On Topic Sorta - Attending Trade Shows Frugally?

I'm thinking about going down to either Charlotte, NC for the "South Pack"
packaging event held in March or maybe up to Eastec (MA) in May. Neither
will be full fledged business trips for me but I would certainly check them
out if I'm near there to see if anything met my business needs.
I noticed a few months ago while in Atlanta at a similar show that some
attendees get in free with passes from exhibitors... As much as I generally
dislike these huge events, there are times when I find myself located near
one and will fill a day browsing for the heck of it. I simply don't want to
have to pay for a ticket I may or may not use and because it's not a
business "need" I don't want to pay for it out of my business funds. In
Atlanta, I made some good business contacts and felt no remorse about paying
for the event but at some, it's simply a waste of funds...
Other than me being a cheap-arse, are there any ideas or thoughts out there
for me on this? I'm wondering if any of you ever received these free passes
and how did you get them or get on the list to receive them?
I know there is no legitimate metalworking content here, but the trade shows
are something that a lot of us attend, etc. There, of course is no
"rec.crafts.metalworking.tradeshows" newsgroup either so this is the most
legitimate group I could think of to post to other than maybe harassing the
folks over at alt.machines.cnc.
Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
(800) 871-5022
01.908.542.0244
Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
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Do you have any suppliers that exhibit at the show? If so ask if they have any "guest passes" available. Or you might become a "temporary employee" of the exhibitor and get a pass that way. You pretty much have to know somebody to get a freebie to a trade show but it's not all that hard.
Reply to
Bill Marrs
That's about what I figured... Might have to look at the list of those exibiting and make some strategic e-mail time.
What I'd really hate to do though is receifve a free pass and then not use it when someone else could have used it...
Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Don't hesitate to contact them, in some of the trade shows in my industry, the vendors have virtually unlimited passes, I've even been told they could e-mail the PDF to me and it would get me in. These are trade shows associated with a professional conference and may not apply to all shows, but worth a try.
Stuart
Reply to
Stuart Wheaton
Excellent. Thank you. I'll give them fair warning that my attendance is certainly not guaranteed, but possible given the facts at hand...
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Hey, Joe:-
Often, in my experience, you can get in free to industry trade shows if you are legitimately in the trade (or appear to be, as opposed to students or winos or whatever), and if register online BEFORE the event. They'll leave the badge for you to pick up or mail it to you.
It's only the ones who show up and try to register on site (without the pass) that pay admission for the exhibit hall.
The technical sessions are another matter, I think you'd have to have some kind of 'in' or give a talk to get those for free, if they normally charge for them. Also a very few trade shows require actual credentials (eg. membership in some organization) but I have not found any of them interesting enough to bother with.
For example, you can register online free for the Charlotte show here:
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Looks like Eastek is free as well, but I didn't follow the process far enough to be sure:
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There's absolutely no reason not to do this-- nothing cheap-arse about not being a sucker. You're going there to be sold to, and to get your name on a mailing list. Arguably, they should pay you!
Reply to
Spehro Pefhany
"Spehro Pefhany" wrote in message > There's absolutely no reason not to do this-- nothing cheap-arse about
Glad to see that someone else thinks like me. Really irks me to have to pay to have someone trying to sell something to me!
One of my pet peeves is hats. I should BUY a hat to advertise someone's product for them?? Don't think so.
Reply to
Bill Marrs
Don't worry about it. I've walked into shows with three or four passes from different companies.
Yes, I also got press passes, but the other freebies usually are not hard to get.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Look at the shows magazines or see if a vendor is showing. They have lots of floor passes. They do not get you into the seminars, but you get to see all the displays.
Reply to
Calif Bill
Registerd for that one this morning...
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Will click the link when done here for sure. Thank you.
Agreed.
Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Now... To really take this off-topic... What exactly is involved in getting a legitimate press pass these days?
It's rare I would want to go to a techical talk, but if I did, I'd gladly also pay.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
I get free Westec passes every year, in the mail.
Go to the various trade show websites, and simply apply for one. In most cases, they will send you one free. Or several of them.
Gunner
Whenever a Liberal utters the term "Common Sense approach"....grab your wallet, your ass, and your guns because the sombitch is about to do something damned nasty to all three of them.
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Become a member of the press.
If you're not a magazine staffer, and if it's an SME show, you contact the press office and tell them you're working on an article or a book. They'll ask for whom. You'd better know. d8-)
They can be expensive. That's where a press pass really pays off. Do you have any published articles?
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I was actually able to get both of these free online thanks to a previous poster telling me to *look* online first. :)
Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Harde-har-har... :)
The definition of "press" is kinda vague in my mind. Bloggers could be press in my book.
I wouldn't lie... I'd simply explain the truth from my perspective.
