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2022.4.28 Interview

Why Exhibitions?
~Exhibitions at COVID-19 situation

[B2B marketing in Japan]

Regarding buying marketing leads, you are basically unable to buy them in Japan due to the Personal Information Protection Law. All leads for marketing and sales activities in Japan need to be obtained within their own marketing activities.

Exhibitions had been one of a valuable B2B marketing activity for obtaining leads. However, will exhibitions continue to be an important activity in the future? Let us consider the current status and future of the activity of exhibitions in Japanese B2B marketing.

You can see it in the video above and in this article below.

Speech from our CEO Yutaka Hamaguchi

greeting (Yutaka Hamaguchi)
Hello, my name is Yutaka Hamaguchi and I am the CEO of Bigbeat Inc.
Today, I would like to talk about B2B business exhibitions in Japan.

I believe that exhibitions are one of the most important aspects of the B2B marketing strategy.
In Japan, there are many exhibitions in Tokyo and other areas, and which are held almost every week. Many businesspeople attend these events.
Their main goals to get information about products and services that will be useful for the future of their business. In order to obtain as much information as possible, they visit exhibitions. Some people visit 10, 20 or even more booths in single day.
My impression is that many of visitors were interested in visiting as many booths as possible to obtain information, rather than having a leisurely business meeting with each company one by one. Therefore, it is necessary for exhibitors to design their booth to meet visitor’s objectives.

On the other hand, in Japan, there are very strict laws regarding the handling of personal information and the reality is that, it is very difficult to effectively target leads and sell to them.
Therefore, one of the main objectives of exhibitors is to obtain leads from their target customers at exhibition.
In order to realize the marketing strategy effectively, we need to design the booth by considering the purpose of both the visitor and exhibitor.

However, things have changed considerably in the past two years.
It is now common to gather information online, so I expect that the purpose of the exhibition will probably change in the years to come. In other words, we collect as much information as possible online in advance and at the exhibition we will be able to provide more in-depth information in-person. I expect that exhibitions will become more like a business meeting.
The exhibition season is about to return in earnest, and I expect that changes will take place in the future.

After this you are going to hear a conversation between Yuko Fukuyasu, a member of with a lot of experience at exhibitions as well as our new resident American, Colin Snow, about various topics related to exhibitions and their future. I hope you enjoy.

Introduction.

greeting (Yuko Fukuyasu and Colin Snow) Colin:
Hello, my name is Colin Snow and I am a member of global team here at Bigbeat Inc.
For those of you that don’t know, Bigbeat Inc. is a Japanese B2B marketing agency, obviously in Japan, and that is actually what we are here to talk about today; the B2B market within Japan, more specifically how it pertains to exhibitions and trade shows vs pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19. And in order to do that today, I have with me our global team manager and in-house master of inbound clients, Ms. Fukuyasu.

Fukuyasu:
Thank you for introducing me. I am Yuko Fukuyasu of Bigbeat Inc. global team manager here.
I have been with the company for a while and I have been supporting a lot of global companies for their marketing activities in Japan, such as events and promotions etc.

Colin:
Thank you very much for joining us.

What is the role of an exhibition in the B2B marketing world in Japan?

what is the role of an exhibition?
Colin:
You know, since you have a lot of experience in this field, I would like to ask you a couple questions.
I mentioned a few moments ago about trade shows and exhibitions. Now, those are just one of many things that you have to think about when it comes to the B2B marketing world. There are lots of important activities; brand awareness, lead generation, stuff like that. How do exhibitions fit into all of that? What is the role of an exhibition in the B2B marketing world in Japan?

Fukuyasu:
Thank you for your questions.
When you do B2B marketing activities in Japan, you have to think about getting leads to promote your solutions to your target audiences. And in Japan, there are really strict laws of personal information protection, that you can not buy any leads without permission for the personal. So, when you think of marketing activities in Japan, you have to ask for permission for that person to give that personal information to that company. And as for exhibition, if you were exhibiting in our target exhibition, you get a lot of visitors coming to the venue with you know who are interested in a lot of information targeted to your solutions.

So, in that way, you will be able to gather a lot of leads of the person who are interested in your solution, your company. And of course exhibition is where I mean exhibition is where you do the branding and where you introduce your solution, your services, your company, and all those kind of things. But in Japan, still a lot of companies are thinking of the exhibition as a place where you can get leads.

Colin:
So, those in that brand awareness, leadgen, all of that, you know, I mentioned before is kind of all mixed up in the exhibition. You can do all of those things at an exhibition, essentially.

Fukuyasu:
Yes, people are coming to your booth, they will give you to business cards information of their personal. That means they actually give you permission to access to that personal information for their future services and so on, and so in that way you can gather a lot of leads.

Colin:
For those of you that don’t know a lot of times when you go to an exhibition in Japan, you have to register and then when you register you also have to scan your business card, and you will get a piece of paper that has your name as well as your business card on it. So that is just one other way to kind of show, you know, your personal information that you will be sharing with the exhibitors.

