I found myself wandering around SIAL just recently – the massive food and beverage exhibition fair on the Pudong side of the river in Shanghai. In case you don’t know: 66,000 visitors and 2,900 exhibitors – the words overwhelming only begin to describe it.
From Spanish wines to hummus chips, there is something for everyone. In fact, I spied several old codgers who looked like they were stocking up on samples for a long, dry, hungry summer. Big bags full of very small pieces of sample cheese, and they were slightly wobbly from the Italian pavilion – plenty of sample wine to test. OK I’ll admit to sampling some of the fine fare myself.
But mostly you have retailers, distributors and wholesalers looking for their next big catch. On the other side you have eager, excited China new entrants, wondering how they ran out of business cards so quickly.
Yes, in the age of digital, with all of our WeChats and blogs, nothing can really replace an exhibition for checking out new stuff and meeting new people. How can we optimize our exhibition stand and setup? Here are a few tips, all part of our Marketing in China series.
10 Tips for Exhibitions in China
- Take the correct sized booth – I saw a HUGE booth with one little table in the middle. And the exhibitors were all sitting around their small table chatting with each other, a little too intimidating for visitors.
- Take plenty of samples – Also make sure you ship them to China early, Customs is slow to process.
- Do something different or new – You are competing with thousands of other booths. We saw creative ways to use Augmented/Visual Reality; keep on the forefront of experiential marketing to find new ways to attract visitors.
- Staff your booth with Chinese speakers – Although foreign models in mini-skirts carries a certain appeal, when it’s time to do business you better have someone there who can help further the conversation.
- Plenty of marketing collaterals in Chinese – These will run out quickly. Make sure they are well translated. Does your message resonate with your target customer?
- Collect data – A great chance to see what Chinese think of your products or services. Hire a few freelancers to collect data with some small giveaway.
- Book a good location – Don't wait until the last minute. At the Bicycle Expo a few weeks ago we went in the wrong door and ended up at the farthest exhibition hall from the main entrance. We were the only ones there.
- Do something special with the decoration – Even with small 9m2 booths you can do something special. Everything you rent from the organizer will be expensive, and a little sad. Go to some effort to stand out.
- Make your products accessible, and ensure they look good.
- Invite target customers – Spend some time to research potential targets and invite them.