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How to Make the Most of Manufacturing Trade Shows

Despite the convenience of conducting business virtually, there is no denying that attending physical industry events still holds a special charm and provides a unique level of impact. Even as technology continues to become more sophisticated, it will never be able to fully replicate the experiences gained by visiting these large-scale gatherings.

Developing strong relationships with people is pivotal for any manufacturing business. And what better way to do that than through direct communication? You don’t have to meet regularly—but attending trade shows once a year can be extremely beneficial. At these events, you’ll encounter potential customers and get an understanding of which ones might be interested in your products.

Upcoming OEM Trade Shows 2023

1. National Association of Broadcasters – NAB Show

When: April 15-19, 2023

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center

This annual event is a magnet for tech fans, with over 92,912 attendees and 1,717 exhibitors attending the 2022 event. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore cutting-edge equipment and technologies such as cameras, lenses, motion capture devices, satellite technologies, and more. This show truly has something for everyone interested in the latest technology.

2. BizBash Connect National Marketplace – Detroit

When: August 8-10, 2023

Where: Detroit, Michigan

Attendees at BizBash Connect National Marketplace – Detroit in 2023 will have the chance to experience a show like no other, designed to bring together top innovators and trendsetters within the automotive industry. With a focus on mobility and sustainability, the event provides exclusive networking opportunities, engaging panel discussions, and cutting-edge technology demonstrations from various manufacturers that shouldn’t be missed!

3. Offshore Technology Conference – OTC

When: May 01-04, 2023

Where: NRG Park, Houston, Texas

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is a renowned event that has been helping to advance offshore resource exploration, drilling, production, and environmental protection for more than 50 years. At this international technological marketplace, exhibitors have the opportunity to network and benefit from over 100 expert speakers.

This impressive gathering also draws attention from across the world with 300+ journalists in attendance. OTC continues to be at the forefront of innovation year after year.

The Advantages of Attending Trade Shows for OEMs

By attending a trade show, OEMs can gain access to numerous potential customers in the same place and at the same time. This allows them to evaluate which ones would be the best fit for their business and products. It is a great way to quickly assess the current market and customer needs.

Trade shows provide OEMs with a platform to fully comprehend the needs of customers, discuss current industry issues and potential plans. They can then explain precisely how their services/products can assist in resolving those needs or issues.

Physical demonstration of your product – whether a completely new or improved version – can have a much larger impact than simply displaying it online. Potential buyers may not even know that the product exists, and even if they do, they may still not comprehend its features.

Attending trade shows is an excellent way to enhance visibility and update your aging contact listings. State-of-the-art technology platforms enable visitors to navigate the floor plan, engage with digital information on the stands, and even watch videos. Plus, you do not need to carry around all those sales brochures that many vendors tend to hand out as you walk by their stand!


A physical trade show is an ideal opportunity for manufacturers to give buyers first-hand knowledge of their novel products. Manufacturers should be eager to ensure they are producing the highest quality goods and services that meet the real needs of potential customers. Capitalize on the chance to communicate directly with those customers. Such trade shows or conversations can be invaluable in making sound marketing and product development decisions.

How OEMs Can Make the Most of Any Trade Show 

We’ve seen and done it – so here are our top 5 tips for getting more leads from your next trade show appearance.

1. Develop a Plan 

Know who you want to meet and target, what you need to showcase, and how to capture interest.

Developing a plan for attending any trade show should include

  • Identifying the goals of your attendance
  • Researching potential contacts and customers
  • Developing a budget and timeline
  • Creating promotional materials
  • Acquiring booth space, and staffing.

Additionally, it is important to consider how you will measure success post-show.

2. Promote

You want to make sure that visitors know you’re there! Use social media before and during the event to get people excited about what you have to offer. Be sure to create custom hashtags so that others can easily find your booth.

How to promote your presence at a trade show?

  • Consider using a range of tools such as email marketing campaigns, social media platforms, blog posts, and paid advertising.
  • Additionally, you should create custom hashtags for each event so that potential customers can easily find your booth or product.
  • Partnering with influencers or other brands will also help to boost visibility.
  • Engaging in giveaways and contests can be effective ways to draw visitors over to your trade show stall.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget about traditional methods such as flyers and brochures that can be distributed leading up to the event. This way people will know all the details about what you’re offering and where they can find you on the day.

3. Network

Take advantage of every opportunity offered by the event – from conferences to seminars, networking events, and more – to connect with other companies of interest.

This can be done by:

  • Attending pre-event networking sessions,
  • Exchanging business cards and contacting relevant people afterward,
  • Using the event to connect with potential partners, suppliers, or vendors as well as customers.

Additionally, following up with any contacts made on the day is crucial to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

4. Tell Your Story 

Use visuals and storytelling to create an engaging narrative about your company’s mission, purpose, history, and goals.

  • Prepare an elevator pitch that outlines your company’s story in a few sentences.
  • Research the attendees and target audience to ensure the story resonates with them.
  • Use visuals such as videos, infographics, or slideshows to illustrate your story.
  • Practice delivering your message effectively and confidently, so you create a lasting impression on listeners.
  • Share success stories of how your organization has helped customers or made a positive impact in its industry or community, as this will be more memorable than just numbers and figures about what your company does and who it serves.

5. Follow Up Afterward

Connect with contacts via email or phone for further discussion; keep in touch regularly even if no immediate business takes place. Keep track of all interactions. Here are some ways to follow up:

  1. Send a thank you note: Acknowledge the time and effort that people have taken to come and meet you by sending them a personalized thank you after the show.
  2. Request feedback: Ask your contacts for their insights about the trade show, what they liked and disliked about your stand, which products or services were most popular, etc., so that you can make improvements when attending future events.
  3. Build relationships with follow-up calls: Following up on conversations is essential for maintaining strong relationships. Schedule several follow-up calls with key contacts over the weeks following the event; don’t just assume that everyone will remember who you are!
  4. Follow-up on specific topics: Make sure to keep track of the topics discussed in your conversations, so that you can follow up on any questions or suggestions made during the show. This will help you to build trust and credibility with your contacts, as well as provide an opportunity to discuss more detailed aspects of what you offer.
  5. Invite contacts to join your network: Give all the attendees an invitation to connect with you on social media and other professional networks, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Doing this gives them easy access to your company’s news, updates, and offers.
  6. Send out newsletters: Stay connected with prospects by sending out regular newsletters that summarize upcoming events and product information relevant to their specific interests. Letting them know what’s new and what’s going on in your business will keep them engaged, interested, and more likely to purchase from you.
  7. Host webinars: An effective way to engage potential customers is through webinars that offer education on topics related to your product or services. This can be done directly with individuals or as part of a larger audience, depending on your goals and the resources available.

Key Takeaways

Many of YoungCaesar’s clients have used these strategies successfully. We know they work!

You will be able to engage and build relationships with potential customers more effectively. This should result in increased sales and improved customer satisfaction.

But keep in mind that it takes time, effort, and consistency to see results from your marketing efforts.

At YoungCaesar, we focus strongly on the value of consistent communication as the key to creating long-term relationships with prospects and turning them into customers. So don’t forget to constantly evaluate what’s working for your target customers and make adjustments as needed!

Need help? At YoungCaesar, we create killer marketing plans to optimize lead generation from trade shows – book a consultation today!