Trade Show TalesBlog

Your Guide to Industrial Trade Shows

February 22nd, 2022 COMMENTS
Industrial Trade Shows

Nearly every industry has a trade show or trade shows, whether you’re in the road construction industry, medical devices, publishing, or shoe design and manufacturing. There are 1000’s of trade shows in North America each year and 100’s of thousands worldwide. 

A subset of those trade shows is industrial trade shows. Those include shows for manufacturing, engineering, metal fabrication, wood products, machine tools, robotics along with a host of others. They include trade fairs like World of Concrete, IMTS, PackExpo, AHR Expo, and FabTech

Getting Started with Industrial Trade Shows

Industrial trade shows are generally BIG. While they may not have more exhibitors or more attendees than non-industrial trade shows, the booth space for the larger exhibitors can be MASSIVE. So massive in fact that the show halls often extend into the parking lots for the large equipment manufacturers… Imagine cranes, dump trucks, helicopters, mining equipment, planes, and building materials. 

In the United States, these shows tend to gravitate to the larger convention halls like  McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, the Anaheim Convention Center, and the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Participating in these shows isn’t much different from other industry shows although the logistics along with the installation and dismantling requires more planning. That said, not all exhibitors are in 400 x 800 ft. islands. There are still exhibitors in 10 ft. and 20 ft. inline trade show displays with products and services critical to their industry.    

Types of Industrial Shows

  • Aerospace and Aviation
  • Agriculture and Farming
  • Building and Construction
  • Energy/Oil and Gas
  • Forest Products
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Manufacturing
  • Material Handling, Logistics, and Shipping
  • Woodworking

4 Tips to Be Successful at an Industrial Trade Show

There’s no fairy dust or magic potion to ensure you’ll be successful at an industrial trade show. You already know your products and are an expert in your industry. You just need a beautiful booth and some eager salespeople, right? If that were true, then every exhibitor would be returning from a trade show with thousands of qualified leads. It takes the right attitude and a whole lotta planning. 

#1. Do You Believe in Trade Shows? 

You either do or you don’t. There’s no middle ground because exhibitors who “waffle” when it comes to trade show marketing are mostly wasting their money.

Trade shows are much more efficient than they used to be because most attendees no longer “walk” the floor. They “research” and “shop” the floor just like they would an online purchase. They’ve already decided which companies they’ll visit days, even weeks before their feet hit the aisle carpet. Getting them to your booth pre-show is more important now than luring them into your booth at the show.

#2. Do You Believe in Metrics and ROI? 

Of course, you do. Imagine conducting a sales and marketing presentation without metrics. You love numbers and enjoy reciting them to others like parables from the Bible. You get visibly excited using a spreadsheet to compare Product A vs. Product B. 

But, when it comes to your trade show marketing, you are like a four-year-old with blocks, counting the # of leads as an accurate measure of success. For most exhibitors, anything beyond that falls into quantitative voodoo. They don’t measure costs, return on sales or contribution margin per client. You need to set goals, both quantitative and qualitative, and measure them. That’s what adults do. 

#3. Are You a Good Judge of People? 

You should be. It’s required for anyone in sales and marketing. At every trade show, you are doing two things:  meeting with customers and suppliers and evaluating your trade show staff. 

Far too often, we are spectacular at the first and abysmal at the second. We view trade show staffing along the same lines as a wedding invitation — the more the merrier and we pray no one gets drunk and pukes in public. Train your team and hold them accountable. See #2 about metrics and ROI. 

#4. Are You an Expert in Trade Show Marketing?

I won’t bother to feed your ego on this one. You aren’t. Not even close. You may be an expert at social media, SEO, print advertising, and closing techniques, but you probably have limited knowledge about exhibit design and trade show marketing. 

That’s not to say you aren’t a marketing and sales genius, but trade show marketing is a specialized craft. 

