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Trade shows for emerging exporters

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Small and medium exporters composing their marketing budget for 2010 now have a cheaper alternative to traditional trade shows, according to Lawrence Christoffelsz, managing director of Global Trade Centres. Christoffelsz believes that traditional trade shows don’t offer SMEs the best value for money if they are underprepared. "Most SME exporters we worked with were totally unprepared to participate at overseas exhibitions," he says. "All they knew was that they believed that there would be a market for their product or service overseas. In my experience, this is a very dangerous way to develop structured and long-term export success." Derived from his observations, Christoffelsz developed the concept of having a permanent exhibition, which would give businesses an in-market presence for 12 months without the hassle of preparing for a trade show. Two Global Trade Centres - in Melbourne and Delhi, India - are set to launch in February 2010. The centres will contain PODs or 'Product on Display' units that contain an interactive display using an on-board computer, touchscreen interface and a perspex display cabinet to promote product. All leads and enquiries received from the centres are processed by a central operations team and sent directly to the exhibitors within 48 hours. Christoffelsz says emerging exporters tend to skip the critical stages of researching prospects, negotiating shipping and payment terms or following up on leads from traditional trade shows, and therefore don’t get the best return from this form of promotion. The Global Trade Centre however, would act as a good entry point for this group, allowing them to test the market for less money and effort. "We decided that there is a better way to capture overseas customers than old fashioned trade shows," said Christoffelsz. "The concept behind GTC is to offer companies an opportunity to ‘dip their toe’ into an overseas market with a chance to gauge the interest and then proactively structure an export model to suit that market." For more information, visit www.globaltradecentres.org

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