Super Sleuths: Using Trade Shows to Investigate Your CompetitionBy: Susan Friedmann
Your company is in a precarious position. The marketplace is changing daily. New companies enter the industry. Your competitors are constantly unveiling new products, new services, and/or new marketing strategies. How do you keep up with – or even better, how do you anticipate -- these changes?
That’s where the trade show comes in. Gathered in one convenient location, you should find many, if not most, of your competitors. While industrial espionage is never a good idea, there’s nothing illegal or immoral about asking the booth staff a few pointed questions.
The answers you receive can be illuminating and useful, providing the type of knowledge your firm will need to time their new product launch, assess marketing stragegies, and so on. Even the smallest competitive advantage can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
But how do you know what to ask? Won’t your competitor’s booth staff take one look at you and laugh in your face?
Not if you ask the right questions. Realize that some of the answers you are seeking will be provided for you, without you saying a single word. A company’s promotional literature can be a gold mine of information, as can the size, placement, design and graphics of their exhibit. Experienced show attendees can ‘read’ a booth, discerning a number of valuable facts from these factors.
Just by virtue of being at the show, your competitors are sharing the following information:
Be subtle when talking with the booth staff. They don’t want to give away valuable industry information any more than you do – but you can still learn a lot during the course of a brief conversation, including the following items a general attendee would want to know:
© copyright 2005, Susan A. Friedmann
Books by Susan Friedmann
(You are viewing the U.S. bookstore. Click here to view the Canadian store.)
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.