Turf & Rec

Trade shows: the ideal way to connect with the market

June 10, 2013  By  Mike Jiggens

Whether it's a small business just getting off the ground or a multi-million-dollar company, trade shows are an ideal resource for connecting with the market and showcasing a company’s products in a more intimate setting.

 In today’s competitive market, advertising and social media can only do so much in terms of product understanding. The advantages of being able to physically see and feel the product or service, as well as being able to engage with the people behind it, are unsurpassed by traditional forms of advertising.

 “One of the most useful aspects of exhibiting in a trade show is being able to speak with consumers one-on-one,” said Heather MacRae, manager of Landscape Ontario’s Expo and Congress trade shows. “Trade shows allow exhibitors to showcase their product or service in person, rather than trying to convey it through an ad. The personable interaction at trade shows is far more helpful because you are physically there to display and discuss the trade and your product’s usefulness to it.”

 Among MacRae’s reasons why being a trade show exhibitor can be beneficial:

 • Meet prospective clients. This is a great way to connect with people that are already interested in your trade. Give them advice, show your expertise and hand them a business card or brochure with more information.

 • Be the trendsetter. Being an exhibitor at a trade show is a good opportunity to show everyone what your business is made of—get creative, inventive and let your display help demonstrate how you are getting ahead of the curve.

 • Enjoy the opportunity to be featured in major media publications. Trade shows aggressively pursue media coverage. With an interesting booth, you may catch the eye of a reporter who may want to speak with you about your product or service. Prepare yourself and be ready for potential media coverage that brings more value than paying for advertising.

 • Great way to advertise. The fee of purchasing a booth is a good investment considering the amount of exposure your business will get from the media and guests attending the show. Remember, the more attractive and original your display is, the more views it will receive from guests at the trade show and media.

 • Meet experts in the field. A trade show is an opportunity to network with other professionals in your field. Look at them as partners instead of competition, and use the opportunity of the trade show to extended your contacts, attract business leads, exchange tasks and complete joint projects.

 • Start building sales. Going to trade shows isn’t all about looking pretty; trade shows are good for building brand awareness and, hopefully, generating sales. Make sure you stock up with marketing materials, brochures and business cards to give to prospective clients, but also find a way to get their contact information to keep them updated with new developments.

 • Displays in addition to portfolio. Sometimes portfolios just don’t capture the essence of your work, whereas a display is more physical and tangible. Potential clients will be able to see and feel your product, which is always better than a photo or video.

 MacRae and her team have decades of trade show experience, staging some of Canada’s most successful exhibitions. Landscape Ontario trade shows’ success are gauged by their value to exhibitors and attendees.
She can be contacted at (416) 848-7577, or heather@landscapeontario.com .

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