Reason 4: YEAR ROUND PROMOTION OF PARTNERS
From the yesteryear of my career the classic meetings industry marketing tools still linger in the memory, most of them being the various providers’ catalogues and usually prepared by publishers, associations or a destination. The annual catalogue of the ICCA members was sought-after and a main reference point, with expensive and slow distribution through direct mail the dominant mode of communication.
Thinking about it from today’s perspective, their use value was at about the level of a phone book and the time dimension irrelevant compared to the present. Just how much marketing methods have changed is also proven by trade shows, which due their complex marketing demands have taken on an important role in the meetings industry’s marketing side.
The reference point for key providers today are the digital catalogues of the global and regional trade shows, or, more coarsely put: if you’re not on the list of either IMEX, EIBTM, or other important regional trade shows, then for the global meetings industry you pretty much do not exist. Trade shows are no longer reflecting the use of the old sales catalogues – they are becoming modern marketing machinery.
[pullquote]A trade show is a brand and a marketing platform, which through a systematic approach attracts potential buyers and turns them into promising customers.[/pullquote]
In addition to the widely adopted changes in the way we communicate, the attitude towards brands and the general relationship between buyers and sellers has also changed. A trade show is a brand and a marketing platform, which through a systematic approach attracts potential buyers and turns them into promising customers. Through constant nurturing and upgrading of relations they are then turned into your buyers.
A business trade show helps you in four key areas of B2B marketing:
- It enables potential buyers to notice you, to discover you and then to get to know you asa crediblepartner.The Internetis the keytool for exploring, learning, benchmarking and independent decision-making and informedbuyers of convention services increasingly trust the onlineand aditional informationsupplied byrenownedtrade show organisers. The web portal also plays a key role in this in ensuring the broadest possible outreach for meetings industry website visitors.
- Businesstrade showsoffer youa number of toolswith whichyou can find yourselfon buyers’ radars.Firstly, however, you must provideinteresting contentthat attractsattention andthat you can sharefurther.Most of thetools to create superior and eye-catching material arefree of charge.You need only think ofsocial networksthrough which you canattractthe right targetgroup of buyers and distributeyour content.
- In agreementwith the organisers you can preparetargeted campaignsthat aredesigned in such a way to offer something tohosted buyersin return. Mosttrade showorganiserswill adopt such ideasandproposalswith enthusiasm. This call to actioncan betwo-waythrough links and cross-links between the organiser’s websiteandyour own portal.
- Satisfied trade showparticipantsarealsosupporters ofparticipatingexhibitors andpartners. Positive recall can more quicklylead tosalesconversion and you can makea good impressionthrough inclusion on social networksand themany opportunitiesoffered bythe organisers. More sophisticatedmethodsareassociated withadvanced campaignsanalyticsthat throughperformance analysistoolsgive you differentanswers tothe question of whatyourcongresscustomers aremostresponsive to.
Personally, I believe that trade shows are one of the key tools for building relationships with potential buyers and in raising your image. In addition to sales they also allow you to leave a good impression on potential buyers, which is invaluable in further stages of the sales conversions.
About the author:
Gorazd Čad is a veteran convention tourism addict. Founder and owner of the marketing and congress agency TOLERANCA MARKETING, he has numerous years of experience in the planning, preparation and execution of major international trade shows and fairs. Having started his career in Cankarjev dom, where he project-led on fairs such as Infos, Kapital, Bits & Fun, Slovenian Wine Festival and many others, work in his private capacity has given him a long and multi-faceted experience of developing B2B trade shows, the most noteworthy of these being Conventa, Space, Natour and Hot-Rest. B2B selling solutions sit at the heart of the action of his work and are the key specialisation with proven added value and measurable results.