1. Trade Shows are Enormous
Trade shows are big and there is good chance that they are the biggest events that involve your industry and/or your field of expertise. But they do not even have to be that huge if your industry is a small one or if it is very niche; they will still be the most likely place to find other experts in the field, as well as buyers and sellers, i.e. your competition.
If you happen to be involved in an industry where the big players are sequestered and usually do not interact with smaller players, the chances are that you will find them at trade shows and that you can make at least some kind of contact with them.
2. Trade show attendees are action-makers
Besides being huge and attracting people from the industry, trade shows are also places where you will mostly find people who actually make decisions and who act. For example, according to the latest statistics, more than 80% of attendees at trade shows have the purchasing power and almost half of that number have the right to make executive decisions.
The vast majority of people who come to trade shows are people who are there to do business, whether they are buyers or businesses who are looking to make partnerships and get into contact with other businesses. In short, when you set up your exhibition stands at a trade show, you are throwing a net into a fish barrel to modify the common phrase.
3. Trade shows are spying bonanza
Unless you are the leader in your specific industry, there is someone out there who may be doing it better than you and who might have some insight into what you might do to get more competitive. One thing that you can do is talk to them, hoping that you will find out something from them directly. The alternative is to put on your spying a-game and try and gather as much information about them as you can.
But be wary, exhibitors are aware of this and you will need to be subtle to actually get information that is worth something. Still, it is something that you just have to do, if nothing else, then in passing.
4. Trade shows are where you learn
Most trade shows have panels, seminars, lectures and other types of learning opportunities both for you and the people who work for you. These events usually involve the best from the field and these people have a thing or two to teach you.
On the other hand, you can learn a lot about your customers and potential customers, as well as about people who run their own businesses and who might be looking for new partners or customers themselves.
Author: James Burbank has years of experience in trade shows and marketing in various markets in the world. Today he is back States-side due to family reasons and writes about traditional marketing practices and the benefits of old-school brand promotion, for his enjoyment as well as on behalf of NVP Exhibits, an exhibition displays firm from Sydney, Australia. You can find James on Twitter @JBurbank2019.