Trade shows can be incredibly effective, but they can also be a complete waste of time and money. Your potential for success at a trade show depends a great deal on your advance preparation.
To maximize your participation consider the following before you’re off and running to PACK EXPO, the world’s largest packaging and processing event that delivers innovations to advance your business objectives.
PACK EXPO is a production of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, which is a trade association representing 600+ packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through its various programs including: The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, packexpo.com, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events, educational programs and more.
1. Gauge Prospecting Opportunities
Participating in trade shows can require a major investment of time, money, and resources. Be tough in your evaluation of a show's worthiness by profiling the PACK EXPO exhibitors to be sure it's worth your time to attend. You want to choose trade shows that best target the audience that you want to reach and best suit your participation goals.
Pick out the top 10-20 exhibitors you know buy your product or service. Research their websites, social media presence, Google map their location (some businesses look bigger in their perception than they are in reality). Try to narrow the list down to the top 10-15.
Avoid the confusion and long lines at the PACK EXPO show by pre-registering for your name badge. Also, now is the time to plan to bring any employees who would greatly benefit from attending the trade show. Attend seminars and workshops if available, these educational presentations are why you're going.
3. Book Hotel
Try to book a hotel very close to the trade show. Check to see if the PACK EXPO trade show organizers have reserved rooms at a discount. Make reservations for transportation and lodging early on.
Bonus tip: Check out off brand sites like AirBnB sometimes there is a better deal closer to the event and you'll have a kitchen, which cuts down on expenses.
4. Trade Show Display Crate
Make sure to get your trade show display spruced-up and packed and ready to go in your trade show crate. Make sure to allow enough time for the crate to arrive in the loading area within the time line dictated by the event coordinators.
Having a painted crate can help aid in identification once your on-site waiting for a forklift driver to deliver your trade show crate... all so you can unpack it and set up for the event.
5. Gather Marketing Materials
Put together marketing collateral to have on hand at the trade show, bring more than you intend on handing out. Remember to include: timely information, a one-page company biography, a corporate structure chart, sales figures, complete product information (specs, distribution methods, pricing), photos, and key contact info. Don't forget to bring plenty of your own business cards!
6. Practice Pitch
Decide how you'll pitch your product to Pack Expo exhibitors and attendees. Practice your pitch and your presentation of the marketing package until it comes naturally and doesn't sound like a pitch.
7. Set Goals
Ask yourself what you want to get out of it. Do you expect to sell, learn, brand, or launch? Have set goals of what you'd like to accomplish such as; a number of vendors to visit, increased visibility, gaining exposure, purchasing, attending seminars, new product discovery, or specific contacts you'd like to acquire in the Material Handling industry.
You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in trade shows is going to achieve. Set your objectives (i.e.10 new orders, 50 contacts, 25 qualified leads, three articles in trade journals, etc.) and track your results.
8. Know your Company's Needs
Know your inventory needs before the show. More efficient purchasing will save you money by grouping your orders to take advantage of discounts and special offers, as well as keeping you within budget.
You can come back from the event with helpful information for other members of your team such as Purchasing, HR, Marketing or Production. imagine, by knowing your own company's needs before the show you can seek out:
- New suppliers who can provide efficient purchasing which can save money.
- New job applicants often frequent trade shows, this is a great opportunity to meet some new talent.
- Competitor analysis is as easy as stopping by their booth and grabbing some collateral.
- New technology can affect everything from tools, software, and devices.
Pick out professional, but very comfortable attire, as you will be on your feet for 2-8 hours, depending on how many exhibitors you plan to see. Allow enough room in your suitcase for bringing back more than you take. This includes literature, freebies, and product samples. Some PACK EXPO exhibitors provide bags, but come prepared by bringing a comfortable carryall for all that literature.
10. Get the word out!
Get the word out that you're participating in a particular trade show by inviting your colleagues, clients, customers, and suppliers. Be sure you include all the details and a link to the registration page.
These are just some objectives you can strive for in order to stay connected to the Material Handling industry. Follow these 10 tips for maximizing your time at the PACK EXPO show, and you'll be confident in knowing that the time you spend at the PACK EXPO show is worthwhile.
Valley Box is a premiere industrial-grade packaging company protecting manufacturer's products inside custom wood crates and made-to-order material handling equipment since 1965.
Valley Box packaging experts develop specialized solutions for trade show crates which require additional planning to design the interior so that display components can be conveniently removed and loaded on location, while maintaining proper protection during transit. Valley Box helps you maximize your trade show display investment by incorporating protective details such as; foam or carpet lined surfaces, metal edged corners, vibrant painted exteriors, loading ramps, pedestals on casters and more.