What Can My Employees Get Out of Trade Shows?
By: Angie Mansfield
Taking your employees to trade shows can be expensive due to travel expenses and registration fees. But the benefits for both you and them may be well worth it.
Here are a few things your employees will find at trade shows:
Information About Trends and Resources
A trade show can be a great place to learn about what's hot in your industry right now, and what trends to expect in the near future.
This can help you develop products and strategies to take advantage of those trends -- which can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Networking Opportunities with Other Retailers
Encourage your employees to mingle and network with other retailers at the show.
This networking may result in new business leads, or it may give your staff new ideas for how to improve and grow your business.
The relationships you foster at trade shows can also turn into long-term mutual support, giving both companies a sounding board for future ideas.
Read related content:
- Promoting Your Small Business
- Five Reasons to Open a Business in Canada
- Five Reasons Your Small Business Needs to Attend Trade Shows
Information on the Competition
A trade show is a perfect place to check up on the competition without a lot of effort.
You and your employees can judge where you stand compared to your major competitors. By determining what they're doing right or wrong, you can better identify your own strengths and weaknesses.
Whether it's an educational seminar, a networking event, or a survey, participating in everything a trade show has to offer creates plenty of learning opportunities.
Your employees can learn about business trends, marketing strategies that are working right now, and in-depth information about your industry. All of these things will help them better do their jobs when they come home.
Successful Trade Show Attendance
There are several things you can do to improve your trade show experience and get the most out of it:
- Plan ahead and pre-register so you won't have to worry about a last-minute scramble to get organized.
- Have a meeting well in advance of the trade show and make a plan with your employees for what they need to accomplish while at the show. This plan can include visiting vendors, seminars you want them to attend, and items you need to buy.
- Keep a notepad and pen handy to jot down notes, and bring along a bag to hold literature and promo items you'll collect while exploring the show.
- Make sure everyone takes a healthy stack of business cards, and encourage them to introduce themselves to plenty of other attendees.
- You and your employees will likely accumulate a lot of brochures, samples, and promotional items. Everyone should leave room in their suitcases to carry these items home.
A trade show can be a great experience for both you and your team.
While the travel and registration costs may seem expensive, the value you gain from educational and networking opportunities will more than make up for it.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer whose work covers topics of interest to both consumers and small business owners, including billfloat.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.