What You Can Learn from Big Trade Shows

Event planners can learn a lot from the massive trade shows that occur in the United States, even if your event is a small-scale affair. For instance, successful big trade shows can teach you about how to effectively use a physical space. Here are three big shows that have a lot to offer:

  1. Farm Progress; Decatur, Illinois (September 2015). A whopping 150,000 agriculture professionals attend Farm Progress every year, checking out the informative sessions and visiting the booths of more than 600 exhibitors. The show connects 2 million U.S. farm and ranch stakeholders and agribusiness executives, representing approximately 85% of the national gross domestic product for agriculture.
  • What you can learn from Farm Progress: This show is technology-forward in its approach to the show experience, using multimedia and live events to connect with its target audience. The event website and mobile app include an interactive floor plan of exhibitors and a planning feature that helps attendees prepare for the event. The “My Show Planner” tool enables users to make appointments for product demonstrations and network with other attendees. Exhibitors and participants at your trade show can take advantage of these organization tools.
  1. International CES; Las Vegas, Nevada (January 2016). The Consumer Electronics Association hosts this annual show, which is the premier event of its kind in the consumer electronics industry. Innovators like Samsung and Apple leverage International CES to release new products and unveil new developments. It’s the largest hands-on event of its kind that showcases technologies for more than 160,000 attendees.
  • The takeaways from International CES: Because the exhibit hall is so massive, planners have developed a virtual tour app that helps attendees navigate the floor and guide them to the booths they want to visit. The floor tour app ensures that busy executives and thought leaders make the most of their time in the exhibit hall. International CES also offers a mobile app that helps exhibitors share content and build communities through storytelling, further boosting the networking opportunities.
  1. International Manufacturing Technology Show; Chicago, Illinois (September 2016). IMTS hosts more than 114,000 decision makers in the manufacturing industry for a week at McCormick Place, covering the 1.2 million square footage of exhibit hall space. They come to see innovative technology that represents solutions to their manufacturing problems.
  • IMTS lessons: The show’s Exhibitor Passport is a Web app designed to help companies target prospects, re-establish contacts from the previous show, and plan for show events. There are even features for staying on top of sales and marketing budgets. The key to the Passport is that users can take advantage of the valuable tools throughout the year – not just during the show.

What’s the largest show you’ve ever organized and what did you learn from it? Do you think these lessons from mammoth shows can help organizers host smaller-scale events? Please let us know your thoughts.

 For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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