How to Prepare for Participation in Trade Fairs?

How to Prepare for Participation in Trade Fairs?

Finally, the opportunity to participate in fairs and conferences is back. Forecasts indicate that in 2022 there will be a gradual return to the economic state before the pandemic, and the market will grow steadily in the coming years.

Trade fairs are always a unique opportunity to show the world what we do on a daily basis, present the methods of our work, and pass on our experience to others. It is also an opportunity to acquire new customers and business partners. So how do you prepare for participation in the fair and make the most of this time? The most important thing is to choose an event, including the decision whether to come to one in Poland or go abroad. If you want to go to a different country, you should first know whether the company is ready to show up in international markets. There are more questions regarding the choice of the fair. I encourage you to do your homework and answer them.

The level of satisfaction – for both image and financial – depends on how much time you devote to preparing the answers. Below, I’ve shared my checklist, which will help you in deciding on participation and choosing the right trade fair:

  1. Are we ready to acquire new customers?
  2. Can the team going to the fair tell about the technical aspects of the product? Do they understand the technology, and can they present its business application?
  3. Can the team talk about the product not only in Polish but also in English? How about other languages? (For example, if we decide to go to a fair in Italy, you can be sure that the talks will begin in Italian.)
  4. Do we have an idea for a booth arrangement? Stands and roll-ups alone may not be enough to stand out. They often act as a deterrent and do not attract attention at all.
  5. Do we have any idea how to attract people who don’t know us to the booth? What’s going to happen in it?
  6. Have we informed customers and business partners that we will be at the event? Perhaps it will be an opportunity to meet and expand cooperation.
  7. Have we defined success rates? How will we know that participation in the event was successful? (Believing that inquiries will start coming is not enough. Define precisely how many queries you would like, and then calculate how much they actually cost you to obtain).
  8. Does marketing cooperate with sales well enough that people working there can communicate information about companies interested in a partnership?
  9. Have we chosen people who will contact new customers?

Fairs? The Team Is Key!

The fair is first and foremost a meeting of person to person. And although the location of your booth and the idea for the arrangement is extremely important, the team that will go to represent the company will be the most important factor.

Even the best location and the most creative presentation will not give as much as a brave and personable team. Why? Specialists who are too shy to approach and talk to a stranger and encourage them to visit your booth will not do much.

What is the perfect set of personality traits for the fair? You should decide on people who are communicative, curious, and cheerful, who like people and talking to them. Participation in the event should be good fun for them, not torture. The above questions also clearly indicate that you should be represented at the fair by people who know technology well, as well as those who understand business.

During the event, there will certainly be a lot of fans of technology and fans of the most complex solutions. But there will also be people who will be oriented towards business and its development. Not everyone combines knowledge in both areas, so it is worth choosing people who will complement each other in this area.

Conferences and Events Accompanying the Fair

The fair is a real holiday for the industry. Under one roof, you can meet the companies that create it, as well as listen to interesting speeches and take part in workshops or discussion panels. I wrote about how to prepare for the latter in Discussion Panels: How to Use Their Potential.

The conference is often a great opportunity to share the conclusions of implementation, observations, or lessons learned. This is when you have a chance to invite potential customers who visit your stand and encourage them to get to know your work better. It is worth choosing a person who will present the company from its best possible angle. Ideally, they would be trained in public speaking and would feel comfortable in this role.

Jak przygotować się do udziału w targach

If more people participate in the event, it is worth dividing your team, taking into account the diversity of the audience. One person could join a workshop with an interesting topic, someone else might want to see what the competition will talk about, and a third representative can visit individual stands and look for partners.

Of course, roles can be assigned on the spot. However, planning and deciding who does what and when will allow you to control the team at the booth. You’ll avoid a situation where suddenly there’s no one around.

The fair may prove to be a very good sales and promotional tool. The keys to success are adequate preparation for participation, planning how you will show up and what you will say, and knowing how you will stand out. The better you plan all communication before the event, the more satisfied you will be with the work, during, and after.

