Trade Shows in a Nutshell?
You learn the word in business school, but you’re not sure what it entails until you actually attend one. A trade show is a big corporate conference/event that aims to bring together people who have an interest in a common industry, whether they are businesses, customers, partners, or even individuals who are curious about a certain field. They usually happen in convention centers in popular cities and it can last up to 7 days. The idea is to give several opportunities for attendees to get the latest updates within the industry, to expose and highlight their business but also, to network and build professional relationships that can be beneficial in the long term. They sound very impressive, cost a pretty penny and are more exhausting than anticipated – every time. Read on to find out how to maximize your investment and minimize the distractions that can be all to present at trade shows.
Who should attend?
Anyone interested in the industry in question can attend. However, it is mostly important for business executives to attend in order to learn how to apply best practices within their company. Note that it is also beneficial to have marketing and sales members attend in order to improve the networking experience at the event. Whoever you choose to send will be a brand ambassador who can uncover insights for your organisation to utilize for growth and success.
Why Attend a Tradeshow?
1. Networking Opportunities
The most important part of a trade show is being able to walk around the convention center and explore the different businesses who impact and are impacted by the industry in question. Make as many connections as you can as you never know when the need for a specific business will occur.
Another opportunity you get at a trade show that you wouldn’t necessarily get in another event is being able to network on a daily basis in several settings. As it was stated before, trade shows typically last several days so there are countless opportunities to network from sharing a meal to sharing an elevator ride to your room at the end of a long day – everyone is there for the same reason, to make and foster connections.
2. Industry and Product Knowledge
The main purpose of a trade show is to bring people who have a common industry or challenge to solve together. This allows businesses to share their knowledge and updates with other players in the industry which contributes to the overall progress of said industry and the businesses . Best practices are exposed and many keynotes and sessions are organized to give sponsors a chance to highlight their products and services to a targeted audience, who is more likely to be present at the trade show event. It is an easy way to connect with your market, your customers, and your partners.
3. Get Inspired
Most business executives get inspired to level up and make changes to the status quo when they uncover best practices and what is coming from other industry players to increase success and revenues. Trade shows serve as a great opportunity to get some new insights and inspire to do greater things. Even though not all changes will be immediate, the foundation for new ideas often starts when we are challenged and given time to think outside of normal job functions and daily operations.
Trade Show Checklists
- Bring your business cards: although many trade shows provide sponsors with a way to scan your badge and share your contact information through the barcode, it is important to keep business cards with you for when you are not at the exposition or when a scanner fails (things happen!). Also, it is useful in case you meet another attendee like yourself who you would like to connect with further in the future.
- Pack lightly: most sponsors will give out promo materials at trade shows and you will likely collect a lot of them. Make sure you have space in your luggage to bring back some of these goodies! Be careful if you are traveling across the border with the items you pickup (no scissors here).
- Wear comfortable shoes: you will be standing and walking all day for several days. It is very important to dress appropriately, but make sure your shoes are comfortable even if they are not 100% in sync with your outfit. Ladies, if you want to wear heels, bring something comfortable to switch into to walk back to your room/car (the hallways end up feeling like a marathon otherwise).
- Dress appropriately: it goes without saying that you should not show up with ripped jeans (unless you are at a fashion trade show). It is a corporate event and the dress code should be business casual. Plan accordingly based on the weather, as well. Bring a sweater or blazer though, because many trade shows are overly air conditioned.
- Bring a laptop or a notebook: keynotes and sessions are designed to give you new information related to the industry so it is important you take notes. Make sure you have the right equipment to do so. Find out before you take down anything, if existing session notes are distributed.
- Be ready to talk to people: although it can be uncomfortable to go up to strangers and strike a conversation, it is very important you push yourself to talk to people at trade shows. It is crucial you meet as many people as you can so you get as much information as you can on the different businesses interested in your industry. Our advice: if you make eye contact with someone, say hello. This way, you are already halfway done through the uncomfortable part of starting a conversation.
- Do most of the work… before: Planning is everything. The more work you do in advance, the more professional you will look, and you are more likely to reach your objectives, especially when you share them with your team. . Make sure there is a purpose to your attendance whether it is to generate leads, to increase your professional network, to learn, etc. Make sure you know why you are attending so you can measure the success of the trade show in the end. Our advice: We break down our objectives into daily KPIs so we can track the success of each day of the trade show. That way we celebrate our success, or adjust our approach for the next day on a daily basis.
Trade shows are a very important part of the corporate world and you should definitely consider researching the ones that apply to your industry and check them out. Make sure you are prepared for them and that all your goals are set before attending. It’s the perfect way to accomplish your goals while having a blast.
Speaking of trade shows, Big Bang will be sponsoring the upcoming Oracle NetSuite’s SuiteWorld 2019 in Las Vegas, starting April 1st, 2019. If you will be there, come see us at our booth #1687.