A good trade fair strategy is one of the most successful marketing actions you can possibly carry out for your company. Events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, FITUR in Madrid, The One in Milan or the Frankfurt Book Fair report their particular sectors an exposure to more than 100,000 visitors and a media and publicity impact that could hardly be matched to any other promotional action.
There are other advantages to add to this, like the brand strength that means to be part of such powerful event in your industry, or strategic alliances, professional contacts and other secondary effects that come from participating in an international fair.
We, Contemporanea Eventi, strongly believe in the value that emerges from the presence of a company in these places of pilgrimage for all those who wish to project an image of strength, quality, and closeness with potential customers. Therefore, if you still doubt its effectiveness, we would like to share with you 15 powerful reasons why you should have a go at internationalizing your company by participating in a fair or congress.
15 reasons why you should participate in an international trade fair
#1 Gain market share and visibility
Competition grows exponentially when we approach a country that is not the origin of our products or services, since the difficulty of breaking into a new market adds to a public that is already used to local products, one that must be reached as soon as possible in order to amortize our investment.
Whether you enter an international market or are already in it, you will need extra promotion to absorb customers who are loyal to well-established companies in the country where your actions are being addressed to, so being part of an international fair could be that extra visibility you need.
#2 Company and customer: a direct interaction
One of the greatest handicaps faced when calculating the ROI on any marketing action is the lack of feedback from those who are most responsible for the success of a campaign: the customers.
International trade fairs are an excellent opportunity to get to know them, receive their thoughts and interact fist hand with users, who at times, are unknown to us, especially when they are from a foreign market.
#3 Receive a high volume of information in a short period of time
Observation is key at a fair, as well as the accumulated experience from other editions. Take advantage of your presence in a fair with international reach to collect as much information as possible.
Meeting the customer face to face, firsthand, is only a small part of all the data we can collect at a fair. From studying your competition to take in the promotional formulas that work best for them in the target country are some other questions we can have an answer to in only a few days.
#4 To establish business contacts
The public that comes to a fair is as diverse as they come, but also valuable. The greater the variety, the greater too the benefit you will get from those actions that naturally come after an international fair.
At the fair, not only you build up a relationship with your customers and acquire more among those who were not aware of your brand or were not yet convinced by the fantastic qualities in display at your designer stand for companies. Here, you are also promoting yourself to suppliers, distributors, and sponsors, with whom you can grow in foreign markets.
#5 Feel the market’s pulse and know about its development
One of the main mistakes we make when implementing an internationalization strategy is to think that what is a success in a country, must without a doubt be the same elsewhere… Based on that previous experience, we are occasionally detached from what is happening on the street and miss how the sector is changing.
A fair gives us information and the opportunity to soak up from within all there is in relation to our activity in this brand-new environment.
There is not a magic formula that fits all countries: the case of Domino’s Pizza in Italy
An example of how important it is to perfectly know the new market in which we are going to work, and whose knowledge may boost our participation in an international fair, is the case of Domino’s Pizza in Italy.
With the greatest market share, Domino’s Pizza is one of the most widely known pizza restaurant chains in the world. Open since 1960, it has an annual revenue of $4,117 million and more than 14,500 restaurants in 89 countries. Therefore, this would be a rather significant example of how we could take success for granted before a new opening in any given new market.
With these facts as a foundation, they landed in the Italian market in 2015: birthplace of pizza, and an ambitious plan that would deliver 29 new establishments and reach 880 by 2030 by means of franchises. However, 7 years into this process, the company finds itself near bankruptcy, closing all restaurants and dealing with $10,5 million in debt.
How could one of the largest fast-food franchises in the world have failed? The answer is that the public in Italy is used to local, traditional cuisine and they view their dishes as unique heritage, being zealous enough to resist falling for this take over by a product that was invented by them and that now comes ‘customized to taste international’.
Domino’s Pizza could have spared themselves this loss, and the shame that comes with it, had they studied the landing in Italy better. They should have offered a menu oriented towards local customers, build partnerships with local suppliers and purge mistakes like thinking that adding pineapple or hamburger to a pizza won’t hurt your reputation more than will bring financial benefit. All this can be achieved by participating in international trade fairs such as Alimentaria, Gourmet Festival or Sol & Agrifood.
