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    Attending Exhibition Shows To Gain Competitive Advantage

    Competitive advantage is evident all around us, in everyday life and in business. In running the 100m sprints, the fastest runner has a competitive advantage over his peers. In running the Comrades Marathon, the runner with the best combination of speed, stamina and determination possesses the competitive advantage. The very same applies to organisations who opt to integrate exhibiting into their annual marketing strategy.

    Exhibition shows are usually focused around the following elements: lead generation, brand promotion, message distribution, networking, and…competition. It is the approach, and the attitude that the exhibitor carries into the exhibiting process that determines the level of success. Yes, exhibiting at an exhibition show, when done correctly is an investment.

    According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), understanding learning preferences can help exhibitors market, and ultimately sell to attendees. Needless to say, it is considered reasonably wise for exhibitors to make it a point to learn new things from their competitors at each exhibition show they attend; this is the official starting point when aiming towards gaining competitive advantage.

    “Understanding the learning preference of attendee organizations as it relates to purchasing, offers invaluable insights to organizers and exhibitors that are helpful for development of event content and marketing strategies,” says CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau.

    The next time you, as an exhibitor, contemplate exhibiting at a specific exhibition show; take the time to ask yourself the following questions:
    - Do I understand the learning preference of the audience that is expected to attend this show?
    - Did I learn anything from the previous exhibition show I attended?
    - Have I done any research on the opportunities available to make my brand stand out?
    - Have I discussed my exhibition objectives with my exhibition stand designer, exhibition stand builder and exhibition stand project manager?
    - Have I attempted to work together with the organiser?

    Answering these questions will encourage the exhibitor to identify “blind spots” and make use of all avenues to ensure that they’re a step ahead of their competitors.

    It is also crucial that exhibitors remember that it is not only about the amount of traffic that flocks to one exhibition stand, and yes that is something every exhibitor should hope for, but it is more important to focus on what the attendee takes with them. Is there new knowledge included in the messages communicated on the exhibition stand? Were perceptions changed? Was there positive interaction? Did you gain any leads? Careful evaluation of these questions should push exhibitors in the right direction.

    Information retrieved from the following source: “
    - Successful Meetings - Report Explores Link Between Learning Preferences, Purchasing at Exhibitions
    - “The Importance of Competitive Advantage” – written by Nicholas van der Meer




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