Getting FIT for the Show
Preparations are now well underway industry wide for the third FIT Show and Leon Day, managing director of Universal Arches, suggests that this could be the most important show yet in the November issue of GGP…
During the good old days of Glassex some 20 years ago companies just simply turned up, took a bucket full of paper-based enquiries and business cards and then processed the new business opportunities in the months following. But the glazing industry is now far slicker, professional and measured in its approach to trade shows.
Granted the FIT Show is nowhere near the grandiose scale of the likes of Batimat or Fensterbau, but nonetheless it’s a fundamentally important part of our industry. Marketing spend has changed over the last two decades and budgets have to a degree fallen within the industry, but companies are becoming smarter in the way in which they engage their target audience.
It’s impossible for us as a brand to penetrate down to the minds of a consumer, though other companies in the trade sector have been able to do this to a degree thanks to marketing spend and dedicated online campaigns via Pay Per Click to generate leads. But companies like Universal Arches have to spend their budgets wisely after all a trade event is a large scale investment and at the FIT Show in 2016, we’ll be the sole representative of the bending sector.
Like the other two FIT Shows, we’ll be looking to outpunch our weight in terms of exposure and we’ll be harnessing on-going PR, advertising and social media before, during and after the show. But what we have done particularly well in previous years is through a sales promotion campaign by means of sponsoring the lanyards, that encompass the show entry badges.
In 2014 we attached a key to the lanyards and so each visitor to the show was presented with a reminder to attempt to open up the arched composite door on the Universal Arches stand and win an iPad Air. In 2014 this generated 1,736 leads, albeit down from 2,087 in 2013. The point is, that there are many other clever ways in which to present your company in front of your target audience at the show and I have to give credit to the gun (silicon) amnesty held by Edgetech at the 2016 FIT Show to aid the promotion of their TruFit product.
For product-led companies the proposition is simple, show off your newest products and ones in which will entice existing and new customers. I’m a firm believer of looking towards your existing customers first for further sales, though as the UK’s largest bending specialist this is a little more difficult. What we did do in 2014 was celebrate our 20th year in business and we re-created our logo in PVCu profiles, which involved 5 bends, an incredible 67 welds and taking 35 man hours in total.
In 2014, we also launched an arched composite door with Solidor as a joint partnership and also agreed to be the sole arching and bending partner for the Residence 9 system, so we had a lot of new products on show and an anniversary to celebrate. We’re often involved early on in the process for new profile developments as we need to be in a position to shape these products right from day 1 and I expect we’ll be involved in the shaping of a few new profiles in the New Year, which will form part of our campaign in the run up to the show.
I cannot over emphasise the importance of the show to our industry and we must support it from an exhibitor’s point of view and work collectively to get as many people in through the doors as possible. With a gala dinner held in the middle of the show, along with meaningful seminars and the Master Fitting Challenge, it’s also a fantastic networking opportunity for us all.
The FIT Show will be the pivotal point from a marketing perspective for 99% of the companies in the industry and to do it well can elevate your brand and products well above your peers. We’re not just all fighting for new customers, but we’re also fighting for better and more rewarding exposure and this can only be achieved with a FIT Show plan to the most exacting of detail.
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