The Effectiveness of Trade Shows in Global Competition
Trade shows are defined as organized market events, which are held at specific periods and places, where a large number of companies present their offers and consumers get informed or buy goods (Pantano 2011). The main advantage of trade shows is that they have the ability both to involve the visitors and to interact with them (Kirchgeorg and Kastner 2010).
However, when analyzing the application of marketing theory in SME, it can be noticed that it often relies on the application of classical marketing models, compared to big businesses (Ling-yee 2008). In fact, Kotler (2003) states that small firms use more informal marketing practices, being sometimes even unstructured and spontaneous when compared to bigger businesses. This application of marketing techniques in small medium enterprises is due to their limited budgets and centralized management structure, compared to bigger companies. Considering this situation, the application of trade shows becomes an important marketing technique for these businesses and today they are considered an integral part of their marketing strategy (Yuksel dhe Voola 2010).
Important to mention is the fact that, along with the other instruments, such as events, road shows and showrooms, trade shows too belong in the two ways communication category. Kirchgeorg and Kastner (2010) point out that this form of communication is mostly focused on sharing experiences with specific target groups, giving them a personal encounter, letting them experience the brand and encouraging emotional appeals. In this context, considering the nature of the business, the industry where it operates and the target audience, the application of trade shows as a communication technique is aiming at creating a direct and personal interaction between the company and its target group, in order to create unique and lasting memories (Kirchgeorg and Kastner 2010).
Moreover, the companies that decide to use trade shows as a communication technique need to plan all the activities that should take place before, during and after the event. In fact, the need to organize all the activities at all these stages is stressed both by academics and by marketing practitioners. Accordingly, Kirchgeorg and Kastner (2010) state that in order to have successful trade shows there is a need to plan systematically all the related activities during preparatory, implementation and follow-up phases. Importantly, this process must be integrated in the company’s communication mix strategy. Similar to other marketing activities, Gabrielli and Balboni (2010) state that even the trade show technique must follow specific steps: situation analysis; definition of trade show marketing objectives; definition of the trade show marketing strategy; planning of the trade show marketing mix; implementation; control and evaluation.