A maritime trade exhibition is a common meeting place for maritime professionals to strengthen relationships, explore new products and get market information. But they also have a few downsides. Let's dive into three of them and find out how Maritime24 can be an interesting alternative.
Downside 1: Big and Inefficient
If a trade fair has over 1.000 exhibitors and 30.000 visitors, how many of them are truly of interest to one-another? Exhibitors have a hard time talking to the right people. One of the reasons is that the initiative lays with the visitor. They can decide if they visit a booth or just pass by. And if they do pay a visit, their intentions may not align with the ambition of the exhibitor. Similarly, exhibitors have difficulty to identify the people passing by. So the best way to go about is to just start a conversation and find out. We have asked several exhibitors how many valuable meetings they encounter during a exhibition. The answer was surprisingly low, ranging between 5 and 20 true valuable interactions over a four day period. That's remarkable inefficient.
Visitors have another challenge. Getting in the exhibition is one thing (parking at a large terrain, line up for a visitor badge and get past security), they also have to find their way through all the halls and exhibitors. That takes time. Europort covers 45.000 square meters of exhibition space, SMM even 90.000 square meters. That's quite a long walk, especially if the suppliers you are interested in are spread around the exhibition. We asked shipowners how many suppliers they typically meet during their visit, which was only a handful. That's not very efficient either.
Our solution: Smaller and Smarter
So how to deal with this? Our solution: make the event smaller and smarter. Maritime24 limits the number of participants. We talk with every participant before granting them access. This ensures that the right combination of people is attending. It limits the waist of valuable time. It also improves the dynamics of the event, which has a positive impact on the result. Finally, we make sure participants know exactly who is who beforehand. So you can connect with the right people straight away. Maritime24 envisage to connect people as fast and effective as possible.
Downside 2: Getting Attention
Since visitors are in control at a trade fair, exhibitors need to fight for attention. They have to make sure the booth is in perfect shape, the sales team is prepared, invitations to clients and prospects are send in advance and news is created to attract the right attention. But they are not alone, everyone seems to be doing that. In reality, only a few percent of invites actually show up. It's hard to stand out in a trade fair.
Our solution: Change the Setting
So how do we cope with this at Maritime24? Well, we set a completely different setting. We mingle shipowners and suppliers and divide them into smaller groups. Every group discusses one specific topic that's relevant for all participants. The discussions are facilitated by a professional moderator, making sure that everyone at the table benefits from that session. Over the whole event, multiple sessions are organised on different topics, with constantly new people around the table.
Why is this interesting? Four reasons: 1. It’s easy to identify valuable people when you actually discuss a topic of interest. 2. You will gain insight information from the participants, which you can use to optimise your own work or improve your product. 3. Discussions build report and trust amongst each-other, which is essential in business. 4. Open discussions and sharing of knowledge stimulate cooperation and innovation.
Downside 3: Extremely expensive
So what about cost then? Let’s divide this discussion into two parts: the cost for suppliers (exhibitors) and the cost for shipowners (visitors).
Typical cost for suppliers: between € 10.000,- and € 100.000,-
Trade exhibitions are expensive. The costs of a small simple booth is over € 5.000,-* For a medium to large booth, cost go up significantly. And that's just the start. Cost to show your product, promotion material, give aways and drinks need to be added, as well as the cost for your stay: hotel, restaurants and bars. Trade fair organisers are commercial, they want you to spend as much money in their venue as possible. For instance: exhibitors are not permitted to buy food, beverages or catering services other than that provided by the organisation. Similar for the mandatory marketing servicing packages and the sponsoring options**, which ranges from your logo on the exhibition map (€1.250,-), in the App (€4.950,-) or on the visitor’s lanyard (€12.500,-). Exhibiting at a Trade Exhibition is expensive***, while you get no guarantees for success. It's that strange?
* Europort 2019 basic stand 16m2: € 5040,-.
** Sponsoring examples are based on Europort 2017 prices.
*** Participating in a national pavilion is sometimes cheaper, check your National Trade Association for details.
Our solution: only € 149,50 per participating shipowner, all included (excl. VAT)
We don't want you to pay for 'raw space'. We want you to invest in valuable connections. And that's exactly what we charge: the number of connections that you will make at the event. It's only € 149,50* per shipowner**. What's even better, this price includes everything: your hotel stay, the food, the drinks, local transport, the social activities AND access to the supporting tools. Compared to a trade exhibition, your investment is extremely low.
* excluding VAT
** Minimum 10, maximum 20 shipowners will participate
Typical cost for shipowners: > € 10.000,- indirect
Most trade exhibitions are free of charge for shipowners. Which is kind of logic: if shipowners do not visit the exhibition, the whole concept doesn't work. So the lower the entrance fee, the higher the number of visitors. But in the end of the day, shipowners pay anyway. The price of a product or service offered by a supplier incorporates all costs endured by the supplier, including sales and marketing costs. So shipowners pay for exhibitions, being it indirect, whether they like it or not.
Our solution: fixed price of € 195,- all included (excl. VAT)
The participation fee for shipowners at Maritime24 is € 195,- excl. VAT. That’s it. It covers the direct cost of the hotel, food and drinks. Similar to the cost you would encounter if you would visit a trade exhibition and need a place to stay the night. We charge it upfront so you know exactly what you need to pay beforehand. Again, there are no additional compulsory or hidden costs involved.
Concluding remark: betting the game
Trade exhibitions have proven to be valuable in the past, but are they still valuable today? Maybe you should ask yourself a question when the marketing budget is discussed: If we spend € 40.000,- to participate at a trade fair, what do we actually buy?
In essence: you buy a possible opportunity to meet interesting prospects. That’s it. Nothing more. No guarantees given. That feels a bit like going to a casino. Gambling with your marketing budget. Hoping that you will score big time to cover all your losses. Well, keep on dreaming.
The smart people might like to try a different angle. If you think you are eligible to join a Maritime24 event, then let’s meet and find out.