Be smart. Work with an exhibit house or trade show consultant.  They will guide you on strategy, show services, ROI tracking, booth training, etc. They’ve seen all the painful mistakes exhibitors make that cost them money.  Believe me … they want your trade show marketing to be wildly successful. That way you’ll add more shows to your schedule, you’ll purchase new exhibits, and you’ll tap into their other services

industrial automation trade shows

Industrial Automation Exhibitions

IME West

Engineering West (IME West) is the largest annual advanced manufacturing event in the US, bringing together suppliers and buyers for every part of the product development cycle.

FABTECH

When it comes to metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing, FABTECH is the only event that makes it possible to see it all together and find the latest in manufacturing equipment. North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event. 

Pack Expo International

PACK EXPO International is the most comprehensive show for packaging and processing solutions for every industry, educational sessions, and networking opportunities. No other event showcases more technology—including product launches—or allows for collaboration with industry leaders across 40+ vertical markets.

Conexpo/Con-AGG

CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the only event that connects experts from every major construction sector. Here, you’ll meet the people who make the machines, discover new technologies, and build relationships in the construction community.

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)

OTC is a global event that connects offshore energy professionals from more than 130 countries to collaborate and discuss the challenges, solutions and changing energy landscape of the offshore energy sector.

Manufacturing Trade Shows

International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)

The International Manufacturing Technology Show is the leading global marketplace to connect buyers and sellers of manufacturing equipment, products, and software through exhibitions, events, and partnerships to advance the industry and its businesses.

AHR Expo

The AHR Expo provides a unique forum where manufacturers of all sizes and specialties come together to share ideas and showcase the future of HVACR technology. Since 1930, the AHR Expo has remained the industry’s best place for OEMs, engineers, contractors, technicians, facility operators, architects, educators, and other industry professionals. 

World of Concrete

World of Concrete is the industry’s annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries. Featuring indoor and outdoor exhibits with the industry’s leading suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, exciting demonstrations and competitions, and a world-class education program.

POWER-GEN International

POWERGEN is the largest network and business hub for electricity generators and solution providers engaged in power generation. Power producers, utilities, EPCs, consultants, OEMs, and large-scale energy users gather at POWERGEN International to discover new solutions as centralized power generation business models evolve into cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

Other Industrial Trade Shows

North American Farm and Power Show

The North American Farm & Power Show brings the industry’s leading innovators in agriculture technology, equipment, and science to the front step of America’s farming heartland. The North American Farm & Power Show serves as a midwestern hub for exhibitors to showcase their latest products and innovations. 

The Utility Expo

The Utility Expo is the largest event for utility professionals and construction contractors in electrical transmission, electrical distribution, telecom, natural gas, vegetation management, water, and wastewater.

International Woodworking Fair

The International Woodworking Fair® is one of the world’s top events for the custom and general woodworking industries, bringing together the latest solutions in architectural woodwork, cabinetry, flooring, furniture manufacturing, engineered products, doors, windows, machinery, tools, metals, plastics and more.

International Roofing Expo

The International Roofing Expo (IRE) is where residential and commercial contractors, remodelers, builders, distributors, architects, engineers, suppliers, and manufacturers from across the globe come together for education, product sourcing, and networking.

MODEX – Material Handling and Logistics Solutions

At MODEX 2022, the premier manufacturing and supply chain experience. Qualified buyers come from every state in the U.S. and over 140 countries to engage 1:1 with solution providers and supply chain experts.

SEMA Show

The SEMA Show represents the $47.8 billion automotive aftermarkets. It is the only trade show that brings together every segment of the automotive industry, from hot rods and off-roads to mobile electronics and collision repair.

AAPEX –Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo

AAPEX is the premier event representing the more than $1.6 trillion global automotive aftermarket industry. Exhibitors and attendees can explore new products and technologies and connect with the industry’s top leaders, educators, innovators, and trainers. 

industrial trade show

Conquering Industrial Trade Shows with Classic Exhibits

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producer and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a portable display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.

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