Tradeshows, Conferences and Annual Meetings provide a perfect forum to showcase new and innovative products, market services and capabilities, prospect for new customers and sales leads, introduce dealers and distributors, and at the same time enable networking and connectivity with customers, suppliers, government and industry representatives and your peers.
Each of these mediums - Tradeshows, Conferences or Annual Meetings - in their own rights attracts participation in large group format and affords the participant an opportunity to leverage knowledge from several sources in one place within a very short period of time. Depending on the setting and scope of the Event, one can utilize this time from both a "share and learn" perspective. In other words, "sharing" your own knowledge and experiences with those in attendance and "learning" from peers, customers, suppliers and exhibitors through workshop, seminar, best practice or individual booth presentations - any of which may highlight business improvement, new opportunities or niche product development and services. It also provides the delegate an opportunity to catch up on the latest in regulatory or legislative issues and impact on sector activities. Lastly, whether events are quarterly, semi-annual, annual, bi-annual sessions they allow us as a complete group, to recognize individual achievement and industry accomplishments.
Strengthening the bonds of our existing customer bases and acquiring new leads, growing regional sales, exploring the global marketplace, building supplier or industry partnerships, fostering collaborative ideas or innovative products are all positives that could result from networking events of this nature. From an Exhibitor standpoint, raising awareness of a company's presence in the marketplace coupled with the opportunity to introduce new products and services to a large group of people in one place could lead to a large marketing and sales boost for a company. It stands to reason therefore, that generating multiple sales leads is a key motivator behind participation in Tradeshows. Even from a Conference and Annual meeting perspective, that element of generating leads remains. Whether Tradeshow, Conference or Annual Meeting - gathering knowledge, learning about the industry, the future, and competitive production in today's business climate - resonates in some way, shape or form in every networking session and at every booth for the participant and the exhibitor.
There are a tremendous number of Sector Events to participate in this year. The largest Canadian Food Sector Show is the upcoming CRFA Show being held in Toronto from March 7th - 10th, 2010. Supporting the thoughts above, last year this show hosted over 11,000 visitors and had 675 Exhibitors - imagine the networking possibilities!
Taking opportunities for participation into account, most of us have visited Events as above, and many of us have exhibited as well (remember comfortable shoes on both accounts!). Having attended six Conferences and Tradeshows in the last two months, I thought I might share a few very brief personal thoughts on the Tradeshow aspect:
- Planning is the key to success - whether you are an exhibitor or a participant - beginning with clear goals and objectives.
- Visit the Tradeshows you are most interested in to see if those attending are a fit for the products and services you offer. (Remember the investment in booth displays, venue costs, labour - is it the right place for your company?)
- Advertise the Event and your booth and the products you are showcasing - flyers, website, brochures, newspaper, etc.
- Have an enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff on hand.
- Stick to a budget.
- Follow up in a timely fashion on leads generated.
- Keep your display simple, visible, easy to access.
- Consider new forms of medium to spread the word on your company - digitalized, web sites, etc.
- Be professional and courteous.
- Perhaps looking at things from a Buyer's perspective might help - I need a Supplier who can provide a product or service in a timely, professional manner, who takes a genuine interest in my company and my challenges - and in today's economic climate - is somewhat willing to go that extra mile. Customer service is paramount. The companies that I want to speak with are already highlighted in my program brochure. How are you going to attract my attention and why do I want to do business with your organization? What makes you stand out from the other exhibitors? How will I remember you?
So, with Tradeshows, Conferences and Annual Meetings in mind, and through compilation of posted sources, I have a list below of a few of the worldwide Food and Beverage Related Events that are scheduled for 2010! There is without a doubt - something for everyone, everywhere! However, most important to our Members, friends and all of us at EMC Canada is our own EMC National Advantage Through Excellence Conference scheduled from May 10th through 12th, 2010 in Hamilton - truly a great example of peer learning, best practice sharing and grass-roots down to earth networking. Please check out the link following to download a complete copy of the program and mark your calandar for an exciting and dynamic three day learning opportunity! (http://www.emccanada.org/emcconf201)
OMAFRA has many of these shows listed and also provides links to their websites if you are interested in learning more. (You can also Google the show name for additional information). www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/events/ontcanfoodtradeshow.htm.
