitors and understand their new products, services, marketing strategies, and sales tactics. Exhibiting at a trade show allows you to observe what your competitors are doing right and apply their tactics to your own business. During the trade show, it is worth engaging with visitors and buyers so that you can get feedback on both your own and your competitors’ products and services.
5. Enhancing Knowledge and Experience: Most trade shows host educational sessions that help you explore and keep up with the latest developments and advancements in the industry. By participating in the educational sessions, you can stay on top of the latest industry trends which will potentially allow you to enhance your products and services. Make sure you take advantage of educational sessions that are offered across the show floor to learn more about recent advancements and industry best practices.
Growing Beyond Borders: Exhibiting at an International Trade Shows
Each year, thousands of trade shows across the globe offer great opportunities for businesses to gain a comprehensive overview of their markets and industries. Mentor Works’ curated list of top trade shows and events provides Canadian businesses with the top export trade shows for their industries over the coming 6-12 months.
Exhibiting at a trade show abroad is an investment for businesses and there are a number of costs to consider including booth space, booth design/build, and travel and accommodation for staff. However, there is considerable opportunity for businesses to leverage government grants and other funding programs including the prominent CanExport program to offset the costs of trade shows.
The CanExport program is a popular Canadian government grant that helps firms participate in trade shows where company representatives travel to an export destination and meet with potential customers. By leveraging CanExport funding, Canadian companies can more aggressively pursue export market development projects and drive greater revenues from customers outside of Canada.
Through CanExport, Canadian businesses may access up to 75% of costs associated with export marketing projects to a maximum of $75,000 per application.
CanExport funding can be used to offset a portion of costs related to export expansion projects. This includes:
- Trade show registration and participation fees;
- Travel expenses from Canada to a selected foreign country (for up to two employees);
- Adaptation of marketing tools; and
- Local consultancy services for market research and expert advice.
Canadian companies looking to discover how to support exporting initiatives with government funding, please download the Accessing Grants for Export Activities slide deck.