Effective E-commerce Communication in the Media, Step by Step

Effective E-commerce Communication in the Media, Step by Step

You create your store or solution for e-commerce. You decide for hours what it will be and what great results it will bring. Finally, there is the desired publication of the product on the web and… nothing.

The solution, which costs you so much time and energy, suddenly does not find much interest. What is going on? A basic mistake in the communication of e-commerce solutions may be the lack of a prepared strategy, i.e., the language of benefits for potential customers, as well as a marketing and PR plan.

If you are developing and operating in the e-commerce industry and directing your solutions to B2B customers, this article is for you.

Is E-commerce Communication a Difficult Art?

When you start working on communicating your products, ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you will know that you have achieved your goal. Maybe you need this communication to find an investor, increase sales, or just be aware of the market. Why is this so important? I know many entrepreneurs who wanted the media to write about them. Then there were articles in the press, statements on the radio, and sometimes even appearances on TV. But when I asked during the meetings how the development of the company was going, the answer indicated that it was only average.

And that’s where you have to ask yourself, “Why is this event happening?” The first thing we should remember is that communication does not bring results right away. It is building the company’s image and educating potential customers, to whom we explain what our product is used for, who it is addressed to, and what problem it solves. Yes, it is often the case that someone reads an article about us and immediately writes that they are interested in cooperation because that is what they needed. However, it usually takes more time for the scale of activities to produce results.

Another thing is to define measures that will allow you to determine whether the communication brings the expected results. There are often situations where entrepreneurs are so excited about the fact that the media is interested in their activities that they forget about the purpose of communication. They focus mainly on the number of publications in the media.

Such a measure may be, among others, increased traffic on the website, inquiries about the possibility of testing your solution, or an invitation to cooperation.

Where Can I Find Customers for the E-commerce Industry?

Once you’ve set your goals, the next step is to prepare the appropriate list of media you want to appear in. But that’s not it. Also prepare a list of events and other places where you can talk about your project. And here is a small hint: if you offer your services to business customers, the media channels that are worth appearing in are, among others: Forbes, My Company, E-commerce Magazine, or There are, of course, many more. Your choice should depend on which of them your target group reads and what kind of service or product you offer.

Once you know what media is right for your business, there’s an analysis of what you’ve already written about the industry you’re in. Maybe the competition’s already there. If so, see how their solution was presented, what was the focus of the article, and what drew journalists’ attention. This is a very important analysis, which leads us to the next point.

Skuteczna komunikacja e-commerce w mediach krok po kroku

What Do I Want to Talk About?

You’ll probably answer: “About the product.” However, I will say right away that in the case of cooperation with journalists, it is not so simple. If you only want to talk about what you do, you can be sure that they will direct you to the advertising department immediately. Your success depends largely on your specific knowledge of the needs of journalists.

How to find journalists interested in e-commerce?

If you want to start an adventure with company communication yourself, after choosing the media and analyzing how they write about the topic you are interested in, learn who is the author of these texts. Usually, the articles are signed with their name, and under the text, you can often find the contact details of a journalist.

There is one goal: you want to show yourself and your company in e-commerce or technology, and you can do it in several different ways.

Press Releases

These are materials most often presenting a current situation, implementation, the introduction of new functionality, etc. Such content is usually sent to a wider group of selected journalists dealing with the related subject matter.

What exactly can press releases be about? They can talk about opening new offices and hiring a large number of employees, personnel changes in senior positions of companies, gaining significant funds, interesting partnerships, international expansion, important industry events, or new implementations in the field of e-commerce.

Reports and Studies

Data, analyses, and numbers – there what are constantly needed in the world of media. If your technology allows you to create a report showing a change in the world of e-commerce that not everyone is aware of yet, then this should be used. You can also count on the interest of journalists if you show the purchasing behavior of a selected group of customers, supporting it with an interesting analysis.

