Mix Up Your Marketing

Article by:
Donna White EO New Zealand
Donna White
EO New Zealand

When it comes to better business, sometimes you just have to mix up your marketing. One way to do that is by taking advantage of business exhibitions. I’m probably the world’s number-one cheerleader when it comes to targeted exhibitions. I’ve been staging them for almost 20 years, and in that time I’ve helped thousands of businesses grow using time-honoured techniques that anyone can tap into for a minimal investment. Sound tempting? Here are five reasons why I believe exhibitions should be a no-brainer for every business:

  • You can sell your products better than anyone: People may be able to find your products online or in a shop, but you and your staff are best qualified to point out why they should buy your products rather than a competitor’s. Even high-quality sales assistants and promotions staff can’t match the fervour and insight that you and your team can bring to bear.

  • Exhibition visitors are all pre-qualified: People go to exhibitions eager to see new products and buy them. At consumer exhibitions, people are actually paying to hear your sales pitch— where else does that happen? Other direct-marketing mediums, such as supermarket sampling, interrupt some other activity to establish a sales opportunity. But at an exhibition, sampling your product is primarily what visitors have come to do, so you’re already one step ahead.

  • Exhibiting makes the most of your marketing budget: People follow their passions when it comes to exhibitions, which makes exhibitions highly targeted sales environments with low levels of “tire kickers.” What’s more, you will get more bang for your marketing bucks, and can tightly focus your efforts on capturing the interest of your most lucrative market segments.

  • Face-to-face selling offers three dimensions: Nothing beats pitching your product directly to a customer while they hold it in their hands. They get to experience what you’re selling first-hand, and you get to close the deal on the spot. Unlike other forms of sampling, exhibition visitors are more disposed to take their time, gain a deeper understanding of your products and commit to purchase.

  • You can reach out and touch your audience: Exhibitions let you meet thousands of customers, understand who they are and gather their feedback in real time. You can grab their details and build a database. You can give them free gifts and special deals. You can shower them with coupons for use after the show. An exhibition is the perfect place to lay the foundations for lifelong customer loyalty.

In my experience, including face-to-face marketing into your business plans is critical to achieving next-level success, and engaging an exhibition is one of the best ways to do that. Where else can you convert skeptics into true believers while building customer loyalty, all in an instant? If you’ve never made exhibitions part of your marketing mix, you may be missing out on a proven way to stretch your budget further, expand your customer base, improve your products and services, generate more sales and ultimately grow your business.

Top Tips for Exhibition Beginners

New to the exhibition world? Here are some pointers:

  • Choose the exhibition that attracts the biggest numbers of your target customers.

  • Set specific, measurable objectives and ironclad budgets.

  • Promote your participation before the show via every medium at your disposal.

  • Select and train your staff carefully— they are your brand ambassadors.

  • Employ an experienced designer to ensure your stand “stands out.”

  • Keep your team on their toes and fired up throughout the show.

  • Follow up “hot” sales leads immediately after the show, before they have a chance to “cool off.”

  • Contact “warm” leads at the same time, and keep in touch until they’re ready to buy.

  • Do a mini-advertising campaign after the show to stay top of mind with customers.

  • Review your exhibition performance and use lessons learned to improve for next time.

Dona White is the CEO of North Port Events, and organiser of The Food Show, Baby Show, Fine Food New Zealand and the Healthy Living Show. Fun fact: Dona, a native Californian, met her Kiwi husband while they were ski bums in Switzerland 30 years ago. They now reside in Auckland, where they sail their yacht anywhere there is sun and good fishing.


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