Making the Most of Packaging Trade Shows
Packaging trade shows afford the opportunity to connect with key industry contacts, discover innovative solutions, develop cutting-edge strategies and expand your personal growth. However, it’s easy to feel lost among the conglomerate brands and bustling exhibit halls that overpower most major industry events. Whether you’re about to attend a packaging trade show for the first time or you’re just looking to make your next experience better than previous trade shows, these tips will help you feel prepared and productive.
Packaging trade shows offer countless rewarding opportunities—but which will be most valuable for your company or personal growth? Setting clear goals can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and getting euchred into sales pitches or education sessions that aren’t relevant to your needs. Goals will also help you stay on task—even if you don’t meet all of them, you’ll surely gain more than you would be wandering around aimlessly. Some examples of trade show goals may include:
- Learn about a new packaging trend and how to use or sell it
- Find a solution to a recent packaging challenge you’ve been facing
- Create connections with individuals and companies that can add value to your business—whether that be through improving product quality, logistics, graphic design or marketing
- Prospect five potential customers
- Recruit top-tier talent, or search for your next career growth opportunity
- Introduce a new product or service offering to the market
The benefits of registering early are threefold—you can:
- Take advantage of early-bird pricing
- Secure your ideal travel and accommodations
- Have more time to plan
Considering the cost, time away from the office and planning involved, some people may experience anxiety when thinking about committing to a trade show. But pulling the trigger early will likely save money in the long run and allow you to better prepare in the months leading up to the trade show. More importantly, attending a trade show is an investment in the business, your personal development and continuing education. If you’re struggling to gain buy-in, do your due diligence to present a compelling case that will convince your boss to send you.
Create two checklists: what you’ll need to bring on behalf of the company and what you’ll need to bring for yourself. If you plan on setting up a booth, make sure your materials are in good shape and you know how to assemble everything—there’s nothing like realizing you forgot the stand to hold up your 6-foot banner! Or, consider if your company should plan any digital content around the event, such as social media posts, blogs or retargeting ads.
Even if you’re attending solo, you’ll need plenty of business cards, fact sheets and possibly branded giveaways to make an impression on the people you meet. Coordinate any necessary restocks and create fresh marketing materials in the weeks leading up to the show. When packing your wardrobe, remember that you’re a reflection of your company—but comfort is also key since you’ll likely be on your feet for most of the day.
Take a look at the trade show’s website to see who else is attending. If there are particular companies or individuals you’re curious about, put yourself on their radar early on by reaching out to them in advance to schedule a casual meet-up, or even a formal pitch. You can also reach out to your personal contacts to see if anyone already in your network will be attending. Even as the world grows closer through digital capabilities, there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction. A trade show may be one of the only opportunities to get close to others in your industry—take advantage of it!
Create an Agenda
Choose which sessions you’d like to attend in advance so that you’re not scrambling to find the right place as the events are happening. Checking out the trade show map ahead of time will also help you get orientated. Loosely plan each day to assure you’ll achieve everything that needs to get done, but remember to leave yourself some free time as well. Factor in short breaks to stretch your legs or grab a meal. If your schedule allows, you may also like to plan a few hours of sightseeing—getting to experience the culture of a different city is one of the biggest perks of attending a trade show.
Perfect Your Pitch
Throughout a trade show, you’ll be exposed to lots of people wanting to know more about yourself, your company or its products and services. Craft an introduction and an elevator pitch for yourself so you sound confident and compelling. You should also be prepared to answer questions or give product demos—anticipate what people may be curious about, such as:
- How is your product or service better than what I’m using now?
- Why are you attending this trade show?
- How can we add value for each other?
Ultimately, trade shows are about increasing awareness about yourself or your company, so perfecting your pitch and sharing it will be the key to making the most of your experience.
Are you headed to an upcoming packaging trade show?
Connect with one of our dedicated customer services representatives at 866-516-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org – one of our team members will likely be attending too!