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


4 thoughts on “Why you should attend the biggest trade show in your sector

  1. Interesting blog – I was thinking of doing a Trade Show at The Eden Project in September but with just Cornwall as the target audience. Perhaps I am thinking too small.

    • Maybe a useful blend, important to network your local contacts, but think big, go vertical. If there is a sector you are strong in target that rather than attending a design / marketing event where you are competing with fellow designers. ;o)

  2. Leading up to the recession trade shows seemed to be losing ground and that is still true to a certain extent with small, regional shows in the packaging sector. Interpack has always been the major exception to this rule, just as I imagine that there are other exceptions in different markets.

    Yes, it’s expensive and a load of hassle, but it is so worth it. It is worth the months and months of meticulous planning. It is worth the aching back and feet to talk to people who are attending the show to look for solutions for their businesses.

    I would just like to highlight as well that visitors actually pay to attend Interpack. It costs something like 30 euros to get in. Generally this means that you do not get timewasters and tyre kickers on the stand. People are there to do business, not to get out of the office for a day.

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