Industry Tradeshows Are Effective & Efficient Rallying Points
- By Kirsten DeLay
- Feb 01, 2011
Tradeshows are among the most valuable
resources within any industry.
They provide an opportunity to come
together with our peers, gauge how we
are doing in regards to our competition,
and stay up to date on the latest news and
innovations. In an industry like ours that
faces significant challenges and steady
change, tradeshows become critical gathering
points where important lessons are
learned and efforts to effect change are
put into motion.
Our industry is lucky to have an ample
selection of tradeshows, expositions and
symposiums available to meet the needs
of all stakeholders. Whether you are a
consumer, provider, therapist or manufacturer,
there are a few key things that are
important to consider in order to get the
most out of your tradeshow experience.
Attendance Is Built Through Understanding
The tradeshows that bring more exhibitors and people to their show floors
provide the best opportunity to network, stay informed and reach out to
more vested parties. Look for shows that continue to evolve along with the
industry and that target your interests.
Last year’s Medtrade show was a strong example of the type of
venue that understands the industry it serves and what it takes to maintain
and grow attendance. At the show there was a very strong feeling
of unity. The event has become much more encompassing for all stakeholders
due in large part to their willingness to reach out to their
attendees and ask how they can improve. Over the past two years,
Medtrade has done very well in reshaping itself beyond a simple product
exposition to become a rallying point for all industry stakeholders, and it
has been refl ected in attendance numbers.
The International Seating Symposium (ISS) is another fine example
of a symposium that understands the industry and what outcomes its
ISS strives to provide its attendees with the resources and exceptional
educational opportunities they require. The content of the vast continuing
education units (CEU) courses offered allows ATPs and clinicians to obtain
additional knowledge and information that can be put to use during daily
interaction with their clients.
ISS is a perfect mix of the latest clinical applications and product
advancements to enhance a client’s quality of functional living. They do an
exceptional job of keeping their finger on the pulse of what is required to
make a clinically based show successful.
The Abilities Expos have also changed with the climate and lessons
they’ve learned. They have really focused their energy on delivering exceptional
annual shows at the best-attended locations.
With consumers taking an increasingly active role in choosing the right
product for their needs and advocacy efforts growing in importance, the
Abilities Expos have brought in not only a wider selection of manufacturers
and providers, but have increased opportunities to provide a forum for
people attending the shows.
Shows Offering More Effective Features
While these three shows are not the only important venues for the industry,
they do present excellent and diverse examples of what show coordinators
are doing to make the show-going experience more effective for attendees.
Building attendance is not an easy task given the economic challenges the
industry faces, so shows are adapting to offer higher-quality content in a
more efficient manner.
Medtrade, for example, over the past two years has assembled a panel
of industry experts to provide feedback on their efforts. This has led to
more meaningful educational opportunities, a larger number of open
panel discussions on industry affairs, and the inclusion of consumers via
an open Consumer Day. Medtrade management has made it easier and
more efficient for a great variety of exhibitors to demonstrate their products
and services by consolidating the show floor. Areas like the NRRTS
Rehab Pavilion allow multiple vendors to exhibit with moderate cost and
Likewise, ISS has refined the resources they offer to fit the changing and
challenging climate of complex rehab accreditation and to keep pace with
emergent technologies. By bringing in the world’s most respected rehabilitation
experts to address attendees and presenting manufacturers with an
opportunity to reach a broader audience of clinicians, ISS has developed
into the premier venue to exchange ideas and continue the advancement of
complex rehab treatment strategies and product development.
The Abilities Expos offer a unique opportunity for all stakeholders
to gather in a very dynamic environment. Beyond simple service and
product dimensions, the Abilities Expos have expanded to include comprehensive workshops and world-class events showcasing the talents
and interests of some of the world’s most prominent members of the
Attend with Return-on-Investment in Mind
By offering high-quality content, appealing attractions and valuable interaction,
industry tradeshows have become a more valuable resource than
ever before. However, you must take a proactive approach to your attendance
to ensure you maximize your ROI.
You have to formulate a plan to actively attend a tradeshow to get the
most out of your experience:
- Review the tradeshow Web sites and see what workshops, forums and educational opportunities will best meet your needs
— and pre-register, if necessary.
- Review what vendors will be in attendance and plan your day on
the show floor accordingly.
- If you need to speak with a representative from an exhibiting company
at length and have a contact within the organization, try to plan out a
meeting time. This can go a long way in setting a productive meeting
on the show floor.
- Above all, take advantage of the full offerings of the tradeshow you
are planning on attending. If you do not plan ahead to attend the events
and visit the vendors most important to you, opportunities may be left on the show floor.
If you are making the investment to travel to the show and stay for the
duration, you will only see an ROI if you plan to “actively attend.”
Again, there are many venues to explore beyond the examples given
here. Seek out opportunities to attend events that offer you and your
company strong ROI.
Tradeshows serve a wide variety of purposes, and in an industry facing
challenges, they are more important than ever. When all stakeholders get
together on one show floor, the potential for what can be accomplished is
great. And with tradeshows adapting to meet the needs of their attendees,
that potential is growing exponentially.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Mobility Management.
Kirsten DeLay is the chair of Medtrade’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and the executive VP of sales management & operational planning for Pride Mobility Products Corp., Exeter, Pa. Kirsten can be reached via e-mail at kdelay@pridemobility. com or by calling (800) 800-8586.