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As a strictly industrial agency with 30 clients who develop and manufacture all types of machines, equipment, software, communications and other stuff to run industry worldwide, we participate in several dozen trade shows each year.  Well, we did until Mr. Covid came to town.  That two-year hiatus was not only costly, it also created a silo mentality for both our clients and us, something that’s counter-productive in many ways, especially to the creative process.  Human interaction…and NOT on zoom…is most necessary to drive creativity, whether you’re working on a machine tool, a motor or a full-page ad message.

To date in 2022, I’ve attended a number of trade shows with our clients and noticed three things.   First, the enthusiasm of people being together with other people.  This synergy is not only helpful to the sales process, but it also builds the team spirit for the exhibitors.  Second, the exchange of ideas was tangible and purposed.  Visitors galore came to our clients’ booths with specific questions or challenges they needed solved.  The look on their faces when our clients showed them a better, faster, cheaper or greener way was priceless.  Third, from a somewhat selfish stance, our ability to do our magic, bringing the trade media to interact with our clients and then tell their readers what they saw was energizing.  I’ve been in the business since long before the instant tech touch times and still get a kick out of seeing an editor posting content, as he or she walked away from the booth.  So many times, the energy between a curious editor and our clients leads to further discussion or interviews after the show, as well as simply establishing our clients as go-to resources for editors on specific story topics they might be covering.  That dynamic is the essence of what we do…and we do it quite well.  

Part of our agency service is the meticulous tracking of all online and print and even social media postings of client news.  We capture all, assign equivalent ad dollar value to it and present an archive to our clients, so they can quickly see the results of our work and calculate the off-the-chart ROI for such events.  

Of course, as a sales guy, I also see trade shows as a target rich environment and I made several great contacts at every show, this year already.  

Lastly, as a curious type who only saw the inside of the engineering building in college for one medieval philosophy lecture course, I still get a kick out of the emerging and evolving technologies our clients and their industries generate, every day.  After 46 years in the ad/PR agency biz, I’ve become an engineer by osmosis, but still have a childlike fascination with tech.

As a side note, a recent study asked thousands of engineers how they get the info needed to do their jobs.  Trade shows and trade magazines were still the top two out of seven primary methods.  Our job is to create content and plant it in all seven, again something we do quite well for our clients.  Call me if you’d like to hear about that study.  

Tim Daro