For a good reason, trade shows have been around since medieval times when merchandisers and craft producers travelled from town to town to showcase and sell their goods. Today, trade shows and similar industry events bring annually about $13.2 billion and continue to grow their potential, despite their already established reputation as a cornerstone for networking and lead generation among businesses of all sizes.
Top three perks of exhibiting at food trade events
- Brand awareness
Among the first perks of exhibiting at food trade events lies exposure. The simple participation creates a valuable link between producer and consumer, with many other benefits to follow. Brand awareness and word of mouth bring exhibitors a step closer to potential buyers who in turn gain trust and may form loyalty towards the company.
Food trade events also represent an additional and unique sales channel, where exhibitors can educate their consumer base and offer products samples to increase demand for their segment.
As retail channels worldwide are dominated by already popular market players, food trade shows give smaller brands a unique voice to market their product portfolios. For this reason, introducing and testing new products through trade events is also a valuable opportunity to take into consideration.
- Market research & networking
Besides being able to reach consumers, attending food trade shows also bring the opportunity to audit the market for food products and brands of the competitors as well as get access to the latest market innovations and trends. Networking at these events gives businesses a great opportunity to promote themselves among both existing and future customers as well as connect with industry peers through direct, genuine human interaction which is way efficient than a cold call or email.
- Real-time feedback
As these events are about networking and advertising, the interaction with customers and industry peers will not pass without leaving behind valuable insight, namely real-time feedback. Perhaps the engine of a business as some would say, feedback is always a well-desired resource of any business, as understanding how customers react to a product or service will drive the success of the said item and will make way for the producer to make necessary changes to further enhance its success.
Getting ready for food trade shows
To successfully attend trade shows, first-time participants, as well as seasoned ones, are required to pay attention to market trends and innovations and plan very well and ahead of time their offer, strategy and marketing plan. In light of the issue, here is an article we prepared earlier this year, about what to expect in 2021 regarding trends and events in the food industry.
- Identify goals
Before attending a trade show, any company should formulate a set of intentions and goals prior to choosing the right events to attend. Common objectives vary from generating leads, reinforcing relationships with dealers and distributors, meeting new business partners to brand promotion or entering a new market, all depending on the business type and needs of each company.
- Audit resources & shows
With goals in mind, businesses should now start doing research on the available events and check the pulse of the latest context of trade shows for a said region or worldwide. Besides goals, when doing research, it is crucial to also take into consideration the company`s supply capacity, the number and quality of the attendees, location, costs of attendance and display, ROI or other organisational particularities.
- Plan the marketing strategy
As trade shows are doors for promoting a company’s products and services to a wide, already interested consumer base but also future business partners, marketing efforts are game-changing and imperative for raising brand awareness and measure success.
Since trade shows are about exhibiting and networking, each participant should plan their agenda way ahead, train their staff, and consider ways to stand out from the crowd, to leave a good impression, at each step of the process.
Right after booking a place at a trade show, BestFoodImporters can bring you a vital resource to create a cost-effective email marketing campaign, to inform the top food importers and distributors that you will be attending a trade show and invite interested buyers to your stand.
After the event, a ”thank you for participating” goes a long way, but besides nurturing fresh contacts with gratitude, using this last opportunity to promote the experience is a great way to create hype among people who couldn`t attend.
According to Lead Liaison, 52% of exhibitors believe trade shows are top marketing channels for ROI while 74% of attendees are more likely to buy products/services they see at a trade show, both during and after the event.
All in all, despite constant changes in their status quo, when planed right, food trade shows provide unique value and a special marketing channel for trade people in the industry while regardless of their organising method, they remain a backbone for the food industry, especially since event marketing is highly valued for the advantage of face to face interaction among passionate, like-minded professionals.