Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2014
Thesis number: 13660
Trade fairs role as part of the firms' marketing communication - an integrated trade fair participation process
|Title:||Trade fairs role as part of the firms' marketing communication - an integrated trade fair participation process|
|Year:||2014 Language: eng|
|Department:||Department of Marketing|
|Index terms:||markkinointi; marketing; yritysviestintä; business communication; messut; fairs; tapahtumat; events; prosessit; processes|
» hse_ethesis_13660.pdf size:2 MB (2062886)
|Key terms:||trade fair; marketing communication; marketing mix; trade fair process|
The purpose of this research is to study the role of the trade fairs in the firms' marketing communication mix at the present as well as in the future. Furthermore, the study explores the reasons trade fairs are used, how they support the companies' relationship building process and how other marketing communication tools are used to support their fair participation. First, the thesis discusses what is trade fairs role as part of the firms' marketing communication now and in the future. Second, processes that lead to successful trade fair participation are described. This is important, as none of the previous research has integrated the different processes needed in the successful trade fair participation. More specifically, this research looks for the critical processes that have input on successful trade fair participation taking into consideration the on-going and sequential nature of the processes.
Data for this study was gathered from qualitative semi-structured interviews. Twenty-one firms were interviewed from top management level executives representing different fields of businesses for this study. The companies and the executives were chosen from the client base of the Finnish Fair Corporation. The data analysis followed the principles of Straussian grounded theory where analytic coding was used. The grounded theory method was suitable for getting insights into the role of fairs as part of the firms marketing communications now and in the future, and more knowledge about the overall fair participation process in order to elaborate the theory. The interviewees were given latitude to express their opinions freely and spontaneously. The theoretical framework was built from the researcher's collection and analysis of data through the researcher's perceptions and past work experiences to increase understanding of the phenomenon and give guide to action.
The results indicate that trade fairs have a significant role in the firms' marketing mix. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand the different processes linked to the trade fair participation in order to reach the best possible results. In this study, four essential processes are identified: 1) planning and execution, 2) human resources, 3) marketing communication, and 4) evaluation and control that are interconnected and in use at different time frames such as pre-fair, at-fair and post-fair. The two most critical processes according to the research material are 'planning and execution' and 'human resources' processes. Indeed, successful exhibitors plan carefully their exhibition participation and the best exhibitors recruit the most suitable persons to take care of the whole integrated exhibition process - without forgetting the importance of marketing and evaluation. This research has provided both a new integrated conceptual framework and some useful empirical results that can help to understand, assess and improve the processes of the trade fair participation.
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