There are many reasons to attend a trade show, but most of them fall into one of two categories: promoting your company and learning more about the industry. Sometimes it seems like the first rationale for attending the show can overshadow the second set of reasons. But, in order to get the most out of your next trade show visit, you would do well to ensure that your company (and your team) focuses on both aspects equally. Getting your name out there is one thing, but learning more about the industry through listening, learning and connecting with others is also invaluable.
The team staffing your trade show booth should be trained to both promote and educate attendees about your company and your products, as well as to recognize where and with whom to make connections that could benefit your company down the line. It’s also very important to make sure that you don’t just hover around your own trade show booth for the entirety of the show. Make sure that you take time to check out other booths on the show floor, as well as to attend any seminars, conferences, or keynote presentations. These can provide an enormous amount of information that can help your company better do business, no matter what industry you’re in.
Taking advantage of educational and networking opportunities will enable your business to better understand and foresee general trends in the industry, as well as to identify competitive advantages and forge connections with other companies that you may want to establish more long-term strategic partnerships with.
A crucial thing to remember is that networking is an important part of a trade show, and it doesn’t only happen on the show floor. You may be tired after a long day working your trade show booth, but getting out and attending some social and informal events can give you the chance to rub shoulders with many other professionals in your industry in a more casual setting. This more relaxed environment can allow you to meet people, forge connections and often times to learn even more than you did at the actual show.
Attending a trade show will often involve a level of expense, especially when materials, travel, shipping, exhibiting and accommodations are all taken into account. Because of this it is important to take advantage of both the promotional and the educational aspects of trade shows. In doing this, you will maximize the benefit that your company gets out of attending the show and gather crucial information which may help guide your business on a more profitable and successful path.