Attending trade shows can be a great way to reach customers directly, but it’s important to target the right events. You should only travel to an event if you think you’re going to find customers and partners in your target markets, and gain enough business to cover the cost of attending.
When researching overseas trade events, you need to find out how many people will be attending, whether they fit your target audience, which competitors will be there, and how long the exhibition has been going for. If you’re not sure on any of these issues, ask an expert – there are loads of companies set up to provide access to overseas trade shows, and they’ll happily offer advice. It’s also good practice to ask the trade show organiser for information on the number, and type, of visitors who will be present, or request a media pack.
Setting up a stand
If you choose to set up a stand at your overseas trade show, there are plenty of things to bear in mind. You need to ensure that your promotional literature, and product samples, meet local cultural standards, and you also need to consider the language barrier.
If English is not the first language for those who will be present at your chosen trade show, hire a specialist to design bi-lingual signage and business cards for your stand; you may also wish to hire a local interpreter, but this can get expensive. Bear in mind the culture and etiquette of the country in which the show is taking place – some countries will welcome your representatives approaching strangers and handing out samples, while others will not.
The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) can provide funding for emerging firms wishing to attend an event overseas, as can the Intellect Technology Association (http://www.intellectuk.org/content/view/562/60/). Furthermore, the Association of Event Organisers (http://www.aeo.org.uk/) offers great advice on how to build a captivating trade show stand.