What does Bill Gates, co- founder of Microsoft, Kathy Gornik, co-founder of Thiel Audio, and Loyd Ivey, who started MTX Audio have in common? They all accredit their earlier success to trade shows. These titans of industry began as CES (Consumer Electronics Show) presenters who shared a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship and the belief that anyone with an idea should be able to expose it easily.
Everyone knows that building a brand is no easy task. If you are a start-up you have to work around the clock to constantly make sure your presence in the market is noticeable. Sometimes we get caught up in online presence that we tend to forget the importance of person to person interaction, and most importantly word of mouth about your new product.
It’s important to take advantage of every interaction and every opportunity to create brand awareness, and what better place to create brand awareness then at trade shows. We sometimes forget that like-minded people flock to trade shows looking for the next big thing that will help their companies innovate their business; this is especially relevant if you are in the tech world. If Bill Gates accredits his earlier success to attending trade shows shouldn’t we be paying close attention to what he says?
Trade shows are a great place to get your brand out to like-minded individuals that are visionaries and can see how your product can simplify their lives and the lives of their employees. This is where the magic begins—at Trade Shows. Marketing executives know this to be true. In fact a survey was conducted by the nonprofit organisation Center for Exhibition Industry Research Foundation (CEIR), 99 percent of surveyed executives said exhibiting offers unique value not offered by other marketing channels. Business Executives understand trade shows, and they know trade shows drive business. In another CEIR study conducted by Oxford Economics in 2010, findings uncover that each of the top exhibitions in the United States made on average, $82 million in business-to-business sales among exhibitors and attendees. That is an impressive number by any person’s standards.
This is way it’s important to not to forget that Trade shows are not dead, trade shows are important, and you should pencil in time to attend trade shows. However, with more than 3,000 trade shows per year just alone in the United States… How do you begin to decide, which trade shows are worth your time?
Well, here are some of the most important/popular one’s in the United States:
- FutureStack: Hosted by NewRelic. The conference brings together developers, tinkerers, futurists and creative’s to hack, debate and build the software of tomorrow.
- Launch Festival: This conference covers and celebrates technology startups, products and services.
- GigaOM Structure: GigaOM Structure offers the chance to meet and hear from the innovators and thinkers who are building infrastructure to run the applications of tomorrow.
- Techweek: Techweek brings together a mixture of entrepreneurs, visionaries and thought leaders for a week-long celebration of all things tech.
- DEMO: the conference focuses on emerging technologies and new product innovations.
- Google I/O: Google I/O brings together thousands of developers for two days of deep technical content, focused on building the next generation of Web, mobile and enterprise applications with Google and open Web technologies.
- VentureBeat Mobile Summit: Top executives from the mobile industry gather to meet and debate how to accelerate adoption, engagement and monetisation via the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today: predictive apps, advances in mobile ad tech, mobile analytics tools, designing "work-life balance" in mobile apps, mobile-driven retail markets and wearables.
Yes, there are tons of trade shows out there that some people might consider are more important than a few on this list. This is just a starting point. You can do your own research and decide which trade show best fits your needs. It is important to get out there and build your company’s brand awareness at trade shows.