Following last year’s success the Small Business Expo returns to Auckland over three days in May.
While technology giants such as Vodafone, HP and Microsoft use the event to showcase their latest
products, they are also keen to involve channel partners.
Julien Leys, spokesman for organiser Sarah Trotman, says the calibre of the event has gone up a notch this year.
“We’ve had to expand from two halls to three in order to meet exhibitor demand and still people have missed out,” he says.
Warwick Grey, HP SMB marketing manager, says his company will be working with its partners during the expo.
“HP will run a unique expo offer to be sold through its partners. While the customers are there I think it’s great to close the sales loop and make introductions,” he says.
Grey is passionate about helping HP partners be successful in the SME sector but admits there is no single solution that works.
“You have to take a very holistic approach to marketing to SMEs. Part of the answer is to take a product, an audience and customise material to suit that market.”
Grey believes many SMEs don’t understand the benefits of working with a technology partner.
“They aren’t used to asking the right questions. It’s very similar to go to the doctor and ask for a diagnosis when you aren’t sure what the symptoms are.”
He says the combination of highlighting successful partnerships and driving demand through events is a great way to start.
Jan Ferguson, Microsoft small business manager, says the expo is a fantastic opportunity to get in front of over 7,000 attendees.
“Technology can be such a complex thing. Microsoft will be showing SMEs how to do more with less as well as giving a flavour of what’s to come from Vista and Office,” she says.
Microsoft is sponsoring a seminar series as well as conducting on-stand demonstrations on basic DIY technology.
Without giving away details Ferguson promises Microsoft will also be offering expo-only specials through partners.
“A lot of Microsoft partners have booked stands and the intent is to hook up with them during the three days to drive potential customers their way,” she says.