Generalities, phrases such as “it seems to us” or “probably,” are neither interesting nor do they add anything. Materials that actually present how your business is developing will gain significant media interest.

Dedicated Content

The media is constantly looking for experts who can share their knowledge and practical approach, show certain trends, and present these through the eyes of the practitioner. Sometimes there are also published columns showing the directions of development that you notice and that can help others in the business. This is what articles, statements, and studies are dedicated to.

I would add two additional categories to these, which I discuss below.

  1. The approach from the general to the detailed. This assumes that you present how, for example, artificial intelligence changes our purchasing behavior. You talk about the directions of development and present what is associated with such changes. Very rarely will you be able to talk about your product. The “detail” I am thinking of at this point is signing you with your name and the name of the company you represent.
  2. Approach from detailed to general—the media, especially that which specializes in a given subject, is very fond of case studies. By presenting an implementation, you have a chance to present your knowledge and experience and the technology you work with. You must keep the figures and conclusions in mind. It is best that they show the bright and dark sides of a specific implementation, and talk about what you would do differently next time and what advice you would give yourself for subsequent such situations, etc.

A day, maybe two, after sending the material, it is good to contact journalists to whom we sent press releases or reports. Every day, they receive hundreds of emails from other entities, similarly willing to show their work. The better the relationships you have with them, the faster and easier it will be to develop cooperation. However, this takes time.

Every stick always has two ends. This means that a journalist may also want something from you, e.g., a statement or comment on the topic they are interested in. I don’t advise you to delay answering because if you do, there will be someone else to take your place. I also advise against rushing media workers. Too much intrusive contact could turn on you. The topic that you propose may not be attractive for a journalist at a given moment, but it could be after some time. Unfortunately, the editorial rules are absolute, and you have to comply with them. However, if you urgently need to publish, consider commercial activities and pay for publishing the article.

Skuteczna komunikacja e-commerce w mediach krok po kroku

When Do I Start Communicating in E-commerce?

What is the best time to start product communication? The answer will probably not please you, because it cannot be precisely defined. It depends on the type of solution you offer, how much competition you have in this area, whether the media has already written about it, and the level of advancement of your project.

Cooperation with the media in e-commerce is a demanding task, but it gives significant opportunities for business development. It requires a thorough analysis of the industry and knowledge of the specifics of journalists’ work and time. Such work allows for building lasting relationships with the media, which will then result in recognition and the building of a stable, reliable brand.

The most important questions you should ask yourself before starting communication are:
  1. Whom am I talking to?
  2. When should I start communicating?
  3. Where should I appear with my message (which media, events, etc.)?
  4. How should I talk about my product?
  5. Why is the product worth attention?
  6. What will the reader gain from using our product?
The article was published in the E-commerce Magazine April-May 2019 No. 2 (5) / 2019

The Curse of Knowledge in Practice

The Curse of Knowledge in Practice

Has it ever happened to you that someone asks you how to prepare something, and you are surprised that this person does not already know? You get a proposal to write an article and suddenly all that comes to your mind are the same obvious things, and thoughts such as, “After all, everyone already knows this; I have nothing interesting/revealing/innovative to say?” I do this very often, and I commonly encounter such a situation with customers.

I was recently asked to write answers to a few simple questions about my work. It took me less than 10 minutes to answer all of them, and I was happy to show them to a colleague of mine from the team. We do this with every article. This way we avoid unnecessary typos, incomprehensible forms, or thought abbreviations. I looked at her, and I could see on her face that she didn’t like what she was reading. More specifically, she didn’t understand. There were too many vague statements; I didn’t explain what came from where. For me, what she was talking about is, to quote the classics, “the obvious.” But it wasn’t for her, and probably not for others. During the reading, my colleague probably thought that I was caught up in the “curse of knowledge.”

Four Levels of Knowledge

When I talk to my friends, they fall into this trap, too. We just think everyone knows everything. And after all, there is the principle of the four levels of knowledge.

