“A good exhibition programme will sell itself. The money spent on marketing would be better spent on the exhibition themselves”
In the business environment, there is a lot of competition that every business faces in its day to day operations. This means that if a business cannot keep up with the competition or beat its competitors then there is a high likelihood of it collapsing, something that will highly cost the investors. Therefore, every business must ensure that it is able to meet its main objective which in many cases is to make and maximize profits through high sales. To achieve higher or increased sales, business investors can apply various strategies of winning customers and overcoming the stiff competition in the business environment.
For a business to be able to accomplish higher or increase in sales and obtain more customers who will in turn result into higher profits for the business, the investors can apply marketing strategy as a form of making their products known to customers which is may be a bit costly t the business since it will have to incur various expenses. On the other hand, a business can opt for exhibition as a form of selling its products to its customers. Exhibition can simply be defined as a presentation and a display of various items that have been selected to attract customers and induce sales.
An exhibition program is the strategy put in place by a business of presenting and displaying a selection of various products of a business for customers to purchase and to attract new customers. Having a good exhibition programme in a business will sell itself to customers and will help increase the sales of the business. This means that the money used by investors in areas such as marketing strategies can be spent on exhibition so that the business can achieve more sales and hence more profits for the business.
Exhibitions also know as trade fairs, expos or even trade shows can help achieve various results for a business as will be discussed here. In many occasions, the exhibitions are in most cases organized by various interested parties so that various organizations in a certain specific industry or who have a specific interest can showcase and give a demonstration of the various latest products, study activities, and even services of competitors and also to have a look at the current trends in the business industry and the opportunities that may be available for the business to venture in. There are some exhibitions which are always open to the public while there are others which can only be attended by various company representatives who are members of that trade and also the members of the press for coverage of the exhibition (Siskind, 2005).
Through the years exhibitions have been identified as one of the most effective and efficient tool that is powerful and effective for doing business. An exhibition involves the business investors being able to meet the customers face-to-face and hence create a great target opportunity for the business to achieve the various trade objectives that it has. Exhibitions are known to be one of the most cost effective for of reaching out to the customers since the business investor is able to reach the customers at one time and in one place that does not involve moving the location. Therefore, it is notable that exhibitions have various advantages for a business if a good exhibition programme is created and implemented by the business investor (Tileagă, & Cosmescu, 2012).
Exhibition as a means of trade for a business has various advantages to any form of business if created and implemented in a good way as compared to marketing strategies. Discussed below are the advantages that a business will derive from a good exhibition programme implemented by an investor:
In exhibitions, the business investors have the opportunity of meeting the customers face-to-face in one time and in one place. This means that the trade shows or exhibition provides a very excellent and conducive environment for the business investors to initiate contacts with customers who are new to the business. This helps the business investor to be able to develop new trade leads for the products of the business since the investor is able to answer any questions that the new customers may have concerning the products that the business is offering (Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft, 2010).
The business has the first hand opportunity of giving detailed information to the new customers about their products that are under exhibition and in turn this will help in creating a new customer base for the business. In addition to the new customers whom the business investor has the opportunity to win over for the business and creating new customer base, the business investor is also able to renew its old contacts with the valued clients of the company or business firm. There are times when businesses lose their old clients due to various reasons.
Through a good exhibition programme, the business investor is bale to renew the lost contacts with its previous customers and also to inform the old customers of the new products that the company may be offering in addition to the improvements that the business has made on the previous products that it was offering (Frain, 1999).
Through exhibitions, the business investor is able to meet new and old customers some of who may not e familiar with the business. The contact that the business investor has with the customers offers an opportunity for the investor to create and improve the image of the business towards the customers. Customers who had a bad perception about the business will be able to have firsthand experience of knowing more about the business and the products of the investors and get clear understanding of how the business operates and what products the company is offering to its clients (Johnston, & Beaton, 1998).
This means that, not only will the company be able to win ore customers but it will be able to give firsthand information to the customers which will help in improving the image of the business. A good image for the business means that customers will want to associate with the business; hence those customers who visit the exhibition will also inform other people about the business. This will act as a way of advertising the business through word of mouth from those customers who had the firsthand experience with the business at the exhibition. Therefore, it is quite notable that exhibitions not only bring new business contacts but also helps to strengthen and maybe restore the image of the business which is important for every business to succeed.
Many businesses always face the challenge of launching their products and services to the market. Launching of a new product or service by a company can be very challenging to any business and can also be costly in terms of advertisements as a form of marketing for the new products and services.