If I need to or want to hear it, the expense might not matter much... Industrial stuff is always more costly than consumer stuff.
As for published articles - at least one that I know of but not in a relevant field I'm afraid unless they consider non-malicious hacking's historical viewpoint on-topic to their event... And the magazine was certainly not industrial in nature at all.
I have my own web site and business and write a lot of stuff for public use here in Northern, NJ. I'm sure I could pull it off legally and morally if I needed to.
After all, I also write reviews from time to time for a metalworking forum that is tied into the very backbone and origins of the internet. The potential readership is HUGE too.... Rec.Crafts.Metalworking.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Not in theirs, for the most part. Keep in mind their purpose in giving members of the press free entry: They want publicity coverage to promote their shows, both before and after. If they think you'll provide that, they'll give you a pass.
When I was working for metalworking magazines I'd write multi-page reports that were sent to roughly 100,000 subscribers. That's what SME and the other sponsoring organizations are looking for.
Well, this isn't a government or legal function. The whole thing is entirely at their discretion. They don't just hand them out because someone thinks he deserves to be treated like the working press.
No press pass for you, then. d8-)
Moral, schmoral. What have you done for them lately? That's the question.
No sale. So solly.
Enjoy the shows. Covering them for the press is hard work and it eats up a lot of shoe leather. We did not particularly look forward to IMTS, because it meant walking miles and miles ten hours every day for over a week, listening to people promote their products, conduct interviews at high speed, and try to shoot publication-quality photos on the run. I used to carry up to 30 pounds of camera gear. It was a workout.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
The paradigm of what is effective "press" and what is not has changed. To be honest, anyone who thinks print media will give their show or business or whatever more coverage than a long lasting, well woreded blog or internet post on a web site is probably wrong.
...At least when you look at the "bang per buck" model of evaluating it. For the price of a 1/8th page ad in some magazines, I can set up a decent web site dedicated to the product and host it for two years.
I can understand their reasoning but also see that in most cases, this reasoning is based on 10-20 year old thinking. Have you seen the metalworking magazines lately? What used to be 100 pages is sometimes 20. Dying media for the most part.
Understood.
That's about what I figured. :)
CLIP
Hey... It's a spin dependent upon the listener not being techical enough to have a clue what this place is. :)
Ick...Does not sound like fun.
I don't think I'd try to get in as press to be honest. It was more of a "how do I get that on my resume/business card/list of credentials" thing. If a show is on my schedule to attend and it's business related, I have no problem paying the entrance fee - but will avoid it for frugality's sake if possible. If I happen to be local to a show and I just want to make a lap around the room, then I feel silly paying all that money just to take a chance on seeing something useful. The packaging show I mentioned in the OP is a perfect case. I don't need to know anything about packaging at all. If I go, it's because I'm local and would be open to being surprised with something useful.
In any case, don't expect to see me with camera gear or press credentials.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
I've yet to see evidence of that, Joe. The print media are taking a beating, but narrow-interest Internet media don't seem to be replacing them, in terms of numbers of viewers attracted to an individual source. That's not to say it won't happen, but the concentration of readership, as of a couple of years ago, was all in favor of special-interest print media.
Now, *total* readership of Internet media doubtless is higher. But there are so many voices that there is no effective way to "cover" a market with them, at least, in industry. There are a lot of reasons for this but the primary one is that the specialized media depend heavily on their long-developed, institutionalized ways of internally communicating, and no such thing exists for metalworking in Internet media. I doubt if any bloggers are getting 300+ press releases before a major trade show, for example. I frequently got 300 - 600 for a show all by myself when I was writing for relatively large-circulation industrial magazines. The publicity managers only had to mail to a dozen of us who wrote about the machining trades and they could cover 65% or a little more of the market. Covering the other 35% is very difficult, and it might take 100 mailings to cover another 20%. Publicity is a numbers game.
Sure. But you're talking about advertising. Publicity and advertising are two different animals. And the role that your web site is fulfilling in the marketing-communications mix is not much like that filled by print advertising. You may get a similar result, but it's coming to you in a different way.
For example, a specialized web site for a narrow interest (yours) actually is an intermediate step in making most industrial sales. It's probably doing a good and cost-effective job of informing people about your products but a poor one of building your recognition among the potential market. There are still at least 120,000 or so commercial metalworking shops and plants in the US. You can't reach them with a web site for a specialized business, so you're not priming the pump with that web site. What you're probably doing is drawing in an audience that already has a high interest in your product. That's a good thing, but it doesn't get you in touch with a large percentage of the market that doesn't know you exist.
Every month. I spent an hour talking to Mark Albert at _Modern Machine Shop_ the other day. I have standing orders for articles from three more magazines. I don't think I'll write them, for several reasons, but I'm in touch with the industry.
