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Trade Show Basics for Manufacturing Companies to Consider

Companies across the manufacturing space are starting to turn the page from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0. During this transition, many decision makers will be attending trade shows across the United States looking for the next best Manufacturing Innovation. This month IMCO Software is reviewing essential topics for your team to consider before attending and exhibiting at one of these expo events. Continue reading to explore different options that can help you decide which manufacturing trade show is the best for your company’s needs.


The most important item on your company’s to-do list is research. For starters, study how the expo is set up. Many of today’s events are put together in a “speed dating for industry experts” format. Determine with your team if this type of setup is beneficial for its decision makers. 

If your business is looking to meet with as many companies as possible, then this type of trade show can benefit you. The perfect example will be if you’re an exhibitor/attendee who is new to the industry. Having the ability to connect and branch out to multiple companies is vital for building your brand. Whether you are trying to create buzz for a product or an idea or trying to become immersed in innovations, this can be a great set up for you. 

Networking is one of the biggest takeaways for companies attending these events. However, the rushed “meet and greet” tactic doesn’t fit every company’s needs. Many companies require more than a 30 minute Q&A session. The approach for them is to focus on the quality over the quantity. Are these meetings going to create connections, or will they waste time? If your company fits this example, IMCO Software recommends finding an event that guarantees quality 1-on-1 time. Why? This ensures valuable connections for your business. Even though you may not meet as many decision-makers, the likelihood of securing leads will be higher. This is true from an exhibitor and attendee standpoint.


One of the most underrated aspects of trade shows is the commitment it involves. From both an exhibitor and attendee standpoint, this concept can be hard to manage.  Why? Manufacturing trade shows require a lot of groundwork before getting involved. Part of that process is determining what type of commitments are needed.

These include:

  • Time Commitments
  • Labor Commitments
  • Financial Commitments

Add this Trade Show Essential to your project planning for 2020 to get a head start! Defining strict commitment guidelines will help keep you on a track.


This is a critical point to consider for both attendees and exhibitors. Finding the best Manufacturing Trade Show that fits your business needs is extremely important for your bottom line. The following questions will help your company after reviewing the overall investment.


 A few questions to consider before committing as an exhibitor include:

  1. What companies will make up the majority of the attendee audience?
  2. Which competitors in my field are already on the schedule to be exhibiting?
  3. Will my ROI be higher than my initial spending to attend this event?

Ask these questions before deciding to exhibit at an expo event. Question #1 can help your team determine if displaying is worthwhile. For example, IMCO Software specializes in ERP Consulting and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) Software. It wouldn’t be wise for us to travel to an event targeted towards SME’s with no interest in expanding their factories.

Question #2 will give you critical insights into how much money you will need to spend in order to stand out. This includes money spent on booth designs, promotional products, and marketing materials.

The last question is the most significant. Many companies who are launching new products, software, or other technology fail to realize referrals are not guaranteed. Before committing to a booth at one of these events, have your team take into account all of these questions. The next step would be to review the answers and budget for them accordingly.


Attending a manufacturing expo event is an entirely different ball game from exhibiting. Answer the following questions before signing up as an attendee:

  1. Is our company actively searching for a solution, or just curious to see what’s out there?
  2. Did we research any of the current speakers and exhibitors?
  3. Is the information we provided to the event staff accurate?

These questions can help you paint a clear picture of your company’s goals and expectations leading up to a manufacturing trade show. The answer to question #1 is essential. It’s important to be transparent when networking. If your business is not looking to start a project within the next year or two, make sure your team understands that. No one enjoys being led on by a company (whether on purpose or not), so make sure your intentions are clear when speaking to exhibitors.

Question #2 can guarantee more time to talk about what matters the most with specific exhibitors. How? If your team researches the speakers and exhibitors beforehand, you won’t need to have the “tell us about your company” conversation. Instead, your company will know exactly what that speaker/exhibitor can offer you, and inquire about how they can tailor their product or idea to fit your specific needs. IMCO Software cannot stress this enough; research, research, RESEARCH!

The last question is in correlation with #1. It’s important to know what you want out of this experience. If your company doesn’t provide accurate or updated information, it could negatively impact the experience of fellow attendees and exhibitors. Be sure to double-check all contact information, business data insights, and anything else you provide the event staff.

Regardless if your business is a potential exhibitor or attendee, be sure to consider the objectives of your company before choosing a particular trade show. Based on the outcome, your company will be able to select a trade show that fits its individual needs the best. (A.K.A getting the best bang for its buck!)


From innovative products to next level ideas, trade shows are an excellent resource for increasing your business.  Whether your company is an attendee or an exhibitor, there are many points to consider before committing to these manufacturing events. To connect with decision makers and network with innovators, remember to always think about these three essential points: Format, Commitment, and Overall Investment.  IMCO Software wishes your team the best of luck moving forward with the next Manufacturing Revolution, Industry 5.0.


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