Industry Trade Shows (ITS), what are they, who attends them and why? Are they important to a Franchisor for recruitment lead generation, useful for building the brand, a good public relations exercise or just a huge waste of MONEY!!!!
ITS events are conducted over one or more days concurrently, by almost every industry sector and are conducted annually, bi- annually, monthly; locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Usually comprised of an exhibition supported by information dissemination activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops, forums focusing on relevant themes, an ITS also has business and social networking opportunities and entertainment activities.
Whether open to the public or exclusive to a sector, ITS’ can take months to organise and affect tens, hundreds or even thousands of stakeholders, who have their own expectations and reasons for attending.
Professionally organised ITS’ supported by key industry players, addressing relevant themes can be exhilarating, motivating and are excellent vehicles for meeting a wide range of expectations.
So, who are the stakeholders at an ITS and what are their expectations?
• A leading Industry Group usually owns the event, as they act on behalf of the sector (an association/government oversight group) or for a group of interested parties.
• Event organisers appointed by owner to run the event.
• Exhibitors who display their goods and services to the industry are the backbone of every ITS and because of a monetary investment, they have a number of expectations.
o To positively showcase their offer to the relevant audience
o A chance to benchmark the company against others
o An opportunity to show industry support by event participation
o Especially for franchisors, recruitment marketing activities and franchisee lead generation opportunities are key.
• Sponsors sourced from key industry participants look for credibility, by being seen as an industry supporter and friend, whilst building brand awareness through cost effective exposure to the industry.
• Speakers sometimes augmented by celebrities and VIP’s are mostly industry experts and recognised market leaders, willing to share information and business wisdom through activities such as seminars, workshops, forums and conferences.
• Delegates, the audience of every ITS come from all areas including; industry leaders, media, businesses, personnel, relevant associations or governing bodies and the public. Delegates attend for many reasons; to learn about the industry, to hear the speakers, to purchase from exhibitors, to buy a franchise, to find a new career, to network, to compare competitor offers, to benchmark their endeavours against competitors, or just to have a good time.
These simple guidelines will help determine if participation in an ITS will be of value:
• Identify where the franchise system is in its development; an emerging or mature franchisor?
• Assess the ITS to ensure the vehicle can deliver desired opportunities
• Identify the ITS target audience
• Who will be attending and is it the right target audience for you?
• If so, what part can you play in the ITS; an exhibitor, sponsor, delegate?
• Identify, enumerate and prioritise reasons for attending and expected outcomes
• Prepare an accurate budget for participation, including internal costs
• Prepare an accurate measure of participation benefits that would be considered successful enough to offset participation costs.
Now make a comparison between expectations versus achievable results. Then compare the success required to the financial outlay and it will be clear whether or not attendance will be worth the investment of time, effort, resources and money.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSR Media. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Managing Director of Herson Communication Services Pty Limited, Michele Herson is a specialist in Franchise Recruitment Marketing, Sponsorships and Strategic Alliances, Exhibition and Event Management, National Marketing and Public Relations campaigns, Video Production and Media Training.
Website address: www.hersons.com.au.
Telephone: (02) 9029 2901.