February 22-24, 2010 Canadian Federation of Agriculture Annual General Meeting, Ottawa, ON
February 24, 2010 Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors' Atlantic Conference 2010, Halifax, NS
February 24-25, 2010 Ontario Cattlemen's Association General Meeting, Toronto, ON
February 24-25, 2010 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, St. Catherines, ON
February 26-28, 2010 Ontario Independent Meat Processors' Annual Conference, Niagara Falls, ON
February 27-28, 2010 Baking Industry Suppliers Association (BEMA) 2010 Annual Winter Summit, Chicago, IL
February 28-March 3, 2010 Caking Tech (American Society of Baking) 2010, Chicago, IL
March 2-4, 2010 International Pizza Expo 2010, Las Vegas, NV
March 2-5, 2010 Foodex Japan 2010, Chiba, Japan
March 4, 2010 Safe Food Canada 2010 - Establishing Food Safety and Traceability, Brampton, ON
March 5, 2010 Ontario Veal Association Annual General Meeting, Stratford, ON
March 6-10, 2010 Europain 2010, Paris, France
March 7-9, 2010 American Meat Institute (AMI) Annual Meat Conference, Chicago, IL
March 7-9, 2010 Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice Trade Show, Toronto, ON
March 8-9, 2010 Grain Farmers of Ontario, London, ON
March 9-10, 2010 Annual Food Safety Summit, Toronto, ON
March 9-11, 2010 Growing the Margins Conference, London, ON
March 11, 2010 Food Processing HR Council 1st Annual General Meeting and Conference, Toronto, ON
March 12-14, 2010 Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim, CA
March 14-16, 2010 International Boston Seafood Show, Boston, MS
March 18-19, 2010 Canola Council of Canada Conference, San Francisco, CA
March 19-21, 2010 The Toronto Wine and Cheese Show, Mississauga, ON
March 19-21, 2010 North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) Annual Meat Industry Marketing Conference, Chicago, IL
March 21-23, 2010 Atlantic Bakery Expo, Atlantic City, NJ
March 30, 2010 Ontario Pork Annual General Meeting, London, ON
March 30-April 1, 2010 London Swine Conference, London, ON
April 1-3, 2010 SIAL Montreal/The International Food, Beverage, Wine & Spirits Exhibition, Montreal, PQ
April 7-10, 2010 Craft Brewers Conference & Brew Expo America, Chicago, IL
April 12-14, 2010 Petfood Forum, Chicago, IL
April 14-15, 2010 Poultry Industry Conference and Exhibition, London, ON
April 15-18, 2010 2010 Speciality Coffee Event (22nd Annual), Anaheim, CA
April 20-23, 2010 Food Hotel Asia, Singapore
April 20-23, 2010 United Fresh Produce Association, Las Vegas, NV
April 21-23, 2010 SIAL Canada 2010, Montreal, PQ
April 22, 2010 Ontario Food Protection Association (OFPA) Annual Meeting & Trade Show, Mississauga, ON
April 23-25, 2010 18th Annual Good Food Festival & Market, Mississauga, ON
April 24-25, 2010 Expo Alimentos, Puerto Rico Food Expo, Puerto Rico
April 24-26, 2010 Grocery Showcase West, Vancouver, BC
April 26-28, 2010 Supply Side East 12th International Trade Show, Secaucus, NJ
April 27, 2010 Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology Annual Table Top Suppliers' Night, Burnaby, BC
April 27-28, 2010 Food Processors of Canada Annual Conference, Ottawa, ON
April 29-May 1, 2010 The 21st Annual Canadian Bottled Water Convention and Trade Show, Halifax, NS
May 1, 2010 Interbake China 2010, Guangzhou, China
May 3-6, 2010 2010 Bio International Convention, Chicago, IL
May 10-12, 2010 EMC National Advantage Through Excellence Conference, Hamilton, ON
May 12-14, 2010 Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Annual Convention and Trade Show, Vancouver, BC
May 13-16, 2010 Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) Expo West, Vancouver, BC
May 16-18, 2010 Bakery Showcase 2010, Mississauga, ON
May 18, 2010 PLMA Private Label Manufacturers Association, Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 18, 2010 SILA China, Shanghai, China
May 18-20, 2010 Vitafoods, Geneva, Switzerland
May 25-27, 2010 Sweets & Snacks Expo, Chicago, IL
May 29-31, 2010 2010 National Grocery Conference, Halifax, NS
May 31-June 1, 2010 Store - Canada's Retail Conference, Toronto, ON
June 6-8, 2010 American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) 89th Annual Conference and Expo, New York, NY
June 6-8, 2010 Ontario Dairy Council Convention, Huntsville, ON
June 9-11, 2010 World Pork Expo, Des Moines, IW
July 17-20, 2010 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, Chicago, IL
Sept 21-22, 2010 Canadian Tea Industry 18th Annual Conference, Niagara Falls, ON
(If you know of an Event that we should add to our list, feel free to submit it anytime.)
Finally, just a note, welcoming your comments and suggestions. I will add a Forum under our Food Sector Channel for marketing thoughts and invite you to participate as you wish!
In closing, I enjoyed the opportunity to see some wonderful Food and Beverage Suppliers showcase their products at the National Gift Show in late January and the EDCO Conference in Toronto in early February. In March, I will be visiting the CRFA Show on the 8th and participating in the Food Processing HR Council on the 11th. I look forward to the possibility of connecting with you at one of these upcoming Events!
Enjoy the opportunity to network at your next Tradeshow, Conference or Annual Meeting and may all your "learning and sharing" experiences be successful!
Have a super week!