Exhibiting 101 – Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions

Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions

1. Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions

Trade exhibitions (including congresses and conferences) in particular are an excellent means to interact directly with your target audience. They are hugely cost-effective relative to other medias and in most cases by far the cheapest method to attain a direct audience with your exact target.

A good example is a Pharmaceutical company that specialises in Oncology medicines. Being at relevent Oncology conferences will certainly introduce them to their target audience. These conferences are a forum where like-minded individuals will gather and WANT to learn about new products or advances  (in the case of doctors they have to attend a certain amount of conferences a year). As it is the doctors who are the key decision makers, being visible, relevant(!) and top of mind is crucial. SA Heart spring to mind as a good example conference

Consumer exhibitions are, however, a different kettle of fish. Generally speaking consumer shows have a far higher foot traffic than trade exhibitions. Think 500 delegates for a smallish trade show and 50 000 for a medium consumer show. Consumer shows are far less targeted although you can be sure that the visitors are still very interested in what you have to say or they would not be there in the first place. The difference is that you need to be far more outspoken and innovative about how you go about exhibiting on consumer shows….else you wont be noticed. The Argus Cycle tour is a good example. At the Argus exhibition you are guaranteed an audience to 50000 cycle mad enthusiasts and hanger-oners

So, it’s no good a pharma company that needs to sell to doctors being at a consumer show…wrong audience. In most cases the doctors prescribe a drug based on their knowledge. There are exceptions, but this is generally the case.

Occasionally there are shows that are aimed at both the consumer and trade. A great example is the Cape Town Book Fair. Here both small and large companies can target an audience that includes both spectrums. What is excellent here is that the corporate side of companies can do the deals whilst also speaking directly to their consumer audience. Different areas can be setup to facilitate the differing interaction needs. Whilst a consumer may just want to chat about so-and-so’s new book release, a trade delegate will want privacy to discuss a potential deal worth millions.

So step one in deciding on what shows to exhibit…do you want to target trade, consumer or both…this may sound like basic stuff here, but you would be amazed at how many companies get it wrong.

If you are unsure of what type of show to exhibit at and need advice on strategising an exhibition effort or campaign get in touch with us. We have over 30 years experience in exhibitions in South africa and Southern Africa.