To exhibit or not is the question


BEFORE I go onto the business of today’s article I must say that it was with profound sadness that I learnt of the death of Gordon Khumalo my fitness trainer this week.

I never met a person who was as results-oriented as Khumalo and if one gave the programme a concerted effort they reaped very good results. I can almost hear him shout, “MaNdlela, please respect the programme,” as he would say to me when I started to slacken.

His story also inspires another subject for this column: The pros and cons of the sole entrepreneur which I will deal with in a future article. May his dear soul, rest in peace.

Trade exhibitions may increase the visibility of organisations in the public sector.

Public sector organisations may otherwise be less well known compared to other business organisations in the private sector. Trade exhibitions may be a good way to increase visibility for them because they would meet all stakeholders concerned in one area for the duration of the trade exhibition. If this time is used well publics ector organisations may increase reach significantly.

Public sector organisations may also be able to afford the costs pertaining to setting up at the trade exhibitions. Private sector organisation may use trade exhibitions to reinforce their position in the customers’ mind.

The costs of exhibiting at trade exhibitions may be very high and small to medium enterprises may not be able to foot the cost.

Costs may entail transport to and from the usual operating address of the business. This may be from another town and in some cases another country. Accommodation costs of the personnel manning the stand would have to be budgeted for. The cost of stand design and set up would also be a cost the company would have to carefully budget for.

Participation costs would also have to be footed by the company. I suppose it would be futile for a company to exhibit without promotional materials to fully explain the offerings and services of the business. These would undoubtedly also eat into the promotional budget of the company.

Several benefits may however arise from participating in a trade exhibition. These include generating new sales leads. This is possible as other audiences from different territories may be obtained. Trade Exhibitions also help maintain customer contacts as some customers may also be exhibiting at the same show.

This may be a time to also introduce new products to new and existing customers. It might also be a chance to educate customers with audio visual materials, publications and videos. If this done well, reach may be higher.

Factors like the reach, frequency, impact, total number of exposures help companies decide on whether to exhibit at a trade show.
Reach can be explained as the number of targeted audiences that are exposed to the trade exhibition during a specified time period for example during the business days. Frequency is the number of times the audience is exposed to the message.

Impact is qualitative value of an exposure through the trade show. This can be measured by the number of orders that are placed during the trade exhibitions.

If the reach, frequency and impact are not so high then the organisation may have to reconsider their need to exhibit at a trade exhibition.

To conclude therefore a business organisation should not just exhibit at a trade Exhibition for the sake of exhibiting or because they have exhibited for time immemorial. One can almost pick those companies who are at the Trade Exhibition for that reason.

Carefully observed you find that the effort that went into the stand setup reflects the exhibitors’ position. A “lets” just do it and pass attitude may in fact do harm than good to the exhibitor. All things have to be considered well.

I value the constructive feedback I have received for this column and encourage readers to continue giving feedback. I try and respond to all communication timely.

The editor is also happy to publish responses so if readers so wish, their feedback may be published. Till next week keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy!