Trade shows are a major focus for companies to showcase their products and attract new business. Recently, we exhibited at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany March 15 through 21, 2007. For those not familiar with this show, it is one of the largest electronics trade shows in the world with easily 500,000 ~ 750,000 visitors in a massive convention center covering over 26 separate halls. One could easily go into electronics overload at a show like this. CeBIT covers every possible electronic instrument from circuit boards to cars and yes, of course duplication equipment and blank media. We had a 25m3 booth with 4 members of our staff working at the show, including yours truly.
Most trade shows are only 4 days long, but due to the enormous size of this show, it is stretched over 7 days. This is a long haul to work at a trade show for 7 straight days and considering the distance we had to travel to get there (over 6,000 miles) it’s not so easy to just substitute employees and take a day off. Even though it can be draining, it’s a very rewarding show. It allows us to meet with most of our international distributors from all over the globe in one location. This is tremendously beneficial as to visit each one at their locations would not only be very expensive, but also far more time consuming than 7 days. Plus, with a minimum of 8 hours time difference between our corporate office and our closest European distributor, most business is conducted through emails. Often when I get into the office, most of our international distributors are preparing to go home or have long left the office.
In addition to being able to meet face to face with our international channel, attending this show gives us a much better insight into the international market and what their needs and habits are which may differ completely from our North American customer base. It’s amazing how different the culture can be from nation to nation. Buying habits, economies, technology level, environmental requirements, duties/taxes, and so much more can differentiate not just between the USA and the rest of the world but between even neighboring countries. How you would sell something in Germany may be completely different in France and visiting with these customers from around the world as they ask questions gives us an incredible insight into their psyche and buying habits.
In my next entry I’ll discuss more about what I saw and experienced at the show, but for now know that it was an incredible experience and even though it’s the 3rd time I’ve participated, each year I learn something new and gain a better perspective on how we can improve and grow as a company.