Many platforms that business investors can use to launch their new products or services are always costly and at times may not be effective in reaching out to as many customers as possible. To overcome this challenge that is involved in the launching of new products or services to the market by business investors, exhibitions offer a much better platform for the business investor to launch their products or services. Exhibitions in many cases involve live presentations and various demonstrations of the products or services of the company to the customers. This means that the products or the services are able to “speak” for themselves and influence the customers to make purchases or even obtain the services even if they were not prepared to do so in the first place.
When customers are able to see for themselves the use of a product or the importance of a product at first hand, they tend to have the urge to try out the product or service so that they can find out if whatever they saw during the live presentations and demonstrations are actually the results that they can obtain from using the particular product or service which has been launched into the market. This means that the process of selling the new products or services is accelerated (Frain, 1999).
When the customers are influenced to purchase the new products or services that have been launched at the exhibition trough live presentations and demonstrations, the sales of the products or services are likely to increase, and this will mean that new sales will be generated for the company at a quicker rate than through marketing. Launching of a new product or service through live presentations or demonstrations at the exhibitions means that the company will not incur a lot of costs that are always involved in the launching of new products or services (Johnston, & Beaton, 1998).
In the exhibitions or trade fairs, there is always a lot of focus that is always put on the company and the products r services that the company is offering. Many exhibitions involve the media and hence the attention of the media is always on the company and the products or services of the company. This means that the business investor has an opportunity of focusing his/her public relations efforts on raising the profile of the company and that of the products or services of the company. This will also help in improving the image of the company.
Since the focus of the media attention is on the company and the products or the services that the company s offering, there is an opportunity for the company to advertise itself without incurring any extra cost on advertisement of the company’s products or services. The exhibition offers a platform for improvement of the company’s public relations since the company comes into closer contact with the public than it could do through areas such as advertisements. This will also help in improving the image of the company and the image of the products of the company by building trust and good relations with the customers who have visited the exhibition. Therefore, exhibitions will not only help in developing great public relations, building company’s image but also will help in opening new markets for the company (Frain, 1999).
Every business investor has one aim in business which they strive to accomplish through every operation that the business undertakes. The main objective for any business investor in a business environment is to make and maximize profits. For the business to obtain profits it must incur costs that are involved in the running of the business.
Costs in business may be in form of advertisements, production and any other operational costs for the company. Higher profits and maximization of profits can only be achieved by a business if the business ensures that the costs that it incurs are less and do not exceed their sales. To achieve this, a company must ensure that it employs strategies that will help in minimizing costs involved in its operation while at the same time maximizing its sales for higher profits. The returns must always be higher while the expenses must always be lower in any successful business.
This means that a business must always be able to obtain high returns from its sales when compared to the expense that the business has incurred in its operations. Exhibitions help businesses in achieving this objective of higher returns compared to the expenses incurred. The expenses that a business will incur in its operations when conducting exhibitions is less when compared to other forms of marketing such as advertisements. Exhibitions also create an opportunity for higher sales for the business since the company is able to attract more customers through close customer contact, live presentations and demonstrations.
Since exhibitions are conducted in one time and in one place, any costs involved such as transportation costs are minimised, customers are able to find the products of the company in one place without having to move from one place to another (Johnston, & Beaton, 1998). This means that exhibitions have a higher return/expense ratio, something which every business always strive to achieve. The higher return/expense ratio is as a result of the following reasons:
Many customers or attendees who come to the exhibitions always arrive with a particular agenda or a need which they seek to accomplish at the exhibition. This means that the customers who arrive at the exhibition will not cause the business to incur more expenses in attracting the customers except for what has already been incurred to prepare for the exhibition.
In the exhibitions, the business investors do not require to make any sales calls to close the deals with the customers since most of the people who attend have their agenda already set. This means that the business will not incur any extra cost involved n making sales calls since the live presentations and the demonstrations of the company’s products or service are enough to lead the customers to purchase the products or services of the company.
Compared to product or services sales calls which are quite costly, the exhibition leads do not require a lot of expense to accomplish or close a deal. Field sales require sales calls to be made by the company but in the exhibitions on the demonstrations and live presentations are enough. This means that exhibitions are much cheaper in helping the business to achieve its main objective of maximizing profits and minimizing expense hence higher returns/expense ratio which is good for the business.
Exhibition provides an avenue for the exchange of information between the exhibition attendees and the companies that are displaying their products or services at the exhibition. At the exhibition, the business investor has the opportunity to pass information to the customers about the products or services that the company is offering since the investor comes into face-to-face contact with the new and old customers.
These customers will in turn act as a tool of advertising the products and services of the company to those other potential customers who never went to the exhibition. The customers help in advertising the company’s products and services through word of mouth. This helps the company to reach more potential customers without incurring extra costs of advertisement. Therefore, exhibitions help the company to achieve higher return/expense ratio which will in turn mean the company will be able to maximize profits (Frain, 1999).
