By: Dani Watkins On: May 01, 2014 In: Blog Comments: 0

At ZPS, we are a learning and development company. We get most of our work from word-of-mouth and referrals. However, we have had some discussion within our team around tradeshows. So, for all you businesses, we thought we would share our process for determining if there is value in a tradeshow.

Is there value in doing a tradeshow? How do you pick a tradeshow one that best fits your company and your needs?

If you are a small to medium business, where do you start? It is like any project—Pull the right people, tools, and resources together and off you go.

The item to accomplish when doing a tradeshow, is to pull together a small team. Each person should have different gifts and talents that will contribute differently to the different tasks. Then, start to define if this is a direction you want to take. To begin, this takes some research. For our team, we each took a piece of the puzzle.

 

We divided the tasks into:

  1. Define the budget.
  2. Research tradeshows that would benefit our organization.

Next, we set a deadline, where we would all come together with our research. Based on the research done from each individual, we developed more questions:

  1. What were we willing to spend?
  2. How far are we willing to travel?
  3. Would it be better to just attend the conference or event and network with those in our industry?
  4. Should we attend the conference as attendees and not as an exhibitor to first scope out the current exhibitors?

Whew, after all our research we needed a nap. So many things to think about!

After much research, attending a few conferences and putting our marketing team to work, here is what we came up with.

GO! Budget some extra money to exhibit at tradeshows.

Even if you only attend and take it all in, it is worth it! In the meantime, get your name out there. Speak and attend conferences, big and small. If nothing else, you will come home energized with great ideas. You will network with lots of fabulous people, brainstorm new ideas, create and build upon your vision, and much more.

Overall, we feel the investment is well worth it. The key to tradeshows is finding what fits your budget and which tradeshow will fit your niche market.

Here are some final tips:

  • Talk to your peers, see which tradeshows they have attended. Which ones did they like? Dislike?
  • Research the tradeshow you are interested in.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out and call the tradeshow organizer. Ask questions like, how many people attended last year? Who is their target market? Who attends? Why would we want to be an exhibitor?
  • Review the reviews. See what past presenters, exhibitors and attendees had to say.
  • Look to see how well they market you. Does their show program include basic information about you? Name, address, etc. Or are you able to post a short video or link to your website?

One of the things that we have noticed is that our number of contacts and relationships have increased. Even if only by a few from each conference, networking is the key! So find a tradeshow today. Make the investment. Don’t think of it as an expense, think of it as an opportunity…an opportunity to get your name out there and more relationships with great professionals.

By the way, did you know they have tradeshow apps? Look for them in the App store of your preferred smart phone operating system.

Dani Watkins
Dani Watkins, Chief Learning Experience Officer
Zenith Performance Solutions
Dani Watkins is the Chief Learning Experience Officer and owner of Zenith Performance Solutions. She has designed and delivered instructor-led, eLearning, vILT, blended, and 3D Immersive training courses for business skill, proprietary, and technical content across many industries. She most recently was awarded the 2014 Bronze Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Best Custom Content. When she isn’t igniting learning experiences, you can find her hanging out with her family or running a Colorado trail.

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