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It’s impossible to do good external promotion without going to trade shows

Jun 1, 2020 Portugal
It’s impossible to do good external promotion without going to trade shows
Orlando Soares from Portuguese-based Malas Peixoto Soares, a leather goods company with 70% of the production destined to exports, talks about the role played by external promotion in the growth of the company

External Promotion

It is impossible to do good external promotion within the footwear and leather goods sector without participating in trade fairs. There are no other places that gather so many industry decision makers as trade fairs do.

Trade Fairs

The exhibitions’ profile has changed a lot in the past years. 20 years ago, the quality of a fair was measured by the amount of orders we came home with. Now, the quality of a fair is measured by the network we are able to establish and the contacts we are able to gather. Business is done differently, and the industry decision makers continue to gather in these events. They come to see the trends, to network and to make or finalize deals. Everything happens there. There is no other place like it. Of course, there are more local and regional exhibitions. In our sector (leather goods), Mipel is, by far, the most international exhibition in Europe. There, we can find customers and buyers from the Middle and Far East, the USA, Russia, etc. Naturally, we do other fairs as well, located in Denmark, Germany, etc. It is where we present out proposals to a great deal of buyers. And I cannot stress this enough: there is no alternative to trade fairs. We started going uninterruptedly to Mipel in 1991, roughly 30 years ago. The beginning of this exhibition was very hard, with only five Portuguese companies, but we kept going. A few years ago, we have concluded that 57% of our exports were directly or indirectly related to Mipel.

The Future of Trade Fairs

There are several theories about the evolution of exhibitions. I believe trade fairs will continue to exist and be relevant, especially because they are a unique meeting point. I believe what will change is the type of business activity that happens at trade fairs. However, I also hold that there always has to be a meeting place for the exhibitors and decision markers. For that to happen, there has to be a way of attracting customers. Naturally, a customer from the Far East is not coming to Europe to see one or two companies. However, if there is a relevant number of companies, it makes the trip much more desirable.


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