How do you think the COVID-19 situation has changed the role of exhibitions?

how do you think the COVID-19 situation has changed the role of exhibitions?
Colin:
Now I imagine that the COVID-19 disaster, the pandemic, has caused quite a few changes in the B2B marketing world, especially when it comes to exhibitions. It used to be very in-person; lots of people gathered together in a small area. Do you think that the COVID-19 disaster has really changed the role of exhibitions, and if so, how?

Fukuyasu:
Well, yes, I think it changed in some way. It’s still event where you can promote your solution your company branding. But during COVID-19, people were not you know, they could not come to the venue fully casual as they used to. So, there were no like wandering people around the booth or something so during the COVID-19 I think people who are interested in finding some new solutions or finding new partners actually came to the venue and meet the exhibitors face-to-face and get the information and start the business together.

So, I think the people who are visiting exhibitions during COVID-19 has changed

Colin:
So, as you mentioned, you know, a lot of people are being really careful about that state of emergency about COVID-19, because of that there are lots of online exhibitions.

What were the things that brought people to the in-person exhibitions despite the COVID-19 pandemic?

Colin:
So, despite the fact that they were so many online expressions, there were still people coming into these in-person, events in-person exhibitions. What were the things that brought people to the in-person exhibitions despite the COVID-19 pandemic?

Fukuyasu:
Well, if it’s IT solutions you can see the demonstrations on the screen, but if it’s a manufacturing product that actually needs the demonstration to see how it works, and needs some business talking with the exhibitors or the company to understand more about the product. They want to come to the event, the exhibition event, talk with the exhibitors and see the demos for her/himself, live in front of them, you know, get more demonstrations and understanding of what the product is about.

So, I guess that’s why people come to the exhibition hall, even though this COVID-19 situation was bad, they just come to the venue and talk to the exhibitors and, you know, they want to understand the products, they need the information for their business. And they are eager to do business with another partners to get their business going.

Colin:
Yes, that’s fair. I mean somethings are a lot more difficult to sell or buy without actually seeing it with your own eyes, absolutely.
summary 2

What is the current state of exhibitions in Japan?

What do you think is the current state of the exhibition in Japan?
Colin:
And things you know, things have obviously changed over the last year, year and a half or so; things starting get more back to normal, and so now it seems like it’s not just those kinds of people that need to see it with their own eyes. There’s a lot of more people coming to these events, it seems.
What do you think is the current state of the exhibition in Japan?

Fukuyasu:
Right now, a lot of the events are coming back in Japan during COVID-19 situation. Compared to last year, there is a lot of exhibition events going on every week at the exhibition hall.
And for example, there is an IT event which is very large in Japan; it is called “Japan IT Week” which is held every year in spring and fall. For the spring, we just had a spring event in April. Last year for this event they had about 14,000 of visitors at the venue and also, they had about 300 exhibitors. But compared to that, this year they had about 40,000 people visiting the event, and 640 exhibitors at the venue. And the event was coming live again.

Colin:
Wow, so, twice number of visitors and exhibitors compared to last year.

Fukuyasu:
Yes, that’s correct.
And it’s same with other events, there was the “Retail Tech Security Show” in March, and they had 50,000 visitors this year. And also, there is “International Robert Exhibition”, which is called “IREX”, they had 60,000 visitors, and the number of people are growing.

Colin:
Wow, 60,000 people! That’s a big number.

Fukuyasu:
Yes, that is correct.
summary-3 number of exhibition visitors

Colin:
So, I know... you know, especially in the US and the UK, they’ve started to lessen their COVID-19 safety measures, so to speak. What do those look like in Japan, right now?

Fukuyasu:
Well, in Japan, Japanese people wear mask all the time when they go out and meet people. So, if you go to events like exhibition, there is a sign that you have to wear a mask. And there is also a temperature check and people are really nice and they all wear a mask, and they have a temperature check upon the entrance of the venue. So, I think people who are visiting the exhibition show, feel it is safe and organizers are taking care of the COVID-19 situation.

Colin:
Absolutely. I went to the event last week as well. And there is hall entrances of course, but there are entrances to each of the actual exhibition halls, and you have to check your temperature every single of time, you use alcohol spray, and everything like that, so yeah, quite safe. Everything is under control in that regard. Thank you so much for your time today. Before we finish up, if you could give kind of one last message to the viewers that would be fantastic.
summary-4

Fukuyasu:
So, currently a lot of physical events are coming back in Japan. And people are eager to get information of the new solution, new partnership... business partner. So, if you’re thinking of doing any business in Japan, I think exhibition is one way to get your solution introduced and also get your lead gen, and we look forward to seeing you in the future, thank you.

Colin:
Thank you for joining us today and thank you all over here watching. If you would like to get a little bit more information about the B2B marketing world, especially within Japan, please feel free to reach out to you can contact us at the bigbeatinc.com, and you will see the link below, at the bottom of the screen. We hope to see you soon!
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