Trade Exhibitions like ITCN Asia – Pro’s vs Con’s

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ITCN Asia is just around the corner and a number of organizations who booked stalls, both local & international, are now gearing up to show their presence at this world renowned  event. So what a better time than now to look at some of the pro’s and con’s that can be had from event participation.


The one enticing aspect of ITCN is that it’s trade centric. Because it focuses solely on IT & Telecom, it’s a great way to be known in that space. With over 130 organizations participating and over 40,000 expected visitors in around 3 days, ITCN does have much to offer any company willing to shell out the big bucks. You get to brand yourself, be known as a specific provider, and get to see your competition. Also, you get to meet a number of people within your industry, whom you would normally not in the daily grind of life. Which brings us to the next point.

Trade exhibitions are a great way to get leads. A sale, big or small, often begins with a single, humble lead. It is more relevant in the IT & Telecom space, which due to their B2B nature, require a significant amount  of effort put into maturing a lead before a deal is signed. With sales cycles as long as 2 years in some cases, it’s generally a good idea to have a whole lot of good leads around instead of running after a few. Though it does require dilligence on part of the sales team to keep a regular follow up, because of it’s very nature some leads taper off.

There’s also the aspect of being abreast of what’s happening in the market. IT & Telecom is a rapidly advancing field, and while you may ‘know’ whats happening and what kinds of products are coming out, it may very well be out of date before you even realize it. ITCN and other such exhibitions give a two-sided advantage here, they let you present your own latest, cutting edge technologies to the world and take in the current view of the market in terms of competition and general customer interest.


While it’s hard for me to chalk out any many con’s of participation in a trade event, there is one which glaringly come to mind. It is the huge cost involved with event participation. I’ll talk more about these costs later, but they come in terms of the participation cost, the materials, and most importantly, the time involved in creating all of it.

Also, in some cases, it might serve as a kind of distraction for the organization from regular work, again dumping it back in terms of opportunity costs.

That’s about it from my end, do you have any more in mind? Please share! Next, i’ll be talking about what to project to potential clients during a tradeshow event.

Facebook comments:


  • The pros and cons of trade shows are well presented above. Trade shows provide rare opportunities to physically get in front of potential clients and to speak face-to-face. Two weeks at trade shows can be more productive than two years of cold calling. Quicker too.

    Three challenges associated with trade shows are:

    1. Picking the right trade shows.
    2. Maintaining personal contacts when follow up calls are made.
    3. Managing information collected at trade shows.

    Each challenge is addressed below.

    Picking the right trade shows can be difficult for companies that adopt the herd mentality. Too often at BPO or call centre conferences there will be dozens of service providers, lined up in adjacent booths, all pitching to a small number of potential clients.

    It is easy for service providers to overshoot the optimal market entry point and find themselves pitching to competitors or equipment and software vendors who are not potential clients.

    An outsourcing service provider with a specialty in accounting services could be better served by picking out trade shows where their potential clients can be found, but where competitors will not. For example, at trade shows for operators of retail stores, law offices and other businesses with a need for accounting services, there may be no other accounting services vendor present. The outsourcing vendor who participates can find that they have all the potential clients to themselves.

    A call centre seeking to undertake soft collections work may be better served by sending their people to a trade show for electrical utilities than to a collections conference. All electrical utilities need to arrange for assistance calling customers with delinquent bills. There will be less sales pressure for the call centre’s representatives in this setting because competitors will not be milling about, distracting and diverting potential customers.

    A problem that sales people have at trade shows is recognizing and recording the contact preferences of people they meet. For example, if someone is not actively looking to buy, they may appreciate a call once every 6-12 months to see how their business is going. But if they receive aggressive sales calls on a weekly or daily basis, they may speak badly about such a vendor.

    If callbacks are made by someone the potential client has never met, the benefits from making a personal contact at a trade show will be lost.

    The head marketing person at a trade show may not engage in routine callbacks. But if that person introduces (directly or indirectly) a junior colleague to the potential client on a trade show floor, then the personal connection may be maintained and follow up calls can be more productive. Follow up calls can be placed by the junior, with the senior being brought into the call (supported by a screen pop of the prospect’s information) once the prospect begins to be engaged on the telephone.

    IT/ITeS companies can resemble cobblers whose children run barefoot in that they often lack sales force management software or CRM software. In B2B sales, numerous calls usually need to be made in order for a sale to occur. Without the ability to track callbacks and prompt follow up calls, sales will be lost and marketing efforts wasted.

  • anthony: nice put! the part about managing contacts is something i had not thought of before and something i realize i need to optimize before we head off into ITCN ourselves :) thanks for the tip

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