Is Exhibiting at an International Trade Event the Right Move for Your Business?

Stay aware of the Medtech news from your industry if you are unsure about exhibiting your business at an international trade event of Medical technology.

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With almost three years of restricted travel and trade fairs being rescheduled, postponed, and cancelled, it’s sobering to finally see the gradual return of the trade fair scene and large-scale events returning to the world stage as businesses continue to crave some semblance of normalcy and the return of in-person interactions, rebuilding connections, and face-to-face networking. The pandemic has put the spotlight on trade fairs as a key component of annual marketing plans and budgets, and an ideal way to get your business front and centre.

Here’s a look at some common misconceptions and how participating in trade fairs are can be an effective marketing tool for your business and should be part of your export plan:

“Participating in trade fairs is too expensive”

The prices vary tremendously from event to event, depending on the scale, reputation and the market in which they are held. Planning is vital to ensure a good ROI, so do your research – often it is better to book things early and some organisers offer affordable ‘early bird packages’ or ‘rebooking package’ deals where they throw in additional advertising and promotional activities at no cost. These offer you a broader choice, more competitive travel rates and freight charges. You may also want to consider the benefits of joining a national pavilion where dedicated partners not only provide end-to-end service and convenience but also cost-effective rates due to bulk bookings. Government funding is sometimes available to support eligible companies with your international activities too. Find out what funding is available through your local agency for international trade.

“We’re a small company and won’t get noticed among the big players”

You’re never too small or too big, do your homework and find out how you can stand out from your competitors. Demonstrate value, and differentiate yourself from the competition. A clear and identifiable Unique Selling Point can set you apart from the competition. Develop a compelling, outcomes-oriented value proposition that clearly communicates the value of your offering in terms of its impact on quality improvement and cost reduction. Yes, there will be key industry players and the ‘who’s who’, but remember trade visitors also have their own reasons and objectives for visiting. Make the most out of your participation, don’t be afraid to stand out and to make the first move to reach out to your target audience. Specialist trade fairs bring the industry together is a beneficial way to network effectively and meet all those involved in the medical and healthcare sector at one central location. 

You can’t just talk about the features and benefits of your products; you have to also work hard at adapting your messaging for non-clinical decision-makers. 

Avoid falling behind the cutting edge in your industry. Medical technology, for instance, is always changing. Brand-new developments, updates, and modifications are released every day. Staying aware of the medtech news in your industry can keep you afloat and ahead of the competition.

“It takes too much time to plan and put together”

There will always be a long list of tasks on your to-do list that seems time-consuming or more important. However, with proper planning, time management and good budgeting, participating in trade fairs can be a worthwhile investment. Trade fairs offer businesses the opportunity to step outside of the office and really raise brand visibility in unique ways. With the right approach, trade fairs can significantly increase a brand’s customer base and overall impressions.

Many trade fair organisers and their partners and collaborators can offer a range of services to help make your experience hassle-free, such as having a main point of contact, coordinating stand designs, a full spectrum of support and advice at every stage of your exporting journey.

“We already embark on other marketing and promotional initiatives”

Depending on your company and business goals, you are most likely already using a myriad of marketing methods to reach your target audiences. A major advantage of trade fairs is that visitors are able to touch, feel and experience and interact with your product or service and get to know your company up-close-and-personal rather than via phone, video call or email. Such events also give you the unique opportunity to meet a significant number of people such as distributors, high-quality buyers, clinicians, medical professionals and government officials – all under one roof. Thus, in a space of a concentrated few days, you’ll be able to:​​

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Establish new business leads and connections
  • Strengthen relationships with current customers
  • Launch a new product
  • Grow your database
  • Share best practices
  • Gain industry insights from leading players in your sector

“Most attendees don’t buy at a trade fair and sometimes attract irrelevant traffic”

It’s important to note that these days many more stakeholders are involved in the purchasing process as decision criteria become increasingly complex and often tied to quality, outcomes and total cost of care. Though it may be true that not all attendees buy a product or service, you can however move attendees a step further down the sales funnel. Most trade fairs attract highly relevant foot traffic. Engaging your target audience, using the correct sales approach and techniques can help you generate strong potential leads. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) in a survey done in 2021 on global exhibition trends, it takes an average 3.5 calls to sell a product to a trade show attendee, versus 4.5 calls to someone who did not attend the trade fair. 

“We’ve participated in the past and this isn’t a new market for our business”

Trade fairs are not just designed for businesses looking to enter new markets and locations. Numerous companies participate on a regular basis in key annual, biennial or cyclical trade fairs – participating regularly in the same trade fair, can help save time and money (by reusing your exhibition design). Making the right selection on the right trade fair relevant to your business goals and area of specialisation, and exhibiting there on a regular basis can help strengthen your brand recognition, and reinforce relationships with trade fair attendees, the media, and the industry.

“Follow-up is often ineffective and slow”

Planning is key, so plan ahead and develop your follow-up strategy in advance, as it’s very common to get caught up with other more pressing work once you get back to your home country. For instance, you could dedicate a team or team member for a period of time, to follow up on the leads. An integral part of any trade fair participation and to ensure a good return on your investment is ensuring a strategic and organised follow-up process. You’re likely to have gathered a whole bunch of business cards, in fact some organisers may even offer a lead data capture system which can help better align your follow-up process. There are also some digital lead management tools which may be useful to track visitors to your booth. Making notes is essential when networking with potential leads.

“We’re not launching any new products/services or introducing new features”

Generating new leads and building brand awareness and brand recognition is a must for any business, even if you already have customers, partners and distributors. Gathering market intelligence, new market data, and learning about industry trends and developments can be an essential experience as you develop future projects, initiatives or new product features and upgrades. 

“The trade fair spans the entire medical and healthcare sector – it’s too broad”

It is essential that you conduct pre-event research. Research, research and more research. Find out as much as you can from the official website, speak to other participants and attendees or contact the organiser directly to find out the visitor profile and who exactly will be attending the trade fair. It is positively worthwhile to find out specific vertical markets and sub-sector markets relevant to your business. Some organisers also offer an online platform or marketing material and activities to complement the in-person trade fair, here’s your opportunity to be more specific with your networking before the start of the event.Don’t let the above misconceptions hold you back from using trade fairs to your advantage. Nothing compares to the on-site atmosphere with thousands of industry professionals keen to learn new market developments and discover new brands. Let Messe Düsseldorf Asia show you the possibilities. For more information, contact us at info@mda.com.sg