#6 Check live our customer satisfaction
We reiterate the principal asset that is an international fair open to all publics: we cannot pay a home visit to each one of our visitors or interview all our foreign users, so have them on hand and be able to ask them in person, test, and study how they interact with our products constitutes a top-notch market study.
Moreover, this is another great benefit we may obtain when calculating the ROI from a fair since we will save in actions what otherwise would be needed in order to test our products firsthand and get feedback from local users.
#7 Instant feedback with new products and/or improvement of existing ones
It is normal to be doubtful when opening a new international market given that what has worked for us before within our borders or with total control of the market as it was the case of Domino’s Pizza, might not work elsewhere.
Therefore, being able to check on-site what people like or dislike of our products allows us to enhance or modify our line of business and adapt it to those it is aim at.
#8 Practice networking with industry professional
Even though market competition has no friends, trade fairs tend to be neutral ground where to share impressions, learn from the experience of other companies and in the end, enrich one another with insights we can all offer.
In other words, we can take it as a master class given by those who before us, have accumulated great experience during the many years of doing business in the market we wish to break into.
#9 Study the competition
Just like we have seen in the previous point, we can learn directly from our competition by doing networking, but also observing their customers, what is offered to them, what they are attracted to… and use all this knowledge in our international customer acquisition strategy.
At a fair, we are not only salespersons, but also strategists and experts.
#10 Participate in parallel workshops and congresses
An international fair is usually followed by different professional meetings where information regarding the industry is gathered, but also of future actions and movements that guide us on how to behave in the new market in order to be successful.
Therefore, let’s not ignore what lays beyond our space, our designer stand, and open the borders to welcome all that goes on at the congress and around.
#11 Find the best partners, suppliers, distributors, etc.
It is not a good idea to land into a new international market alone: relying on local experience or go hand in hand with partners or locals knowledgeable of the market is key in order to settle properly in this new foreign territory.
Finding potential new professional partners that will help us take our product to new customers in an efficient manner in an unknown market can be exhausting. For this, having access to all possible already screened in one place and with professional guarantee given by the participation in an industry fair represents a huge advantage to consider.
#12 Speed up the purchase decision-making process
All customers go through different stages before purchasing, from getting to know the product to conviction before the purchase. Moreover, if the product or service is new or unknown, this process might stretch in time more than with a local product.
At an international fair, thanks to personalized customer service, you can offer in a matter of minutes all incentives that may tip the scale and have them purchase your services on the spot.
#13 Generate new opportunities for new lines of business
We should not always look at the process of market internationalization as a battlefield.
Being international trade fairs excellent platforms to do business, you can always count on your own competition or foreign partners to find new business opportunities or collaborations that will consolidate both brands in both markets.
#14 Research price policy and product characteristics
While we may (and should) do a market study prior to internationalization, we might often lose control of some details that could be pivotal when promoting and selling our services, for instance, market launch price.
See how our competitors establish these details and the way the public reacts to them can help us set them as reference in our own strategy.
#15 Strengthen your brand image
The presence of a brand in a successful fair or international congress is not only something that will stay with those attending the event: this is part of the strategy of setting up a stand at an international fair, promoting it and echoing the occasion.
The reason for this is that the general public’s perception is that a company that is capable of engaging in more than one market and staying firm without losses or retreating in strategy, is a company that knows how to do business and how to reach users successfully. This is something that will cause admiration among customers and competitors and therefore, increase your reputation.
Exhibit at an international fair with the help of Contemporanea Eventi
We, Contemporanea Eventi, love being part of a company’s success in their internationalization strategy. This is why we work in fairs abroad and have partners in several countries and continents, including Europe and Asia, who help us build the best designer stand for your company: one that conquers your market wherever it might be and brings you closer to your customers.
Our main value when helping you exhibit at an international fair is that, to the 15 years of experience in the sector, we can add ‘hand-to-hand’ consulting and assign counterpart who speaks your language (Spanish, Italian, Catalan or French) and will guide you throughout the process: from the moment of designing the perfect stand to meet your objectives according to the fair requirements, to the on-site assembly and construction at the venue.
With all this, you will only have to worry about reaping the benefits from each one of the steps we have here put forward. With Contemporanea Eventi, a significant part of the success of your strategy is guaranteed.