There are few long-experienced pros in that business these days, and even fewer in industrial advertising. As a business, it's just hanging on.
Well, it's a cost of doing business for many people. Trade shows are always a mixed bag -- like magazines, there are too many of them -- but they're one way to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry. It's all too easy, as you doubtless know, to wind up being insulated when you serve a small market.
You're probably a lot better off avoiding it. For one thing, when people see your press badge, they want to corner you and talk your ear off. It's better for you, I'm sure, to be free of that and just to go where you want and see what you want.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I guess it depends on the evidence you are seeking... For me, I guess I'm basing my opinion on what I experience here.
If I spend $2000 on a reoccuring print ad, I might get a customer or two a year...
If I spend $2000 on a web site, Google AdWords and some site enhancements, etc. I get a customer a month minimum...
I made the mental leap from my situation to the internet as a whole because I see my drill's press releases bringing in lots of business and a lot of my ads going nowhere.
Now... If a magazine carries a free press release for me in their paper version and I get a few calls from it, I'm likely to place an ad. ...but I haven't had that scenario play out in 3-4 years of "beta testing" print magazines. I've all but dropped print advertising and run 100% on the web these days.
Good point. However, what good does it do if 1000 people or 100,000 people see your ad in XXXX magazine but are not on the market for that product? Most of us go to a search engine and type in whatever we want to buy these days. Saturating the web, at least in my case gives me more business per dollar or hour spent.
Point well taken.
Most of those folks know some brand names only because they use the product already... Many of them wouldn't have a clue how to get in touch with the manufacturer or distributor of that 20-30 year old unit they own so they do a web search and find them or me...
The new customers looking for a product search for that type of product and find them or me too...
But brand recognition? In my field, that's not too important so I guess my logical thinking will never synch with the mainstream logical thinking model.
I feel for Mark and all of those folks in the industry because their product serves a purpose that many other outlets can not... At the same time, their potential readers are retiring or being outsourced to the cheapest overseas bidder. As my dad always says, the US market for machining and metalworking is much like the farm market was in the early 1960's. We are maintaining what we have at best and loosing all but the most niche market stuff to overseas growers... er... Manufacturers...
CLIP
That's the #1 danger for us here... If the WWW disappears, we only have maybe 10% of our current business as repeats / spare parts, etc. We would survive, but my Bentley (yeah right! I drive a 1997 Nissan with close to 200,000 miles) would have to go I'm sure...
LOL... I guess you understand better than anyone why my job title on the badge usually says "Other" rather than "Small Business Owner With Cash to Spend", eh?
Thanks for the insight by the way. Would never have thought to post a question about the subject here seeking an answer(s) like this.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
No marketing job is trickier, and more varied, than marketing a specialized product or group of products for a small business, whether it's industrial or consumer. In my years of advertising and marketing, businesses like yours probably made up half of my clients -- not in dollars, but in number. They're always the toughest and they tend to have very different, if not unique or singular, solutions.
Services such as search engines and AdWords complicate the equation. Now you're operating in a mode that was impossible to do for years, in which people seek you out. That boosts your efficiency if not your reach, and it lets you skip over some steps in the process.
But whether you have the optimum program is an open question. I'm not presuming an answer, only commenting that the question isn't answered by your experience. If it works to your satisfaction, though, I wouldn't mess with it.
The biggest marketing question in such situations, once you're satisfied with your sales volume, is where it may leave you vulnerable to competition. That's a VERY big question, and another one that we couldn't touch here. A key issue that determines it is your current market share; another is your relative recognition in your core marketplace.
Well, that's a complicated issue, and far more than we could discuss here.
None. The ones that matter are the ones that either are in the market now, or might be in the future. That's where your demand-pull will come from. It's also where you can deliver your message with some hope of influencing future sales.
The basic truths in small-business marketing are that people won't buy your product unless they prefer it; they won't prefer it if they don't know about it; and they won't know about it if you don't tell them about it. Recognition is ALWAYS lower than business owners, their sales managers, and even their marketing managers (if they're not well-trained) believe. I see that you have positioned yourself well on Google and that you probably get a lot of hits based on people searching on relevent terms. What I don't know about your market, but which probably has a lot to do with who gets the business, is which names a prospective customer will recognize when they do a search. The ones that pass you over for a competitor, simply because they've heard of the competitor but they've never heard of you, is almost always a larger number than a typical advertiser realizes. And you will never know it happened.
And therein lies a story, one that industrial marketers could exploit much better than they do. But don't get me started. d8-)
You may well have the ideal program; I wouldn't try to judge it from a distance.
I always enjoy the subject, Joe.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress

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