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Why Exhibitions? Don’t begrudge exhibition marketing expenditure, there are huge benefits

From our experience engaging daily with prospective clients, we have learnt that many companies view exhibiting as a grudge purchase, something they have to do, but don’t really want to do. They have various reasons for feeling this way: some believe that exhibiting is too expensive; others see the time out of the office as unproductive and a waste of company resources. With this mind-set they approach their exhibition participation with minimal planning, minimal budgets and minimal resources. This, however will result in minimal returns, when in fact exhibitions can be one of the most lucrative marketing investments a company can make.

Over the next few months, we’d like to show you how to turn your exhibition participation into one of your most effective marketing strategies, starting with changing the way you view exhibitions. Below we’ve highlighted, with all the stats and figures to back our claims, why exhibitions are one of the best sales and marketing tools at your disposal.

Exhibitions put you face to face with real, qualified customers, allowing you to generate highly targeted business leads:

Research by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. shows that only 0.8 calls are needed to close a qualified exhibition lead, compared to 3.7 calls to close a typical business sale. According to another study by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, 54% of all orders placed as a result of an exhibition lead require no personal follow-up visits. Exhibit Surveys, Inc also say that only 12% of the average exhibitor's stand traffic has been contacted by that business in the previous 12 months, thus the remaining 88% are new, high-quality prospects. Of your stand visitors, 82% have buying influence for your products or services, and 49% are actively planning to buy.

Exhibiting is one of the most cost-effective ways for your company to reach qualified audiences.

According to a US study by Exhibit Surveys Inc, the average cost per visitor reached at an exhibition is £120, while the average cost of a field sales call is £195. You can reach more prospects in three days at an exhibition than your sales force can in three months of cold calling and field canvassing. Meeting prospects and engaging face to face is also the fastest way to build relationships.

Exhibitions allow for live product demos and enable consumers to interact with your brand and products on a physical level:

According to Specialised Exhibitions (Pty) Ltd, the organisors of Markex, Africa's premier promotional products expo, 88% of promotional product recipients remember the name of the advertiser on the products; 85% of the recipients do business with the advertiser on the product and 83% of people like receiving them.

Those exhibitors that recognise the value of exhibitions and allocate the correct planning, budgets and resources are reaping the marketing and sales benefits:

According to studies by the Centre for Exhibition Research (CEIR), the top five, high-priority marketing objectives for companies are: 1. Building or expanding brand awareness (83%); 2. New product or service promotions or launches (63%); 3. Reinforcing brand awareness (63%); 4. Promotions targeting specific business sectors (58%) and 5. Existing product service promotions (45%). For exhibiting executives identifying these objectives as high-priority, most (73% or more) rate exhibitions as highly valuable in helping their companies achieve these goals.

In the same study, CEIR identified the top five, high-priority sales objectives for companies as 1. Existing customer relationship management/engagement (73%); 2. Relationship management/engagement with key accounts (67%); 3. Relationship management/engagement with prospective customers (64%); 4. Generating new sales orders with existing customers (57%) and 5. Generating new sales leads in general (56%). For exhibiting executives identifying these objectives collectively as high-priority, most (77% or more) rate exhibitions as highly valuable in helping their companies achieve these goals, with the exception of generating new sales orders with existing customers, where over half (57%) assign high value to using exhibitions to achieve this objective.

So as you set about planning for the next financial year, setting sales and marketing objectives and allocating marketing resources, ensure to include exhibiting in your marketing plan. Then check back next month to read about successful exhibition planning.

If you need assistance with identifying the right exhibition to meet your objectives; allocating sufficient exhibition budgets; selecting a stand space; designing your stand; developing your pre and post show marketing campaigns; training your stand staff; managing your lead capturing processes, and your post show follow ups then contact SSQ Exhibitions to set up a meeting. 

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