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Attending trade fairs or “Competitive Intelligence beyond the Internet”

The growth of the Internet, the "boom" of social networks, figures as the Community Manager and globalization of markets have caused the network of networks to be the most used information source today, but it is not the only one. When we support organizations to launch Competitive Intelligence activity, we often emphasize that we must not forget other traditional channels such as "word of mouth" or trade fairs. In this article we will explain the best way to plan attendance at a trade fair if we want to take advantage of all the potential it offers.

Attending trade fairs or Competitive Intelligence beyond the Internet

To a greater or lesser extent, all companies devote resources to know what´s new in their market and promote their products; trade fairs are a typical case. However, they often focus solely on making business contacts, establishing partnerships or promoting their brand, forgetting that the fairs are an essential source of information about competitors and their products.

From INNGUMA, we recommend to plan the fairs we will attend beforehand and in the same way, spend some time to make a preliminary analysis and make a report of it.

Pre-fair analysis

It is recommended to attend to trade fairs with a dossier prepared to guide us when we are there. In large fairs we can spend the day in the same hall ignoring the rest. This can be avoided by planning time correctly, analyzing competitors who will be there and defining priorities. In this way it is best to make a brief guide to help us focus on what´s important.

This guide may include logistics information, a map showing location of exhibitors, planned conferences, news and most relevant technologies to be presented, etc.

Trade fair

The main thing, obviously, is to obtain information of interest either collecting material, scoring the most interesting ideas or asking people. If more than one person to attend, taking a moment to share and contrast what has been seen is a healthy practice.

In addition to the exhibitors and product presentations, we must take into account the conferences, seminars, debates, etc. which can be organised in parallel to the fair.

As a recommendation during the stay at the fair, we must try to socialize with people, ask, exchange business cards and pay attention to all aspects. If we focus only on technical issues, we can lose more global issues as design.


Some content themselves with telling a story about the fair and how good food was at one of the restaurants in the destination city as if they were on a holiday trip.

We understand that the return of the fair is the time to do the hard work and leverage that information that has been acquired and transform it into knowledge for the whole organization. The main thing at this point is to analyse the relevant information, to contrast it, to identify the most relevant points and make a good report.

These are some of the contents a fair report could contain:

  • General conclusions: data, exposed technologies, organization reviews…
  • Conclusions concerning the initial objectives.
  • Summary of the events.
  • Significant news about products.
  • Technological trends.
  • Other trends.
  • Interesting remarks: business movements, new business models…
  • Additional information.

In conclusion, attendance to fairs is a different way to approach our environment, to visualise the reality and acquire more knowledge which from the internet would be much more complex or even impossible.

If you are thinking of launching CI activity in your organization and have doubts, you can contact us and we will help you. Also, you can try a professional software like INNGUMA for free requesting a demo.