Don't be a no-show! - BikeBiz

Don't be a no-show

How does a major brand prepare for show season? Simplon's Kevin Burton gives us his insight
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We’ve all heard the regular refrain of ‘there are too many shows’, and when you cast an eye over the event diary, you can understand why.

However, most (consumer) shows are well-attended, and while we, as industry professionals, may enjoy the occasional moan about having to go to each and every one of them, we need to remember that, from a consumer’s perspective, these shows can be among the highlights of their cycling year. We have to embrace this. Without the consumer, we’d have no industry whatsoever!

So, what makes a good cycling consumer show, and which ones should an industry figure be looking to attend? I’m not here to endorse or suggest any individual show, but when weighing up this decision, it helps to consider the following...

What sort of demographic of consumers are visiting any given show, and how does that compare or correlate with the market you’re targeting? Will the return on your investment warrant the expenditure? To what extent? How will you measure how successful a show you experienced? All too often, I hear shows branded as a failure because ‘we only sold a few bikes’. Is it fair or accurate to judge any show on that one single factor? What about brand awareness, data capture, consumer engagement, social media output? Be precise in your objectives and ensure you tailor your event accordingly.

What range will you be showcasing? If, like Simplon, you have a broad range across MTB, road, e-bike and urban/touring, which part or parts of that range will fit best with the show? Does promoting that particular range fit in with your sales and marketing objectives? There are many factors to consider.

After that, it’s all about stand design and how you will display the range. Remember, it is not about what you think looks nice. It’s about what will appeal to your market and, in particular, those at the show. No two shows have the exact same footfall or visitor profile. Consumers should be central to all of your decisions – as well as brand personality of course!

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For us at Simplon, we like to have a stylish stand mixed with great imagery – arty, if you like. We then have a simple stand that shows our products in a way that consumers can view from all angles, rather than stacked close together. Let the product speak for you. After that, you’re into the world of advanced planning, building up, attending, chatting, drinking coffee, more chatting and if you’re lucky, a foot massage before breaking down, driving home and collapsing into a comfortable chair.

Yes, it’s tiring, but where else will you get to interact with the very people that will make or break your product and brand? Where else can you catch up with industry friends and have a few post-show beers? Another fantastic advantage of the multitude of show options is the ability to connect consumers with their local bike shop. Whether or not you choose to partner a bike shop with your stand, it is very easy to put consumers in touch with their local stockist.

If, like Simplon, you value the personally tailored service, you can even make an appointment with their local shop for them to pop by and discuss a demo ride and/or purchase.

So yes, there are a lot of shows, but in my experience, they are not only worth it, but they are also fun, educational and rewarding. Nothing beats speaking directly to the consumer and bike shop owners/ employees alike. Shows create a buzz around your brand and lets people touch and feel the products. There is nothing quite like it.

However, to make the most of them you need to research, prepare, set objectives, prepare activity and put on a display that your consumers want to see. It is not the show organisers’ responsibility to get people on to your stand; it is 100 per cent yours. Embrace it. Don’t just be at the show; be part of it. Then enjoy a rest before you do it all again at the next one. 

This article was written by Simplon's Kevin Burton

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