Comtec’s checklist for promoting at international exhibitions overseas

If you’re looking to export your products and services to new overseas markets you’ve probably considered booking a space at an international trade show or exhibition for your business sector. At the right event you’ll get the opportunity to meet a targeted audience of buyers, suppliers, prospects and the press – all of which will help to build business connections as well as giving you the opportunity to obtain valuable insights into your chosen market.

Exhibiting at an international exhibition may feel like a “make-or-break” situation as you launch your brand in a new market. But you can also use it for quality market research. For example, it can be a chance to overcome objections to purchasing decisions, to launch a new product and to evaluate the competition.

International trade show checklist

How you measure the success of an overseas trade show for your business will depend entirely on your objectives. Whatever these may be, good preparation is essential. To this end here is our handy checklist to help you cover all bases ahead of exhibiting overseas:

  1. Have you got funding? Why finance a trade show alone when there is funding available to enable UK companies to do business overseas? UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides matched funding to eligible businesses (up to a certain level), as well as advice and support from trade experts.
  2. Identify the right trade show. If you’re accessing funding through TAP, the trade show you attend will be one of those identified by the programme. But if you’re going it alone it’s essential that you do plenty of research into a suitable event. Even if your choices are limited in the region you wish to do business in, this research will help you develop a strategy specifically for that event.
  3. What’s your budget? Even with funding you’ll need a reasonable budget if you want to make an impact. Not only are there exhibition costs such as space fees, stands, promotional materials etc., you’ll also need a travel budget including shipping costs for displays, marketing collateral and products to the venue.
  4. Marketing plan. You’ll want to ensure you have an effective marketing plan and supportive promotional materials for the exhibition. Your plan might include a pre-show strategy, letting prospects know that you’re attending the show, at-show marketing and of course a follow up afterwards. All supportive marketing material will need to be targeted at your new market, so everything from banners, leaflets, business cards, goodie bags, brochures etc., will need to be localised and translated for this audience. Comtec translates marketing materials for leading international exhibitions company UKIP Media and Events on a daily basis. Discover more about how we support their activities here.
  5. Don’t forget digital! It’s not just print and physical promotional material that will need localisation. You’ll also need to apply this to any multimedia content that you plan on utilising at your stand. If you’re planning to use resources that have already been created, there are cost effective ways of localising this content. For example using subtitles on a video is generally an easy fix given that a busy trade hall will be too noisy for audio to be heard anyway.
  6. Have you booked an interpreter? Although an overseas exhibition is a great opportunity to network face-to-face and build personal connections, you’ll want to be sure you’re understood. Offering a global interpretation service, Comtec can provide you with an interpreter for your stand. Depending on location and budget, the interpreter may accompany you overseas for the duration of your trip overseas, or be based locally to support you on the day of the exhibition. To get the best out of your interpreter it’s essential that they are fully briefed on your business, brand, services and product to ensure they convey these perfectly. Make sure you provide us with any relevant materials in advance to help our linguist prepare! To find out more, read our top tips for interpreting.
  7. Learn greetings and key phrases. Learning some key phrases yourself in the language of the country in which you’re exhibiting will also help build relationships with potential customers, investors or suppliers as Comtec’s James Brown explains in this post: Considering a new market? Why take the time to learn the language?
  8. Listen to feedback. Your first international trade show is going to be a steep learning curve, however well prepared you are. Use any feedback on your stand, display, marketing material and how your product or service is presented, to inform your next exhibition or show.

If you’re planning to exhibit at an international trade show and require translation support for your display and marketing materials or would like to book an interpreter to facilitate communication with potential customers, please get in touch on or call us on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681. We’re here ready and waiting to help.

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