A lot of the posts on our blog here have to do with trade show design and the logistics of exhibiting as a vendor at a trade show, but what about the importance of just attending some of the major expos within your industry, or even within another industry? There is something to be said for simply being an observer, focusing on taking notes, market research, developing relationships and the rest. In short, sometimes it is better to just focus on being an attendee at a trade show rather than an exhibitor.
As an attendee, how do you decide which trade shows you should attend? There are so many different options these days as nearly every industry has expos, many times there are several, perhaps even regional trade shows and conferences. One thing about businesses these days is that they love to network with other companies and other professionals in their industry. So, your first consideration when trying to decide which trade shows to attend is what do exactly do you want to get out of your attendance at your next trade show?
Are you doing intensive market research? Do you plan on wandering from trade show booth to trade show booth taking notes on exactly what each company is offering in terms of products and services and how they go about their marketing, etc.? Are you trying to improve your own professional education? If so, you may want to choose a conference or show that includes keynote discussions, seminars and classes that can help develop your skills. These types of offerings are standard at many major expos.
Perhaps, you have a specific mission in mind for attending a trade show. Maybe, you are trying to identify potential partners for an upcoming venture that you are trying to get off the ground. If this is the case you will want to scrutinize the list of exhibitors and identify not only companies that you should look into, but also individuals whom you should target.
There are many different ways to get value out of industry events like trade shows and major expos. As an attendee, the most important thing to determine which shows to attend is to find out exactly what you need and then select the best event which can help you achieve your goals.