Exhibiting at trade shows is costly, and the costs are multiplied when the shows are overseas. Then you also have to make important decisions when starting off in a new market around when it’s best to start exhibiting and who faces the costs. Do you exhibit after appointing a distributor or do you wait and see how it goes for a year? Do you share the costs with a local partner or should they make the full investment? Should your brand have its own space or will be lumped with others?

There’s probably at least one very good trade show for your area of business Latin America. We have compiled a list of over 150 of them for 2014, which we are happy to share with our blog readers (drop us a line at global@sunnyskysolutions.co.uk).

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Some things to bear in mind about trade shows in Latin America, though:

  • Except for a few, most shows are heavily national and not regional. International shows will have a lot of overseas presence but they are aimed at the local host market. For example, if you are thinking about selling into Peru, go to a show in Peru, because a show in Chile will tell you little about the Peruvian market. This is unlike what happens in Europe, where for example, I attended shows in Germany where UK buyers would go and meet with, say, Spanish manufacturers.
  • One of the reasons why putting together this trade show list for 2014 took so long is that a lot of trade shows don’t have their own websites and/or don’t have dates confirmed yet. The best-organised shows won’t suffer from either problem (many are organised by German or Spanish event experts) but smaller local shows, those that can add a more local and less competition-intense flavour, will probably not be quite as “polished” as you might hope.
  • Although there are some excellent trade-only shows in Latin America, a lot of shows are both for trade and consumers. We find this particularly the case in smaller countries like Uruguay and Paraguay. Make sure you understand the audience of the show you are exploring.
  • Exhibiting at trade shows is something British and European companies master – but remember that local counterparts might not, so offer them help and advice, talk it through.

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A lot has been said about having a plan when exhibiting at trade shows and about their strategic fit. I couldn’t agree more. However, particularly at early stages of exploring and entering a new export market, exhibiting is not essential – but visiting can be of immense value. A few tips:

  • When you start becoming serious about a new export market, you’ll probably want to visit it, and visiting during a relevant show can be very productive to meet a lot of people in one go and see a lot of businesses in a very short period. We hope our list of trade shows is useful to help you plan your visit (although we are not liable for any mistakes or changes!)
  • Even before visiting, outstanding market research calls for an analysis of relevant trade shows and even scoping some of them in person. We have done this for many clients at shows like ExpoAlimentaria (Peru), BIEL (Argentina), FISPAL and SIAL (Brazil). Precious information on potential competitors, potential partners, the market, consumer preferences, and so on, can be gathered during a visit. It’s important, however, that you take this information with a pinch of salt (it’s just one source of information after all) and know how to process it.
  • Visiting a trade show early on, or having someone with your brief visiting on your behalf, can give you an indication of whether or not the show is worthwhile further investment and exhibiting at.

Inspired to find out more? How about starting off with a list of 150+ trade shows across Latin America? Email global@sunnyskysolutions.co.uk to request your copy – exclusive to our past and current clients, and social media followers.

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