What Are They?
Trade Shows are gatherings of individuals within industries that enable networking and commerce. While many shows are open to the public, most that serve manufacturing strictly control attendance to ensure that buyers and suppliers encounter as many valuable prospects or potential partners or suppliers as possible
Shows can be focused locally, regionally, nationally or globally. For most small and medium sized manufacturers, the first two options have traditionally held the most opportunity. As manufacturing and supply chains have expanded, all can offer today’s small machining and manufacturing business opportunities to export or supply to customers anywhere, depending on your business goals. Like many online models such as Online Marketplaces, Online Directories, and the Web itself, Trade Shows offer you the opportunity to meet with buyers that match your business and capabilities, and to educate them on your products, capabilities and value.
Why Are They Important?
While the Web has been forecast to render them obsolete for many years, Trade Shows remain a viable industrial marketing tool and can offer tremendous opportunities to meet strong prospects for job shops that choose the right event and location. The reality is that in industries like manufacturing, where product design & development are often tightly controlled via qualifications, strict quality demands and regulations, nothing will replace a ‘handshake.’ Buyers must, at some point, verify the physical qualities and veracity of a potential supplier. What the Internet has done is to put off that assessment until later in the relationship, after the buyer has identified and researched the potential supplier online. Trade Shows allow for that qualification to take place at the beginning of the relationship, and provide the opportunity to create valuable leads from first impressions in person. Also, Trade Shows can allow for a convenient point to meet prospects with which your business has already been in contact.
Key Elements & Considerations:
Just as it’s important to build & prepare your Website correctly before launching an integrated marketing plan, it’s important for you to prepare yourself before attending an industrial trade show. Here’s a link to some general, best practices to maximize your investment
And like your entire Web strategy, the primary goal of exhibiting or attending a Trade Show is to establish contacts from which to develop business relationships. Get business cards or log prospects’ contact info. Add this information to your Leads database to contact them after the event, and to send periodic updates or email newsletters to maintain contact and sustain top-of-mind branding for when they may need your services in the future
Trade Shows can be expensive, when you factor in the costs of travel, per diem, transportation of materials, and loss of resources from your shop floor or front office. Scrutinize these costs closely as you assess an event’s value to your business.
An excellent event organization that manages several regional Trade Shows for job shops & contract manufacturers to meet buying prospects is Design 2 Part Shows