It’s that time of year again – tradeshow time. Is it the “same ‘ol, same ‘ol” or are these shows really worth making time to attend? Short and long answer to that is YES! Tradeshows are expensive to host and expensive to participate in as an exhibitor which means you are going to see the latest and greatest – be it machinery, crop inputs, marketing tools, etc. And additionally, you are likely to catch some really great show “offers” which can be the best deal you’ll see all year.
Tradeshows on the 2015 winter circuit
Manitoba AgDays, Brandon, Manitoba
Manitoba AgDays is an exposition of agricultural production expertise, technology, and equipment that sprawls over a number of buildings at the Brandon Keystone Centre, January 20-22, 2015. In concert with other ag tradeshows, AgDays features speakers in two theatres discussing the markets, agronomy, and current policy issues.
FarmTech 2015, Edmonton, Alberta
Billed as Canada’s premier crop production and farm management conference and tradeshow, it takes place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre at Northlands, January 27-29, 2015. A regular sell-out, FarmTech has sold out again for this year. Not only can you expect the usual tradeshow, FarmTech brings in very sought after speakers. This year some of the speakers include JoAnne Buth, CEO of Cigi, Ross McKenzie with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, and Peter Mansbridge.
CropConnect Conference 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba
More of a special crops conference with a small tradeshow portion, CropConnect is in its second year, coming off a very successful first year in 2014. Put on by a coalition of commodity groups, CropConnect is February 17-18, 2015 at the Victoria Inn and Conference Centre.
Ag Expo Tradeshow, Lethbridge, Alberta
Held February 25-27, 2015, Ag Expo is dedicated to those exhibitors whose products can directly affect and improve agricultural production. It includes farm equipment, livestock supplies, crop inputs, irrigation, and marketing information.
Getting the most from a tradeshow
It’s easy to become overwhelmed at a tradeshow, and then exhausted. It’s a lot of walking and talking, not to mention eating and drinking, in a warm environment under artificial lights. How do you ensure you get the most out of this experience?
- Have a strategy in place.
What information are you looking for? Are you in the market for equipment? Seed? Do you need information on marketing? Scan the program ahead of time and mark the exhibitors you want to visit. Are there “must-see” booths? Can you make appointments ahead of time? Did you get any mail inviting you to events? Or giving you prizes or special offers?
- When you get to the show make sure you have an up-to-date show map. Double check your plans against that latest exhibitor listing.
- Collect only the information that is useful.
- Make sure exhibitors know you are “on a mission” and get down to business. If the booth is not staffed with the knowledge or experience you need, leave a business card with contact information and ask to be contacted after the show.
- Allow time and opportunity for networking with peers and industry. This is a great time to chat with your commodity group representatives as well as do business.
- Finally, at the tradeshow, if you take advantage of any invitations for afterhours events or hospitality suites, make sure you have a plan to get home or back to your hotel room safely.
- Once you are back in your office, organize the materials you’ve gathered and follow up with any contacts you made that need further work.
By making an investment of time attending a tradeshow, you can gather a lot of information, find out about the latest innovations in your industry and meet contacts that could help move your business to the next level.