3rd March 2011 0 comments
Earlier this week, GWS Media exhibited at the Federation of Small Businesses' 'Best of the West' Business Exhibition (co-organised by The Best of Bristol), held at Bristol City Football Club grounds (which will soon be the site of the biggest Sainsburys in the South-West, thanks to wednesday's planning permission approval, as the club will be moving to a brand new stadium). It was a well-attended and well-organised event, with a good range of exhibitors. The day flew by in a bustle of catching up with business contacts and meeting new people.
Making the most of catching up: (L-R) David Graves of GWS Media, Paul Dickinson of Dickinson Business Finance, Barry Harvey of Colston Office Centre and Phil Brumfit of BNI
We exhibit at a variety of events throughout the year, and we always find them valuable experiences. Quite apart from securing new leads, the core value of attending a business show in marketing terms can be summarised in the following the 3 points, the 3 'R's of business exhibitions, if you like:

1. Reconnect. A business exhibition is the perfect place to meet up with your existing business network, as well as current clients (we were very pleased to see several at the show, including ONA Ltd whose services include network cabling installation and Acorn Health & Safety, Bristol-based Healthy and Safety training and consultancy). These connections are extremely important to your business, so it's always worthwhile to given another venue in which to cultivate them further. It also offers the opportunity to reconnect with other businesses who you may not have such strong links with, but are part of your local community. They might be direct competitors, where you want to keep an eye on what they are doing, or businesses who might need your services in the future.
2. Recognition. An exhibition is a chance to let other businesses know you exist. In that sense, it is a chance to increase your overall visibility as well as an exercise in brand recognition: a demonstration of your place in the community and a chance to let everyone know what you've doing. For us, tuesday's show was an opportunity to show off our latest video, produced for Bristol Florists, The Florist Ltd, as well as the iPhone App we are developing for a company who specialise in design solutions for healthcare professionals. An exhibition is the perfect setting to communicate who you are at the moment, and, as a result, further secure the connection between your business and a particular service.
3. Register. And finally, exhibiting at a business event, particularly one that is well-attended, is a great opportunity to make new contacts, and thus make sure your company is registering with a new audience. We certainly saw many new faces and met some interesting business, and hope we left a strong impression of what GWS can do for them.

So, while meeting new people is an important part of any business show, we find the other 2 areas are equally important. Any marketing strategy should be aimed at gaining new business, but also at the business you already have - your business should rmain as attractive to existing clients as it is to new prospects, and an exhibition is the ideal place to demonstrate this. Moreover, in the climate of daily, if not minute-to-minute, virtual neworking, the value of face-to-face networking and interaction cannot be stressed enough.