Common Mistakes Made by International Exhibitors: Implementation (4 of 4)
You’ve been tasked with executing a trade show for your company outside of the United States. While at first, this may seem like a plum assignment with high-level executive visibility and several international trips on the horizon, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Reality quickly sets in and you realize you are likely spending in the neighborhood of $100K on a project thousands of miles away - with vendors that you’ve never worked with and probably haven’t met! Before you go too far, recognize that many companies who exhibit at international trade shows make
which fall into three main areas: Planning, Logistics, and Procurement. In this 4-part series: Common Mistakes Made by International Exhibitors, we are identifying these mistakes and suggesting tactics to avoid them in the future. The three earlier topics can be found at: AWARENESS, PREPARATION and COMMUNICATION
Even the best strategies fail due to a lack of proper planning. This is especially the case with exhibiting outside of the United States when circumstances, lead times, established ways, and approaches can be very different from what you know. Often marketers fail to plan properly, assume that things will be very similar to how trade shows and exhibitions happen in the U.S. and ignore intangible cultural differences. The old adage, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” clearly applies when you are embarking on your first international exhibit project. It is wise in these circumstances to do your homework well in advance in order to understand regional and local customs and regulations. You should draw upon the experience and expertise of colleagues (or agencies) who have significant experience outside the U.S.
A common mistake international first-timers make is rooted in the incorrect assumption that it would be too complicated, or that they cannot get the quality they expect without building in the U.S. As a result, they assume that they should ship their U.S. booth to any international shows. Shipping a booth from country to country not only produces unnecessary wear and tear on the booth property, but may dramatically increase exhibiting cost with overseas transportation. You also face the potential of damages, delays in customs, and electrical challenges, to name just a few.
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