  1. I don’t know that I don’t know. It represents the knowledge that we have no idea exists. For us, a person in this situation could be an ideal user of our client’s solutions, who does not know that he does not know about the existence of a solution that can help him, and the task is to inform him about it through various forms of communication. Or, I don’t know if there’s another Anita in the world who works in communication on a daily basis.
  2. I know that I do not know. I know that I have some shortcomings in a given area. I can do something about it, or I can’t. For example, I know that I don’t speak Chinese, and I don’t really engage in learning it.
  3. I know that I know. That is, I am aware that I am able to do something and I can do it. For example, I know that I know the multiplication table.
  4. I don’t know that I know. And this is where the curse of knowledge begins. So, I don’t know that I can do something or know something—I just do it.

Why is something that we have been working on for so long called the “curse of knowledge” and not the “gold medal for knowledge”? Because this skill, sometimes routine, causes us to often underestimate ourselves, our achievements, and how much it cost us to gain this valuable experience. By this, we might price our services cheaper than we should.

This “curse” may also mean that we are not able to present our knowledge well enough during conferences, speeches on the radio or TV, or when writing an article because we will use generalities. As a result, we do not take advantage of these opportunities very well.

Klątwa wiedzy w praktyce

Jak sobie radzić z klątwą wiedzy?

Handwriting makes me think differently. I always start with preparing an article or creating a schema of speaking at a conference by listing things that are important in a given topic. It is not a systematic list, but rather a loose reflection, a case study that may fit, and interesting examples. Only then do I organize them and arrange them into a story. I cross out what’s unnecessary.

However, it is at that time, when I am doing such brainstorming on paper, that I notice that I have more to say about the subject than I initially thought.

I present my ideas to someone outside the environment.

The next, very important stage for me is the verification of this story. Is everything clear? Did I skip a stage that was obvious to me but is not necessarily for someone else? In turn, I try to present my point of view and make sure that the presented materials are clear, and one results from the other.

It is here that I most often catch the obvious issues for myself, and for another person, it could perhaps be full of understatements. I also notice how often it is difficult for me to explain precisely the issues that are obvious to me.

It is good to have people around you who will read the material, whom we can present our presentation to, and thus make sure that we can explain what we do in a way that is understandable to others.

I am not even able to mention how many times I have written something, happy to show it to the chosen person and already counting on a positive opinion, and… I see the consternation on their face. “I don’t understand anything here,” I hear, or “But what is this…?” As a result, I inquire, supplement and, in fact, this person draws out specifics from me. Then I hear, “And how do you do it every day?”; “How do you start?” Without analyzing too much, I just answer, and—eureka. That’s what was missing!

On the one hand, I love that “squeezing” of valuable content out of myself, because sometimes I do not realize it’s there. On the other hand, it can be really tiring.

klątwa wiedzy w praktyce

3. I ask others what elements of my work may be interesting to them.

Another issue is our perception of readers, viewers, or listeners. When we listen carefully to the questions that our interlocutors ask us during the job interview, we will see what topics are interesting to them.

Informal meetings, social outings for coffee—this is my treasure trove of ideas. I can’t count how many times my loved ones have asked me, “But what do you even make money on?” “What exactly is your job?” I once went on a trip to Kilimanjaro with friends. We have known each other for a while and have climbed many peaks together, and each expedition is a lot of conversation and confession. We go on a bus and talk to people we just met. Everyone tells me what they do—one runs a kindergarten, the other runs a factory, and finally, it is my turn. They look at me and there is a moment of silence… “I still don’t know what you really do,” I hear.

And then I go home, and I think about what I should improve in my communication so that others understand what I do in the company. If I, the person in charge of communication, am not making this clear enough, then how much work must be done by people who are more technical in explaining their projects?

Looking at these reactions, I can see my work from a completely new perspective, thus far unknown to me. I see what fascinates others in my activity and what may be suitable to show the world, even though it seems obvious to me, and I find out where I use industry vocabulary that is not understood by everyone.


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