2012 saw a huge increase to our marketing budget, but going up from zero wasn't too much of a challenge. While we have never spent a dime on advertising or pr, we knew that we needed to set up shop at these events to maximize our outreach to international retailers and distributors.
Our online customers have been mainly been outside of Canada, and building that presence abroad was always part of the game plan.
The New York International Gift Fair
would be our first foray into the trade show world. It is one of the biggest, with an expected traffic of over 200,000 people coming from all over the globe. It was also our most expensive activity to date next to our tooling and North American manufacturing set-up costs. Suffice to say, that we were a bit nervous when we considered the 'investment vs return' equation.
Was it worth it? For us, it was a resounding 'YES!'. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, we had no idea what we were doing. Yes, it was stressful and a lot of hard work. But it was indeed worthwhile. The most valuable part of the experience was the education we received from our fellow exhibitors and the experience. It gave us a glimpse into the market, how the big and small players acted. It also gave us the confidence and the resolve to continue on this long and winding journey.
What was supposed to be a quick synopsis of our experience turned out to be quite a long post, so we decided to divide them up and posted them in parts over the next week or so.
We broke it down to 3 main sections:
We’ll also have some Tips
at the end of each article that we think may help ease your process a bit. Just like these below.
Remember, just like your daily business activity, all decisions are influenced by time or money. Sometimes, the cheapest option will require more of your time and your time is valuable. Don't always go for the cheap.
Every industry has a calendar of events, a bit of research will help you find the right event that makes sense for you, your product and your potential audience. You can cut your costs by planning ahead and registering early.
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