Trade Shows and Conferences: How Do You Decide Where To Go?

As proudly enters its second year I got together last week with my business partner, Richard Howes, our VP of Marketing & Content to plan our 2016 marketing strategy.

Richard and I are also partners in a content-focused, PR and marketing company called Bridger Howes Limited. Our background is business-to-business trade media and we have worked for a number of international publishing companies representing the global material handling industry for over 10 years. Our expertise is in cranes, hoists, other lifting equipment and now the broader aspects of material handling and logistics.

Our marketing strategy is two fold; we are working hard to develop the brand in North America, whilst striving to grow our PR firm and add to our current portfolio of clients who are located in the USA, Canada and across the pond in England and other countries in mainland Europe.

Primarily with in mind we started to look at all the promotional channels that are available to us. From a budgeting standpoint, it made sense to focus first on trade shows and conferences as these typically carry the largest expense when you factor in staff costs, travel and hotels.

Richard and I are huge supporters of events. We have been attending ProMat since 2005 and have exhibited at and walked the show floor at NA and then MODEX, as it became, on alternate years. MODEX 2016 is a top 2016 priority for but we have heard fantastic reports about the Associated Wire Rope Fabricators’ product exhibition, known as PIE. So both were added to our wish list and budget spend allocated. founder and CEO Mark Bridger. founder and CEO Mark Bridger.

Further research led us to end-user markets; iron and steel, petrochemical, oil and gas, waste management, manufacturing and engineering, to name a few. These industries are key to driving traffic to the website. We want to engage with attendees to make them aware of as a resource, and ultimately encourage these buyers to source their equipment through local distributors.

It wasn’t long before we realized that we could actually be out on the road attending a relevant conference or exhibition pretty much for all 52 weeks of 2016! For small businesses like Bridger Howes and this isn’t feasible for a number of reasons. Given that we don’t even have to ship products or machinery, I imagine it’s a realization that hits most companies during the budget process.

This posed the question: with so many key business sectors to service, how do companies decide which events they should focus their attention on? What factors drive these decisions—strength of market, region, event cycle, size of event, previous experience and/or recommendation?

Richard wrote a more expansive blog in which he guided businesses on selecting trade shows, recently posted to the Bridger Howes website.

Bridger Howes Limited’s objective is to build a portfolio of non-competing businesses. We work with a number of clients whose products have a strong synergy and are used in tandem on lifting and moving applications. Some of our international clients are already partnering at events to help reduce cost whilst at the same time increasing their visibility and brand awareness. This is just one solution.

But I am interested to learn how businesses in North America tackle this issue and would welcome feedback from you.

Please feel free to leave a comment against this blog or email me at

Thanks for your time and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @FADNetwork where we’re approaching 2,000 followers.

Enjoy the holiday season and stay safe.

Mark Bridger, Founder

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