Trade shows and conferences have been organized for many years to bring together various industry players. They provide a platform for you to showcase your products, to compare yourself with other businesses in the industry, and to position yourself according to the unique services that you can offer to customers.
There are many different types of trade shows and conferences, and the ones that you choose to attend will ultimately determine how you prepare for attendance. For example, selecting a trade show with a broad target audience may suit your business if you’re looking for overall visibility within the market. However, a more niche trade show/conference may better suit your company if you’re looking to market a product for a niche audience.
It is important to understand the options that are available before you select the event that you will participate in. In fact, it is often recommended that you first attend the event as a guest before you become a participant. Most trade shows and conferences can be broken down as follows.
National trade shows and conferences feature the cream of the crop. They are larger events that bring together industry leaders from across the country to showcase leading market products and to pave the way for future trends.
In the case of a national conference, participants and attendees will engage in educational sessions and other informational seminars that are led by specific people. They can be likened more to a discussion that takes place within a large meeting hall where people share ideas and discuss what is of interest to the industry.
On the other hand, national trade shows will feature booths where various companies display their products and services for attendees and other participants to see. They occur on an exhibit hall floor and people tend to navigate many different booths of interest to see what each has to offer.
Regional shows tend to narrow down to more specific market segments. They are mostly held at the state or township level and provide a more personal environment for participants.
Regional shows can provide an excellent platform for newer businesses to begin exhibiting their products and services.
Industry-specific shows (also called horizontal shows) are geared towards members of a specific industry. They bring together similar types of businesses to discuss industry-specific topics or to display related product lines. For example, the HVAC industry may hold a horizontal show to only showcase refrigeration products.
If you have products that appeal to a niche market (such as golfers or people who love boats), you may find market-specific shows very resourceful. These shows attract members of a niche market and provide a platform for them to explore what is of interest.
Seminars and meetings
There are other unique ways through which you can showcase your business to your target audience. You can leverage association meetings and chamber of commerce events that are organized within specific localities. These events attract nearby businesses as well as customers.