Collingwood have been partnering medical device companies both in the UK and Internationally for the past 10 years; supporting their growth strategies and sourcing executive/business critical roles to enable them to achieve their objectives - so with the undisputed largest medical trade fair worldwide - Medica2015 on the horizon we thought we’d share our top 10 tips on how to get the most out of the event. There is no denying it is a big beast and it just keeps on getting bigger with exhibitors revisiting year on year as it is considered THE trade fair for the TOP decision makers. As an exhibitor there are numerous hints and tips to optimise footfall and interest in their stall but there are 2 sides to a trade fair and there needs to be consideration and a balance adding the “visitor” in to the equation. According to statistics 39% of all trade show visitors spend less than eight hours visiting a show, so exhibitors manning a stall have a mere fraction of that time span available. So, how do you make the most out of the 4 days? How do you possibly cover the 18+ vast halls? How do you gain insight in to the varying innovations? How do you make sense of 5,000 exhibitors? These are a few of the questions I have been wrestling with as this year I’ll be attending Medica2015 in Dusseldorf on the 17th and 18th November. So, let’s start small, focus on the outcome and knowing what you need to accomplish before, during, and after the show is the first step toward success as a visitor.
- Before the show - Make a list of the goals you want to achieve by visiting the show. Include your own personal goals and those of your company. Every subsequent decision that you make should put you closer to achieving your goals.
- Read through the trade show promotional materials carefully, create a list of 'must see' stalls and 'want to see' stalls. Research the vendors, so that you'll have a clear idea of what you want to know about them and any useful questions to ask – you’ll then make the most of your engagement when you meet.
- Decide how much time you want to spend at the show, and then allot an appropriate amount to each stall, making sure to schedule the 'must see' stalls first. Where possible book appointments with those exhibitors you really want to meet with.
- Get a map! Sounds simple but prioritize your route. Walking a trade show can be an exhausting so pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes, a lightweight outfit, plenty of business cards and a light carry-all bag for the materials you gather during the show.
- During the show - Collect the information that is of interest to you or that could be valuable to others in your company. Many exhibitors will gladly mail literature and samples, which relieves you of having to carry them around the exhibit hall. Use your lead forms or a small notebook to record the most vital information.
- Absorb and learn – this is a golden opportunity to get the first glimpse of new product releases, advances in technology, innovation and design. Build rapport with the exhibitors and ask insightful questions and gain an understanding of what they do.
- Network - Industry leaders haunt trade shows, and they're great people to know. Be social and approachable, shake as many hands as you can and leave them with your collateral – brochure, flyer, business cards.
- Tweet and engage with social media “live”. If you can tweet whilst listening to a guest speaker – ego jack and add in hashtags to your post to enhance exposure and traction.
- Take regular breaks to hydrate and make notes. The notes will help you write your trip report. Grab a drink and take some time to organise the information you've gathered so it makes sense when you return to the office.
- Reflect on the show - blog, tweet, post and share your experience with others and follow up on any new contacts and information gleaned from the show. Having a clear plan of action will make sure that the time you spent at the show was a worth-while investment.
Now all I need to do is follow my own advice and take it step by step! My network of Medical professional have all expressed how the Medica experience is completely overwhelming and have tried to prepare me for what to expect, but in the lead up to the event at this juncture ignorance at the enormity of the event is blessing! I feel excited and privileged that I’ll get to see first-hand the new and amazing medical device innovations from across the world.
If you have attended Medica or a similar event as a visitor or an exhibitor and have any hints or tips you’d like to share, please drop me a comment as I’d appreciate your insight as 10 tips may simply not be enough!