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Creating a successful image

Trade fairs are a vital part of the communication package for many exporting companies as part of their marketing strategy. Trade fairs have a direct effect and an indirect impact on the exhibitor’s sales. The direct sales effect being the sales coming from visitors of the trade fair booth and the indirect sales effects, that stem from the fact that visitors become more aware of and interested in the participating company’s products or services. The indirect effects matter especially for new products.

Attending a trade fair is a very expensive, time and energy consuming activity. It is imperative to prepare the company’s participation carefully and to decide on the objectives to be achieved through participating in a trade fair. It is also important to plan the company’s participation several months in advance and to choose the types and strategic locations of the fairs carefully.

There several types of trade fairs are:
Trade fairs are often promoted in trade journals. The Curaçao Chamber of Commerce maintains a list of interesting trade shows locally and abroad. Keys to success for an exporter at a trade fair Research has revealed that a majority of buyers use trade fairs as a primary source of information when making annual purchase decisions. A firm’s stand illustrates the capabilities, effi ciency and commitment of the fi rm. The exporter should think of the stand as an introduction, and the means of making a good fi rst impression, essential to attracting potential customers. Firms with limited space can compete in the trade fair arena by using good design techniques and a well-trained staff. There are simple techniques that small fi rms can apply to make a strong impression.

The trade fair stand must perform the dual role of being an effective showcase for the fi rm’s products and services, and at the same time an effi cient platform for demonstrations, discussions and sales. Research has shown that fi rms exhibiting at trade fairs have approximately seven seconds to capture
the interest of passers-by. The stand surely must not look cluttered. It must have enough room for people to come in and look at products displayed. If a demonstration is needed, the stand must be large enough for a suffi cient number of people to have a clear view.

The key to success lies with the staff present. Staff must be friendly, easily to approach and well informed about the firm’s products and services. Typical costs of participating in a trade fair Costs can vary greatly depending on the trade fair. To prevent over-spending, it is essential to prepare a comprehensive and realistic budget, and then adhere to it. To ensure that a participant does not over- nor under-spend on various exhibition-related activities, a detailed listing of all possible areas of expenditure must be made in advance and then resources allocated proportionately. Typical costs
include:

STAND COSTS. Consider space, stand design and construction, electricity, water, waste, gas, graphics, furniture, floor covering, equipment, fl oral decorations, transportation, lifting and handling costs, internet connections, insurance, storage and security. STAFF AND STAND RUNNING COSTS. These may include staff training, hotel accommodations, staff uniforms, exhibitor’s badges and passes, catering and hospitality.

PROMOTIONAL COSTS. Budget for preparation and production of press information; rental of rooms for press conferences and seminars; design an production of sales literature; pre-show publicity, including design, production, mailing list preparation and/or rental form a commercial list provider; sponsorship of fair events on websites; fair-linked advertising such as gifts, souvenirs and stand photography

Source used for this article:
‘Trade fairs: creating a successful image’;
International Trade Forum;
The magazine of the International Trade Centre.