So you want to sell your product overseas?
Download this handy guide on how to research and set up an overseas distribution deal.
Following last week's story about local suppliers at the METS trade show, David Barrow from Barrow International in the UK contacted Marine Business with some timely advice for companies thinking about taking part in future shows.
Barrow is a true veteran of the METS show having attended it from the very beginning – this year was the 28th show – and has seen it grow from 100 booths to nearly 1,400 exhibitors.
It is a show, he says, that can provide benefits on an “unprecedented scale” for an exhibitor but, in order to do so, it requires meticulous preparation, particularly from companies that are new to METS.
“You need to research businesses that may be interested in your product and get in touch beforehand and let them know what you have and what your stand number is,” he explained.
Determine your target market, said Barrow – boat builders, distributors, OEM buyers, perhaps even the media – and focus on contacting them. Barrow International uses a database of around 2,000 industry contacts and a direct marketing tool called Web-It to alert key recipients to new product releases so that well before the show begins they are aware of what's out there and who to visit.
“You may get on their visit list, however many companies we expect to see each year do not have the time to get as far as us and get in touch after the show, or we get in touch with them,” said Barrow.
“The opening hours of the show total a mere 23 hours, less than one day. But the three days over which the show runs normally start earlier and end late with time to network with both clients and customers."
At METS, the annual DAME design awards are a key feature and a great way for a new product to get noticed as one of, say, 50 finalists among 1,400 exhibitors.
Barrow International also works with a specialist marine PR company to assist with preparing press materials, sending out invites to participating journalists and then following up post-show with new contacts made at the show.
Barrow International has prepared this guide to international marine distribution published by ICOMIA, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations. Download it here - ICOMIA distributors guide
More information for companies looking to get into the marine export market is also available from Barrow International.