A common misconception about trade shows is that they are all about promotion. While this is an important part of attending a mass industry event like a trade show, another equally important part of being at the big expos is learning from others in the industry and networking to develop those important partnerships for the future. In any industry, you are going to be in competition with other companies. But, you will also be making partnerships and forging alliances with some of these other companies in the industry. These may be companies that do very similar business to yours, or they may also be companies working in an entirely different capacity and marketing their products and services to companies like yours.
In order to make sure that you get the most out of your next trade show, you should always take some time to wander away from your own trade show booth and check out what other companies are exhibiting. Wander between the various table displays. Take notes on what other companies are pushing, how they are branding themselves, how they are attracting attention and whether they have any new ventures.
This information will not only prove incredibly useful in giving your own company an edge on the competition, but it will also allow you to identify possible opportunities for collaboration and partnering. It’s not always about competition all the time. For example, you may notice that a competitors table displays are spotlighting a new feature that they have which allows their customers to take advantage of a great new service. This was only possible because of a strategic partnership that they formed with another firm.
Take advantage of seeing the trade show booth and exhibits of other companies to do some competitor research. But, try not to relate to other companies in your industry only as competitors. As they say, if it’s you against the world all the time, you better bet on the world. So, try to bring more of your competitors into the fold by forming partnerships and networking to see if there are individuals who you may like to lure to your side. At major expos, this is a crucial part of your presence. Remember, business isn’t all about competition all the time. There should be a healthy dose of collaboration thrown in there as well.