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Show and sell

September 8, 2014 | features

In a constantly evolving and fragmented media market it’s ever-more challenging to gain the attention of a business audience. It’s just as challenging a prospect when it comes to deciding how and where to invest marketing spend for the greatest return. But tradeshows provide an easy answer by drawing quality, engaged industry-relevant audiences and an opportunity for brands to meet customers face-to-face. 

“An investment in trade exhibitions is money well spent,” says XPO Exhibitions’ national sales and events director Tony Waite. “Done well, they can deliver immediate and measurable results any marketing manager would be delighted to report.

“Leading brands all over the world use trade shows as a platform to engage with key customers, showcase existing products and launch world-first innovations – and those brands are being rewarded with hundreds of millions of dollars  in trade resulting every year from our portfolio of tradeshows.”

It’s little wonder then, that trade shows are enjoying an incredible resurgence in popularity, attracting growing marketing budgets. Businesses are again recognising value in selling their products face-to-face with targeted industry customers.

It’s a vibrant industry abuzz with innovation, new product launches and solid expansion. “People tend to have a preconceived idea that New Zealand is too small to host quality industry exhibitions, but that’s just not true,” says Waite.  “The country may be small, but the quality of our trade shows is up there with the best.” 

And XPO should know; its BuildNZ Designex trade show was recently recognised for excellence, garnering the Best Trade Show in Australasia and New Zealand awards from the Exhibitions and Events Association of Australiasia . 

The power of trade shows is in helping brands create intimate conversations within the industry, and provide an incredibly powerful platform to meet customers face to face. For established brands and up-and-comers alike, trade shows are an effective channel where leads can be qualified and sales measured. 

“You just can’t get that same level of measurement with some of the more familiar and traditional above the line mediums,” says Waite. 

Database capture

With a qualified registered visitor database in excess of 200,000 business people, XPO prides itself on delivering a targeted B2B reach across its 13 event brands. Exhibitors have the ability to capture a qualified industry database of prospective customers for follow-up during and post-event. 

XPO’s database collects visitor industry, buying power and influence, company size, role, product interests and more. All this data is audited and verified – and XPO enables exhibitors to access this information in new and powerful ways. Some exhibitors, for instance, ask for customised  onsite invitations to be deployed to visitor groups that match certain criteria. With access to XPO’s database an exhibiting toy manufacturer, for example,  might be hosting a VIP product launch and want to identify toy retailers in the South Island, with three or more stores, to invite along. This sort of capability gives the exhibitor a huge targeted, and qualified advantage to succeed.

Education and training

Many industry professionals require Continual Professional Development (CPD) as part and parcel of their ongoing qualification requirements, and trade shows are a one-stop shop to satisfy these obligations. Educational industry-led seminars are a feature across each day of XPO’s trade events, where visitors may attend to keep abreast of the latest innovations, trends and designs relevant to their industry. 

Develop and strengthen brand

Whether a business is a major international brand or a small start-up, the right kind of trade show, with the right audience, can strengthen and build brand positioning.  XPO aligns itself with key industry organizations to co-locate meetings with trade shows in order to add value to both attendees and exhibitors. Recent examples include the New Zealand Institute of Architects, which co-located its annual conference at BuildNZ Designex last year, and the Jewellery Association, which held its annual general meeting and networking at the Gift and Homewares Fair. These association relationships open up exhibitor brands to large groups of targeted customers.

Sell to a warm audience

Trade shows offer an opportunity to find new business in a targeted way, rather than through a much less effective scattergun approach. People buy from people and trade shows put the right people into a room together. Visitors generally attend with a purpose or problem to solve, meaning they’re ‘warm’ and focused on buying. It’s the exhibitor with the right solution that will win the sale. 

“When we did the numbers, we found we had generated nearly the same amount of leads with three XPO events versus 10 individual ad hoc engagements,” said a 2degrees client. “To me that speaks volumes.”

Real-time feedback

Besides showcasing products to a targeted audience, trade shows allow vendors to get feedback from attendees on the spot: what’s
working out there and what’s not? What would clients like to see that is different? Trade Shows provide a perfect opportunity to fully research markets. 

With smartphone show apps, digital marketing and social media, XPO makes sure exhibitors have a huge array of tools at their disposal for collecting feedback or creating interest pre, post, and during events. 

Do the due diligence

Not all trade shows are created equal, so choosing the right event to exhibit at is just as important as any other marketing decision. “We’ve had some of the most prominent brands in
New Zealand tell us our shows consistently deliver more leads and sales than other events,” says Waite. “But ultimately exhibitors need to make sure any event is the right fit for them. Our visitor reports specify which trade audience each event attracts. Visitor numbers are independently audited by the Circulations Audit Bureau and we welcome anyone to ask questions to match a company to the best trade show. We’re an open book.” 

To discuss which trade event might be right for your business or brand, please contact XPO Exhibitions national events and sales director Tony Waite on 09 976 8373 or 021 329 678. See www.xpo.co.nz for full details.

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