International exhibitions are a great way to showcase your medical products and services to a global audience and find out about the latest trends in the sector. However, there are some important aspects to consider before, during and after your participation, to ensure you get the highest return on your investment. Melissa Erwin, Senior International Officer at Medilink UK, shares what exhibitors should do to make sure they get the most out of their presence at international events.
1. Pick the right event
With a huge variety of sector-specific healthcare events across the world, you need to decide which one is the most relevant to your business – and your audience. Are you planning to target buyers and distributors in the Middle East? Or maybe you’re keen to network with healthcare professionals and government representatives from South Africa? Make sure that the exhibition you choose is also the most reputable or biggest in the region, as these tend to attract the largest numbers of visitors.
2. Get organised
Set measurable and realistic goals – what do you want to achieve through exhibiting? Estimating and calculating this may be quite difficult, especially if you’re a first-time exhibitor, so take your time. Once you tick if off, the next step is to book your place – ideally, as early as possible, as you are likely to find early booking offers or cheaper rates – including for travel and accommodation. Medilink UK offer a range of services to help make your experience stress-free and cost-effective, such as through working with a specialist travel and freight provider.
When planning your exhibition, don’t forget to reach for professional support and advice from trade associations and advisors, such as from the Department for International Trade.
3. Book the correct stand size
Think of the sizing of your products, promotional materials and furniture to estimate what stand size you will need. You can seek advice from your pavilion organiser (such as Medilink UK) who will happily offer options based on your budget and goals from the outset.
4. Plan your space
Your stand is your selling point – make sure it is easily accessible and clearly includes your brand assets and key messages that you want to convey. Think about any promotional materials that you may need, such as leaflets or brochures, and whether it may be worth translating these to the local language.
5. Promote your presence at the show
Spread the word about your participation, either via your social media channels, email signatures, website, or all of them. This way, people will have already recognised you, which will facilitate further networking.
Many exhibitions now offer digital platforms to complement a physical show and encourage networking after the event, so consider utilising this online side to maximise your reach and brand awareness.
Don’t assume that exhibiting simply means staying in front of your stand and handing out marketing brochures. It is your chance to network with a range of healthcare professionals from around the globe and showcase the best of your company, so be engaged and approachable. If there are multiple staff members, make sure you have a plan on how you will interact with visitors and who will be visiting other halls, so that you can maximise your team’s productivity.
Different countries have different cultures and customs – it is important that you do your research and familiarise yourself with these prior to the show.
Some of the best leads may come at the end, so never leave early – stay until the end of the event and make the most out of it – you have spent a lot of time, effort and resources to be there!
7. Capture and follow up on your leads
Think about what specific information you would need about your leads and what’s the best way to gather it. Check if there are any scanning devices or other convenient options offered by the organisers to streamline the process and make it as easy as possible.
Consider how you will follow up with your leads, including who will be responsible for this – it is important that you set goals and timelines in advance.
Planning your presence for exhibitions requires time and effort – after the event, make sure to evaluate this process. Did you meet your goals? Was there something that could have been improved? You will learn from this experience and be able to make your next participation even more cost-effective and worthwhile.
Over the years, the International team at Medilink UK have supported a huge range of healthcare and life sciences companies at some of the largest exhibitions and trade shows in the world. We offer professional assistance and cost-effective packages to make sure you achieve the highest return on your investment. To find out about our international event calendar and how we can support you, visit https://www.medilink.co.uk/international-support-and-exhibitions.
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