Model Case

Attracting Japanese companies to exhibit at trade show in South East Asia – Model Case

You must have thought about making your own exhibition more international by attracting companies from overseas like Japan. However, when it comes to Japanese companies, it may seem like a hurdle due to language issues and unfamiliarity with the channels to attract exhibitors.

This article summarizes the project in which we attracted Japanese companies and visitors to exhibit at a trade show organizes by our client from Southeast Asia.

We provide marketing and sales support for B2B companies looking to enter the Japanese market from overseas. If you are unsure of what marketing strategies are effective in the Japanese B2B market, or if you would like to conduct content marketing but do not know how to do it, please feel free to contact us.

Prerequisite Concepts

  • Since companies exhibiting at overseas exhibitions on their own must be of a certain scale of business, the number of potential companies is limited. In other words, it is necessary to take actual measures after narrowing down the targets.
  • As for attracting visitors to the exhibition, it is necessary to proceed with the policy of gaining mass recognition, since there are many potential customers.

#1 Listed up companies that have exhibited at overseas exhibitions in the past, and contact them for sales

Key concept

Japanese companies that had already exhibited at overseas exhibitions on their own were considered the most likely customers in terms of their willingness to enter overseas markets and their low psychological hurdles to overseas exhibitions.

What specific tasks were performed?

Utilizing the official websites of the world’s major trade fairs in that industry, trade fair-related magazines, and industry news, we compiled a list of Japanese companies that had exhibited at overseas trade show over the past three to four years. Then we contacted each division of the listed companies.

The reason why we needed to make contacts with all the divisions of each company was that usually Japanese companies don’t have a marketing department that oversees all business divisions, and in many cases, each division has the authority to decide which trade shows to exhibit at or how to conduct marketing within a set budget.

#2 Listed up companies that had a certain scale of business in that industry, such as publicly listed companies

Key concept

It is difficult for Japanese companies to participate in overseas exhibitions unless they are large in scale and have abundant human and financial resources. Therefore, SMEs were excluded from the target group, and the focus was narrowed down to companies with business scale above a certain level, such as listed companies or companies that had large share.

What specific tasks were performed?

Contacted listed companies and high-performing companies in the industry related to the exhibition. The method of contacting each company was the same as that described above for companies with experience exhibiting at overseas exhibitions.

#3 Sending direct mails based on our own database – mainly for attracting visitors to the show, not for attracting exhibitting companies

Key concept

For attracting visitors to the trade show, measures should be executed with the intention of gaining mass recognition.

What specific tasks were performed?

We recombined our own database to match the theme of the trade show and sent direct mails with the brochure. Althouh we used postal direct mail in that case, the actual mailing method should be changed depending on industry practice.

#4 Advertisement placement in specialized media

Since the theme of the exhibition was highly specialized, advertising in specialized media in Japan was an option. In some industries, there are specialized industry media that are subscribed to by most of the companies and business people engaged in that industry, so placing an ad in such media could yield extremely efficient returns in some cases.

Though we placed ads in specialized media in this case, we need to note that the disadvantages of this option include:

  1. There may be no space available for the advertisement because many other companies try to place an ad on that.
  2. We need to plan the advertisement placement very far in advance.


  • When you think about attracting Japanese companies to exhibit at your trade show, it’s necessary to take measures after narrowing down the targets because the number of potential companies is limited.
  • Once you make the target list, you need to contact each division of the companies because there aren’t marketing sections which oversee all the divisions but divisions themselves have the right to decide.
  • To attract visitors from Japan, you need to think about gaining mass recognition. And if the theme of your trade show is highly specialized, advertisement placement in specialized media can be a choice.

We support overseas companies who try to attract Japanese companies to their own trade shows. If you are thinking about marketing to Japanese companies feel free to contact us for more detail.