Attending trade shows is incredibly beneficial if you set a plan and goals before you go.
If you’ve never attended a trade show before, they can be a bit daunting; however, with proper preparation, they can provide you with a lot of exposure to new trends and technologies within a relatively short period of time! In this article, we will be sharing some useful tips to make sure attending your first trade show is a success.
1. Preparation is Key
Take time before the show to look over the floor layout and the list of companies that will be in attendance. Make note of companies you want to visit. It can be useful to mark vendors on the map so you can get an idea of where things are before you hit the floor.
2.Review Your Goals
Review your goals, both for your company as a whole and for your specific role.
- First, why do you feel you should attend the trade show? If you had to justify to your employer why you should be out of the office to attend the show, what would you say? Start by thinking about your specific role, which vendors do you work with and who are their competitors? Their competition might have a functional or monetary advantage. What about your competition? Are they offering something new that you haven’t developed yet? Who are your customers and what challenges are your customers presenting you with? Keep an eye out for new technologies that might be able to assist you.
- After you have developed goals for your specific role, take a moment to think about your company as a whole. Create a list of items that would benefit some of your coworkers. These are your secondary goals. Creating these lists helps you focus on a specific set of objectives before you arrive at the show. Trade shows are huge events and every vendor is trying to get your attention with their latest and greatest product or service. While what they have to offer might be interesting, it might not be relevant to your business. It is usually best to approach the show with a set of objectives that you can focus on. If you see something interesting that might not be relevant, note the vendor and location, and if you have time, circle back later in the show.
3. Take Notes
Remember how I mentioned trade shows provide you with a lot of exposure within a relatively short period of time? It’s true, you will be given a lot of new information at very high rates. Write notes on business cards or marketing materials to help you remember things after you leave a booth. Sometimes things can start to blend together and these notes will help jog your memory. It is also useful to remember that you won’t be able to see everything. If you try, you won’t be able to learn much about what’s in each booth and where’s the value in that? Take time to prioritize where you want to spend your time.
4. Partner with an Industry Veteran
A valuable trade show experience is to walk the show with an industry veteran if possible - someone who knows your business and has been to these type of shows before. Even if they are unable to stick with you for the entire event, even an hour or two will help you get your bearings. That being said, even if you go with a group, take time to walk the show by yourself as their goals might vary from your own.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Trade shows can be exciting and sometimes feel overwhelming at first, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! You’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You also need to remember to eat and drink so you have plenty of energy to make it through the show. Days spent at trade shows are long, so take time to rest and relax your mind.
Have you attended many trade shows? What tips and tricks have you found most useful?
There are several great material handling and supply chain trade shows coming up this year. One of the biggest, MODEX Show, is April 9-12 in Atlanta, GA. You can visit us at booth B4169 to see five of our latest innovations!
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