Why you should attend the biggest trade show in your sector

I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the world’s biggest packaging shows (Interpack) and see first hand why it was such an important show for so many businesses.

Taking place every three years, Interpack covers all 17 halls of the Dusseldorf Messe and runs for six days, drawing over 160,000 visitors, thousands of exhibitors and the world’s trade media.

You would expect to find major equipment manufacturers selling machinery used in the packaging process, but alongside them were companies representing the dozens of packaging sub-sectors, from films, labelling, retail, paper, card, rolled aluminium, automation, logistics, distribution, food manufacturing and more.

Each of these has its own micro market with trade shows and trade media covering all areas of the world, but rather than being scared away, they elected to invest in Interpack for a number of reasons. In thinking about your own promotional plans, put the cost and time investment to one side and consider the following benefits:

1. You raise profile by swimming with bigger, more established fish and casting your net wider.

2. Attending the major show might cost more, but the media will be in attendance and looking for new product and new application stories. Greater exposure can be achieved.

3. As a smaller player, you will be able to access hitherto unaccessible customers i.e. buyers and specifiers from very large companies. allowing you to develop relationships with people that no amount of direct marketing and cold calling could hope to create.

4. You can create and develop relationships with the media, increasing the likelihood of greater exposure further down the line.

5. The real draw of the exhibition environment is in the live trial and live demonstration of product. This should not be undermined. Build this into pre-event activity and promotion.

6. Use the opportunity of a sector being under one roof to check out your competition.

7. Target major contractors you want to introduce yourself to before the show (especially useful if you are a parts supplier).

Rather than attending lots of small shows, as might be your strategy, why not consider going large and heading for where the majority of the people go, staying true to the objectives of your business, targeting the right people with the right message at the right time in the right place.

Image: Courtesy of Dusseldorf Messe via Packaging News

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Marketing shows you should be attending

Technology for Marketing and Advertising 1-2 March 2011, Earls Court, London

A great show with a fantastic keynote program including Google, Facebook, Ebay and Cisco, lots of breakout seminar programs covering topics such as direct marketing, CRM, data, email, mobile, social media, online and affiliate advertising.

With hundreds of the leading suppliers exhibiting, I’ll be attending this free event on day 2 (2 March) for my third consecutive year to keep up-to-date, make contacts and obtain inspiration.

Social Media World Forum 29-30 March 2011, Olympia, London

This is a social media specific show with a number of interesting sessions. Though the keynote programme is paid for, there are social media hubs taking place throughout the conference on the exhibition floor and these are free to delegates to attend. I should be attending this too.

Internet World 10-12 May, 2011 Earls Court

Though there is a degree of crossover between this and TFM&A, it is very well subscribed show, again with a strong branded plenary session, lots of workshops, seminars and a range of exhibitors covering digital and mobile marketing, ecommerce, social media and content management.

If I can make it, it will be day one.

TFM&A Manchester 26 May 2011, Old Trafford, Manchester

An offshoot of the main TFM&A taking place in Manchester, the agenda is still in development but as its on my doorstep it will be worth a look.

All the above are free to attend, this one will cost you.

Social Media in Manchester conference, 24 March 2011, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

I’m joining a strong panel including representation from Asda, Code, McCann and Juice Digital to discuss the very latest trends, issues and best practice in social media. I’ll be presenting on integrating PR and social media in the b2b space. For more, click here. There are some tickets still available, with 15% discount available until 4th March.

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