Exhibitions also play an important role in a business if a good exhibition programme is created and implemented by a business. Through exhibition, a company is able to meet with other business investors. This will enable the business to exchange business ideas and information which might be helpful to the running of the business. Exhibitions help the investor to identify and establish new joint ventures and projects by other business investors which may result in partnership hence helping to expand the business. This is because, at the exhibitions, the business investor may meet other business investors who share the same business ideas and beliefs which then could translate into new ventures for the business (Ellis, 2010).
There are some many people who attend exhibitions some of who are potential business agents, distributors or even employees for the business. Through the opportunity of face-to-face interaction between the business investor and the exhibition attendees, the business investor has the opportunity of identifying and recruiting new business agents, distributors and even staffs for the business.
The business investor does not incur any extra cost in this activity since they are able to meet the potential agents, distributors and even staffs face-to-face without having to locate them. This also helps in saving time in terms of searching for new agents, distributors or even employees (Ellis, 2010).
When a business investor involves in exhibitions, they have the opportunity of meeting the customers face-to-face. The business investor through live presentations and demonstrations of the products or services of the company is able to obtain an immediate feedback from the new customers or the old customers on the various products or services that the company offers. This can be done through free samples and the live presentations and demonstrations. Since there is face-to-face contact, the customers are able to provide an immediate feedback about the product or the service (Morley, & Lees, 2009).
The company can use these feedbacks to improve on its products or services or simply to maintain the quality depending on the feedback they obtain. The company does not have to wait for too long to obtain customer feedback. The feedback obtained by the company at an exhibition can be used immediately by the company to help it achieve more results for its products or services. In addition, through the feedback the company is able to obtain at an exhibition, the company is able to understand the needs of the customers and in turn react immediately to those needs than the competitors in the same market (Huang, & Lund, 2009).
Focusing on the needs of the customers is crucial to a business and also helps the business to overcome competition and hence immediate feedback through the interaction at the exhibition, helps the business to keep its focus on the actual needs of the customers.
The exhibitions also helps in understanding the strengths and weakness of the competitors since the research results and feedback obtained during the exhibition, can help the business in knowing what areas of business it can improve on to fight off competition.
Exhibition helps the business to understand how competitors react to the needs of customers and also to learn the various changes that are taking place within the industry of the business. Research and immediate customer feedback obtained by the company during the exhibition helps the company to stay ahead of the competitors through product or services advancement and the use of new technology.
The graph below illustrates the effectiveness of various channels of marketing in the exchange and gathering of information in any business environment:
From the Figure 1 above, it can be noted that exhibitions and Personal sales share the same percentage in terms of exchange and gathering of information for the business when engaging customers and other potential business partners. This is due to the reason that, under exhibitions and personal sales, there is close contact with the customer hence the higher chances of getting information in an easy and quicker way.
Marketing requires large sums of money to conduct in a business. This means that the business will not be able to achieve higher profits. On the other hand, in an exhibition, the business needs only to hire a stand where it will display its products and services. This is quite a convenience for the company since the company will not have to spend a lot of money while at the same time the impact of the exhibition will be greater than that experienced with marketing such as advertisement. For those business investors who are not sure of the amount of return on investment they will achieve when first attending an exhibition, this is a very convenient way o introduce products or services to the public at a cheaper cost (Solberg, 2013).
Every business seeks a way of undertaking its operations while at the same time having the opportunity to change whenever necessary and still achieve its main objective of higher profits. Exhibitions offer an opportunity to be flexible since the business investor has the ability and freedom to customize his/her exhibits for each exhibition that they have to attend. This means that the business investor has the opportunity to experiment on matters such as size and also has the opportunity to configure their exhibits to see and find out what works best for the schedule of exhibitions that the company has to attend in its quest to make profits and expand its markets.
Exhibitions are quite cost effective to any business especially through the hiring of the exhibition stand. It is also cost effective since exhibitions provide extra options whereby, the business investor is able to stretch the budget for the exhibition to include many other new options that the business investor may not have been able to afford. These may include issues such as dramatic lighting, brochure racks, furniture and even extra large formatted graphics among others which can be added to create a greater impact for the business exhibition at no extra cost hence making exhibitions a lot cheaper than marketing strategies such as advertisement (Raluca, & Cristina, 2008).
The graph below helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of exhibition as a method of promoting the products or services of a company when compared to the other channels or strategies such as direct marketing, Print advertising, Public relations, and the internet:
From the Figure 2 above, Series 1 represents the Benefits of Products and Services when the various strategies are applied by a business in selling of its products and services. The above Figure 2 demonstrates that a good exhibition programme is quite effective in helping the business to benefit from its products and services since it is able to realize more sales when compared to the other channels of product or service marketing.
