Using the Expo Database search tool for competitive intelligence

Trade shows are integral to any business’s marketing efforts. Not only do they allow vendors and customers to mingle and network, participating in a trade show is an excellent way to gauge interest in a product, service or brand, and it provides an opportunity to study the industry’s consumer demographics.

It goes without saying that the activities of rival businesses in tradeshows can provide insights concerning their strategy, but therein lies a problem: with the number of relevant events happening around the world daily, how does one keep track of them at all?

Fortunately, websites like Expo Database exist to help you with that particular conundrum. The entirety of Expo Database is massive in scope – it caters to trade show exhibitors, organisers and visitors alike for a wide range of informational needs – but the main draw of the website is its versatile search function, capable of looking through and compiling a list of events based on the topic you are looking for.

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Each entry in the list leads to its own page, which details more information about the particular trade show. Aside from the usual facts, like the date and venue, contact information and trade show description, Expo Database also offers:

  • A general overview of the main exhibits and sectors covered at the event
  •  Visitor and vendor statistics, sub-divided into domestic and foreign audience
  • General visitor profile
  • A list of products and exhibitors participating in the tradeshow

This may seem like a string of unrelated data at first glance, but they do in fact contribute a fair bit to any company interested in competitive intelligence. The overview of exhibits available at a given trade show can reveal information about the trade show’s intended audience and their interests. Are they looking for what you or your rivals can provide? Will this year’s event introduce a new, game-changing product or service? And if so, who is showing it off?

The visitor and vendor statistics provided by Expo Database may be a bit light on details, but they still provide a solid clue as to participation numbers and consequently, the popularity of the trade show. Some event pages may also feature a Visitor Profile, briefly describing the general background of those participating in the event. 

In addition, Expo Database also provides a directory of products and exhibitors that are participating (or have participated in the case of previous years) in the trade show. It is not available for every listing, but when it is, it is undeniably one of the best sources of information available. This directory alone provides the ability to zoom in on the products or vendors you are interested in, and study them in greater detail. This can be invaluable for gauging the capability of your rivals as well as their product line-up and market strategy.

As good as Expo Database is in providing information on trade shows occurring globally, it has its shortcomings. The level of detail across all its listings is inconsistent; visitor statistics may be missing in one event, while another suffers from a non-existent product/exhibitor directory. As such, users may find the absence of such information frustrating.

Unreliability aside, the Expo Database is an acceptable tool in any competitive intelligence effort. However, it must be noted that due to the open-endedness of the information, it should be used in conjunction with other, more specialized resources and tools.