What You Need To Know When Exhibiting Abroad

Category: Exhibition Stands

Exhibition Marketing

Exhibition marketing provides a unique opportunity to communicate directly with many prospects in a short space of time. Moreover, 91 percent of buyers go to trade shows with the express intention of buying goods, according to Marketing Donut, which makes exhibition marketing a great way to sell products to a new audience.

Taking your exhibition stands overseas is an effective way to gain valuable exposure in new markets and can open up new export possibilities. It also provides an excellent way of getting face-to-face time with people in a territory you are looking to expand into. So what do you need know about exhibiting abroad before taking the plunge?

1. Preparations Should Start Early

Realistically, for your international exhibition to be a success, you need to start the research part of your preparation phase at least six months before show time, and preferably even further in advance. During this phase, you need to select exactly which show you are going to attend, based on your own objectives.

While researching, you should look at different events, as well as their locations and times, before settling on one that suits you. Find out who else is going to be exhibiting and identify potential competitors and partners. You also need to be booking your slot at the show well in advance - preferably with six months to spare.

2. You Must Be Prepared to Spend

You will quickly learn that exhibiting abroad is considerably more expensive than exhibiting nationally. On top of the usual costs associated with exhibition marketing - exhibition stand design, the entry fee, promotional activities - you need to take into account the added cost of travel, transporting goods and accommodation.

"Hotel rooms in the major exhibition cities are quickly snapped up during large shows and prices usually double in comparison to quiet periods," says Mike Josypenko, Director of Special Projects for the Institute of Export. He advises sorting accommodation and flights around four to five months before the trade show, to reduce costs.

3. There May Be Cultural Issues to Consider

Depending on where you are exhibiting, you may need to think about cultural issues and language barriers. While a trade show in the United States is unlikely to throw up too many issues for a UK business, an event in mainland Europe might. As a result, you need to think about any necessary changes to your branding, your slogans and your products.

In terms of language, if you are exhibiting in France and few people on your exhibition team speak French, you are going to require the services of a translator or local staff. However, this can be the case even with secondary languages. For instance, in certain parts of the U.S., it may be beneficial to have a Spanish translator, to reach a wider audience.

4. Promoting Your Appearance Is Crucial

Statistically, around 70 percent of trade show visitors know which stands they want to visit in advance, so promotion is always vital. However, this is even more important when exhibiting internationally, because you are likely to have less brand recognition. It is, therefore, essential to promote your appearance long in advance.

In many instances, the cost of your place at the exhibition will also include free listing in show programmes, related websites and even the local press, but this is not always the case and is often not enough in itself. Use social media accounts, send personal invitations and let people know you're going to be there.

5. You May Need Local and Overseas Help

For things like transportation, it generally makes sense to enlist a company in your own country, who can take things right from your warehouse to the trade show, and back. However, for many other things, such as specific exhibition services, it may make sense to turn to people in the country you are travelling to for assistance.

Construction labour is one such example and this is especially true in the United States, where exhibition contractor labour is heavily unionised. You may be restricted in what outside assistance you can use and you may need to use 'official' labour to carry out certain aspects of the work, such as setting up electrical connections.

Posted 8th December, 2016

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