Series 2 in Figure 1 above represents the impact of the various channels on the building of public relationships with the customers and other potential customers or business partners. From the graph, it can be noted that exhibitions gives a higher percentage when it comes to issue of building public relationship with the customers and potential business partners. This is due to the reason that, under exhibition, the business investor is in close contact with the customers and the potential business partners hence a greater advantage in building public relationship that is stronger (Solberg, 2013).
The internet is the poor performer in terms of benefits of the products and services of the company since some aspects such as customer contact is not available. Therefore, it can be said that exhibition, as a mode of product and services marketing has a greater impact in terms of achieving the main objective of every business of maximizing profits and also creating and maintaining great public relationship with customers and the potential investors.
The other advantage that is derived from exhibitions is that the business investor has the opportunity to observe and evaluate the products of the competitors of the business.
This will enable the business investor to know the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors in terms of the products that they are offering to the customers. Knowing the products or services that the competitors of the business are offering gives the business an added advantage since the investor is able to know what changes to make on their product or services so that they are superior to the products of the competitors (Mei-Chin, & Sui-Ming, 2013). Having superior products or services to those of the competitors will mean that the business is capable of overcoming the competition in the market.
Even though exhibitions may be the best form of business promotion for products and services, there are various challenges or problems that business investors will be faced with in the process of participating in exhibitions or trade shows. Some of those problems are such as increase in costs of construction and exhibits, personnel travelling, boarding and lodging fees which add to the cost of conducting the exhibitions (Honess, 1997). In addition, the choice of which exhibitions to participate in, how much to be spent on every exhibition, and ways of building exhibits that will be attractive to customers are some of the other challenges that are faced by business investors who engage in business exhibitions to sell and promote their products and services.
There are some considerations and issues that a business investor will need to put in mind so that they can engage in a successful exhibition. In addition, to achieve the above advantages for the business through exhibitions, business investors need to plan and create an exhibition programme that is good and capable of achieving the above advantages and bring high returns for the business (White, 2013). The following are some of the considerations and objectives that a business investor will need to set when engaging in exhibition as a form of promoting the products or services of the company to achieve maximum results:
Every business encounter such as involvement and participation in exhibitions requires that a business investor must have an objective they want to achieve through the exhibition. There must be a goal to be accomplished at the end of the exhibition and without setting out the objective or purpose of participation, then success in an exhibition will not be achieved ( Thomas, 1995).
Business investors who participate in exhibitions must ensure that there are actual sales made during the exhibition. This should be the main objective of participating in an exhibition since more sales translates into more profits for the business. There is no business that wants to incur costs and realize no sales. Therefore, the exhibition must help to realize actual sales for the business for it to be considered successful and beneficial.
For a successful exhibition, a business investor must have an objective of identifying and obtaining potential new customers for the business and improving on the relations with the older customers. This ensures the business of an added market and creating a new market for the products and services of the company. In addition, the business investor must be able to obtain sales leads for the business. This will enable the business to make sales without making sales calls which are costly.
For a successful exhibition, the business investor must ensure that they are able to obtain competitive intelligence that will give them an added advantage over the competitors. Every business investor who attends an exhibition must be able to information that is relevant for the business and which can help the business to better its performance and achieve higher profits (Havaldar, 2005).
Target audience to be reached
There are different types of people who attend the exhibitions. For success of the business in an exhibition and to be able o achieve maximum results from the exhibition, the business investor must be able the audience that they want to reach out to with their products and services. Identifying the suitable and targeted audience makes it easy for the business investor to sell their products and services to the targeted market since the products and services will have been made to suit that particular targeted audience. Therefore, based on the various specific objectives that a business investor has laid down for the business, he/she is able to make a decision on which exhibitions to attend that will bring maximum results for the business and at a cheaper cost (Thomas, 1995).
There are many forms of business promotion that an investor or companies can apply to promote their products or service and achieve results. Businesses have a main aim and objective of maximizing profits at the lowest costs possible. Some of the methods of product or service promotion are costly and the results achieved may not be impressive. Therefore, compared to the other forms of business product or service promotion, exhibition comes out as one of the most effective tool of marketing products or services of a company.
Exhibitions provide a cheaper avenue of promoting a business while at the same time availing so many opportunities to the business which are useful in helping the business to achieve maximum profits. Therefore, exhibition can be said to be one of the most effective form of product or services promotion for any business due to the various advantages that the business can achieve at lower costs.
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