Exhibiting at Beer Festivals Reveals Untapped Market
Over 5,000 breweries are operating in the United States today, generating over $107 billion in beer sales. The craft beer industry accounts for 22% of these total sales. With the craft beverage industry alone growing at such a fast rate, there are inevitably countless opportunities of competition for businesses in every aspect of the industry. Because of this, companies and services that operate in the industry are turning to trade shows and beer festivals to get their name out there and in front of as much new business as possible.
While reflecting on our recent exhibition at the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference and Beer Expo, we zeroed in on a few of the reasons as to why exhibiting and/or sponsoring at trade events is worth the time and effort, and how it should be properly executed.
Get exposure for your brand
Exhibiting at beer festivals and trade shows can expand your visibility, credibility, and brand exposure by reaching an untapped market that you may be missing. Trade shows attract thousands of attendees who are looking for your specific product or service, which can equate to credible leads and potential new customers—boosting both sales and your bottom line. At the very least, this kind of exposure will start to build familiarity with your brand—from your name, your product names, and your logos—which can then help influence customers in their purchase journey.
Choose the right event
You wouldn’t sell snow skis in Florida. The same goes for brewers who are looking to attract the right target audience at a trade show. Different events cater to different parts of the industry. An event like the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) is great if you are looking to explore B2B opportunities. Products and sales pitches are tailored to attendees who work in the craft industry. If you are looking for a show with more B2C opportunities, CBC may not be for you. Consider the size of the show. Does a national scale show like the Great American Beer Festival make sense? Perhaps you’re better suited for a regional or state-centric show. Putting thought into the events you attend is the best way to effectively formulate a laser-focused marketing plan and strategy.
Spend the money
It takes money to make money, so don’t let the cost of exhibiting and/or sponsoring deter you from getting your product in the middle of the action. The development of a strategic marketing plan and properly training your staff are critical first steps to a successful show. Sure, there are travel costs and event expenses to consider, but seasoned exhibitors regard these costs as money well spent when their booth is buzzing with new leads. If the right lead comes along, you will likely recoup your full investment.
When it comes to effectively selling your product, there’s nothing more powerful than face-to-face interaction. Trade shows can act as a gateway between turning new faces into new customers. Exhibiting at an event gives potential customers a great opportunity to experience your product firsthand, whether it’s a beer tasting or test driving a new software. Being present enriches the potential customer’s overall experience. Following up with a sell sheet or some swag will help keep your business top-of-mind which can help in their decision-making process.
Keep an eye on the industry
Trade shows can be the perfect place to check the pulse of the market. It’s probably the closest opportunity for an “open house,” where you and your competitors are all gathered under one roof. Trade shows also give you a great opportunity to tap into industry trends. Are attendees coming from overseas? Are multiple people asking for specific features or product integrations? Taking note of these observations can help you plan the future of your marketing or your product. As a result, you will stay ahead of the curve!
If you can’t get to an event as an exhibitor, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go as an attendee. The networking opportunities at trade shows and beer festivals are omnipresent. You can still do a lot of good with a friendly conversation and a stack of business cards.