Exhibiting at CABSAT first time feedback


CABSAT started with a curious phenomenon. Rain in the desert. It was PHABRIX’s first time in Dubai exhibiting its test and measurement products at CABSAT and we’d obviously brought the weather with us.

Now rain in Dubai is like a severe snowstorm in the UK – everything stops. As the Emirates plane, equipped with a front video camera, displayed our final approach we could see a long line of lights heading out into the desert. It was a biblical bumper to bumper traffic jam caused by water ‘ponds’ closing the motorways leaving cars stranded for hours – and taxi’s. Un-surprisingly it took another hour and a half on landing to reach the hotel. Taxis are cheap in Dubai if you pick the sepia coloured cabs with different coloured roofs – anything else is more expensive and open to negotiation.
It helps that most of the taxis have a large car boot, particularly useful as we took our own ‘pop up’ stand for the show. This kept costs down and by complaining about a bad back, I managed to persuade Phillip Adams, PHABRIX’s MD, to become the mule and pull the 30 Kgs box containing our stand to the hall.

From a business point of view we were keen to find new distributors and promote our products in the Middle East – a sector which we hadn’t approached until this point. As with all good shows we completed the important first steps;

1. Do your research
The UKTI offer introductions to entering the market. Whereas they were useful, they were directed toward larger companies, particularly construction, utilities and transport infrastructure where there is huge potential in the region.
Ask fellow broadcast manufacturers who already have distribution networks in place there and most will give at least a few tips.
2. Analyse the market
Each country is different with different broadcast requirements. Trying to shoe horn your product range where it’s not appropriate is not a successful approach.
3. Begin pre-promotion
Remember the old adage. If they don’t know you’re there then don’t expect them to come.
4. Personalise your marketing
Think carefully about this one. Our own advertising placement had a distinct Middle Eastern flair to it. No it didn’t have a camel and sand dunes.
5. Commission magazine placement
Print is still the most important advertising method in the Middle East. We had a great response to our print campaign which also featured editorial. In all we invested £2,400 on marketing.
6. Email prospects
Emails are fine if people read them. Once you’re established your emails get opened. Our experience with email analysis after this campaign was just 8% opening, 2% click-through from 22,000 emails sent.
7. Invite to the stand
Make sure both your website and your communication mention the stand number!


One of the more useful support organisations at the event was the IABM. As a member PHABRIX was invited to the opening party held in the grounds of the Dubai World Trade Centre which allowed members to relax and get to know who was at the event and exchange stories about - the rain inevitably! We shared a table with Simon and Graham from Bryant Broadcast who are regular exhibitors at CABSAT and they were keen to share their experiences prior to the opening of the show the next day. In fact everyone there had a useful tale to tell - it shows you how important networking still remains. Pity we got most of the really useful tips when we were there!


PHABRIX was also invited to the Middle East Executive Breakfast held at the prestigious Fairmont hotel in walking distance from the event. (If they hold it in the same place next year make sure to take the internal glass lift which takes you to the 37th floor – exhilarating on the way up, terrifying on the way down!)

Here was no nonsense reporting on the business situation in the Middle East hosted by Peter White, the new Director General, and Kevan Jones on behalf of MECIA the Middle East Communication Industries. Having attended the £50 UKTI business briefings in London prior to visiting the Middle East I have to say the structure, reporting and presentation during the 8-30 to 10 am meeting was exemplary and much more useful. For once here was an organisation in touch with the market offering savvy information on the region from a broadcast specific point of view.
Where you stay at CABSAT is an important factor, again for networking and ease of supporting the 11am to 7pm show over three days. We finally ended up in the IBIS, unfortunately the Novotel recommended was full. The Novotel’s ‘Blues Bar’ was definitely the place to meet everyone however the IBIS World Trade Centre was just as convenient for the show and the rooms were clean and air conditioned and of course cheaper.

Was it successful and how much did it cost?
Let’s take costs for a start. All in all the exhibition with expenses and marketing support cost £6,661. By taking just clean underwear and a change of polo shirts we were able to carry our portable test and measurement devices with us. The stand and a 24” monitor used up our remaining luggage allowance both of which came out very easily on the luggage carousel at the futuristic airport - so no freighting costs.

Our stand was on the UK pavilion efficiently run by Tradefair for which we received a grant. The stand was not quite as style inspiring as the French, Bavarian and Spanish stands which were each heavily subsidised by their governments, but still acceptable. We hired a single lock up cupboard which arrived efficiently at the beginning of the show. Tradefair have to be mentioned for their forward freighting. Not that we used it but the feedback from other exhibitors suggested they were very good.

The show was definitely a success. We met everyone we had appointments for and clearly made contact with a lot of new potential clients from around the region. Our PHABRIX SxA and the eye and jitter PHABRIX SxE found a ready niche for portable test and measurement for broadcasters in the Middle East where quality is seen as a key differentiator. Distributor links were made and all in all, despite the seemingly long hours on the stand, the banter from fellow exhibitors made it enjoyable and the flow of traffic, quiet the first day due to the rain, very busy the second day and trailing off on the third day by 4pm, made this a less hectic show than NAB and IBC.

If you do your homework I would definitely suggest having a look at promoting your business at CABSAT. Finally I would like to thank those of you in the industry who helped make this a success for PHABRIX – we appreciated the assistance. Oh I remember one last tip, no one mentioned beer at £8.00 a pint until I bought the round!


Tags: iss040 | phabrix | cabsat | tradeshow advice | tradeshow feedback | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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