Make Your Time at Trade Shows Worthwhile

7 tips to make your trade show experience successful

Winter time is trade show time for many in the ag industry. And unlike other categories, there is no rest for the weary during this busy time for ag marketers.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your time at trade shows:

Checklist. Organize your hit list. Check out the map to familiarize yourself with the trade show layout. Note which exhibits you want to check out.

Preparation. Just don’t show up without any goals or objectives for being there. Trade shows take up a significant chunk of your marketing budget. Yes, you’re there to connect with customers, but you’re there to learn as well.

If you can get your hand on an attendee list, put together a list of people you want to connect with at the show. If you’re ambitious, do some pre-trade show outreach and send emails to those you would like to meet.

Face Time. Set aside time to meet with clients or your agency to discuss current projects or planning for the upcoming year. Take the meeting off the trade show floor, find a private place to have the discussion.

Check in with ag media reps at the event to discuss progress on current projects or future opportunities.

If you’re on the PR side, make contact with ag editors and farm broadcasters when possible, but be respectful of their time as they are likely bouncing from press conferences and chasing down contacts for stories.

Connect with growers. After all, they might be your next testimonial.

Homework. Take time at end of the day to review findings, etc. with colleagues, clients or your agency. It doesn’t have to be formal. Maybe something over dinner.

Take plenty of notes (written and mental). Note what attracts people to exhibits – yours, your competitors and others. Look for exhibitors with lots of customer interaction and note the reasons why. No excuses for not taking notes; lots of pens available at exhibitor booths.

Engage in plenty of conversations. Take the time to interact with other exhibitors, Plus, it’s a great professional networking opportunity for you and your organization. Bring extra business cards.

Have your shipping account information handy to send all those materials back to the office.

Follow-up. If you made contact with customers, prospects or other industry reps, be sure to follow up with a thanks or any information you promised.

Teammates. Have a good support team back at HQ. They are valuable resources if you might need something shipped or emailed. Plus, they are holding down the fort, working on the action items you can’t get to due to your travel. Remember to thank them.

Shoes. Bring comfortable shoes. You will have to cover plenty of square footage, and your feet and legs can take a beating on those concrete floors. You’d be surprised how many miles you can rack up on your Fitbit.

If you’re able to follow most of these tips, your will likely find your time at the trade show to be worthwhile.

Greg Lammert is a PR Senior Account Supervisors at R+K and has planned many client exhibits, activities and press conferences at ag trade shows.

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