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The greatest show on Earth!

Once every two years, the global (not just Europe’s) electronics industry descends on the Bavarian capital of Munich for Electronica, the single biggest electronic component and systems show in the world. Around 2,500 companies that span the extremities of technology and size, set up shop to show off their wares to the attending thousands – these numbered over 73,000 from almost 80 countries  in 2012.

The next Electronica is looming in November this year and most companies that have committed to exhibiting will be well advanced in their planning in terms of booth design and build, staffing, demos and collateral.

Getting ROI on a big Electronica investment

So what should be the objectives of an electronics exhibitor? Well, I think it is fair to say that many companies don’t necessarily apply enough thought and planning to this and often miss some good opportunities that could boost the return for the huge cost associated with being at Electronica. A good ROI does not come from just manning a nice looking booth for four days and chatting politely with passing visitors.

For sure, customer meetings are important, though these are normally social occasions that can help reinforce relationships – the real business being done away from the show halls in Munich. With such a large number of visitors, exhibitors can also hope for and expect to meet decent numbers of ‘new’ contacts, have initial discussions about an application that can then be tenaciously followed-up and maximised after the show.

To achieve success it is important that pre-show staff preparation is thorough, including: training of all stand staff to convey the company objectives for the show; understanding of and confidence in working demos and explaining graphics and other booth material; being fully conversant with the need for, and method of gathering comprehensive and accurate sales lead information; having a pre-agreed rota for stand duty; and knowing all the do’s and dont’s of stand etiquette.

Don’t forget the media!

Perhaps the most commonly overlooked opportunity at trade shows is the great chance they present to talk to the media. The trade press attend shows in huge numbers and they are after interesting stories about new technology and products, industry trends, corporate viewpoints and more; but presented with over 2,500 exhibitors it is unlikely they will find all the ‘good stuff’ unaided.

That’s where PR agencies can come into their own. A good PR agency will have close trade media relationships and a detailed knowledge and understanding of its clients’ technologies, products, strategies and marketing objectives. By utilising these skills, agencies can set up meetings for journalists with key client spokespeople. These are meetings that benefit both client (they get media coverage) and the journalist (they have a story brought to them rather than having to track it down amongst the ‘noise’ of a huge trade show).

Shows are an expensive overhead – especially Electronica – so it is crucial to get a return on the investment by being organised, professional and being seen and heard above the crowd by customers, prospects AND the media.

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