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Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions – Exhibiting 101

Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions

Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions is a difference in terminology that is important for businesses and organizations to grasp.

Trade shows are typically industry-specific events where manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors showcase their products and services to other businesses.

Consumer exhibitions, on the other hand, are events where companies display their products and services to the general public.

Both Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important for businesses to understand the differences between trade vs consumer exhibitions in order to make the most of their participation.

Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions in South Africa

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions, including their similarities and differences, and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will also provide tips on making the most out of exhibiting at these events.

Trade 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 media and in most cases by far the cheapest method to attain a direct audience with your exact target. These conferences are a forum where like-minded individuals will gather and WANT to learn about new products or advances

A good example is a Pharmaceutical company that specializes in Oncology medicines. Attending relevant Oncology conferences will certainly introduce them to their target audience, in this case, doctors, who have to attend a certain number of conferences a year. As the doctors 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

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 small 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. Failing which, you won’t be noticed.

The Argus Cycle tour is a good example of a consumer exhibition. At the Argus exhibition, you are guaranteed an audience of 50000 cycle enthusiasts and supporters.

Exceptions to the rule

Occasionally there are shows that are aimed at both the consumer and trade. A great example is the Cape Town Book Fair. In this case, 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.

Various target audiences can be directed to different areas that can be set up to facilitate unique 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.

Where does your brand fit in?

So step one, is to consider the difference between Trade vs Consumer Exhibitions, then to decide 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 strategizing an exhibition effort or campaign get in touch with us. We have over 30 years of experience in exhibitions in South Africa and Southern Africa.

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