Say Hello: Welcome New Products and Brands to Your Tradeshows

Every industry has new brands or products trying to make a splash, but often budgets don’t allow them to purchase booth space at tradeshows or market at the same level as the bigger, already-established players. Good news: Association tradeshows are helping them out.

More times than not, it’s hard to be the new kid on the block. You’re not familiar with your new neighborhood, plus you don’t know anyone that well yet, which could leave you feeling a bit lonely.

All associations should give some thought to how they can welcome new companies and their products and services to their tradeshows.

Brands and products trying to introduce and market themselves to your association’s industry probably feel similar, which may lead them to investigate the possibility of exhibiting at your tradeshow to get in front of potential buyers and other industry leaders. But they may soon become hindered by smaller budgets that keep them from purchasing a booth that will draw the traffic they’re looking for. Thankfully associations are responding to the situation and coming up with creative ways to give these smaller players the attention they deserve.

One such organization is the Specialty Food Association. Through its New Brands on the Shelf showcase at its Fancy Food Shows, SFA highlights food producers who are current SFA Member Candidates and are exhibiting their niche and artisan products for the first time. While previous shows had limited the number of participating companies to 20, the popularity of the pavilion signaled the need for an expansion. At the Summer Fancy Food Show, taking place later this month in New York City, 42 companies will be given tabletop displays to showcase their products, which include everything from alcohol-infused ice cream bars to grass-fed beef jerky and fava bean snacks.

But the New Brands showcase isn’t the only thing SFA offers at its tradeshow when it comes to highlighting new products and trends. It also has its What’s New, What’s Hot! Showcases (open to both new and returning exhibitors), which feature “hundreds of the hottest products following the latest trends including new products, gift ideas, and natural and organic foods.” Exhibitors pay an additional fee to have their products featured, in hopes that it will drive additional traffic to their booths onsite. They can also buy a package that includes exposure in an online product gallery.

Another association that took a similar approach is SnowSports Industries America. After the organization began tracking independent and boutique brands that were too small for an exhibit booth or unaware of the tradeshow but important to the industry, SIA realized it needed to do something to help them out and get them there. Its solution: the CRAFT @ SIA booth at its 2014 SIA Snow Show.

Twelve emerging brands had the opportunity to show off their products in that area, which sold out quickly and highly successful. According to an article at Trade Show News Network, 83 percent of the brands who participated in CRAFT @ SIA already have committed for the 2015 SIA Snow Show, and 33 percent opted to upgrade to traditional booth space on the show floor.

While these two tradeshows represent primarily product-driven industries and may have an easier time introducing showcases like these as a result, all associations should give some thought to how they can welcome new companies and their products and services to their tradeshows. Perhaps it’s simply a discounted booth rate or a specific area with smaller, more affordable booths given a clever name that will attract attendees and buyers.

Whatever organizations decide to do, they need to think about this next generation of exhibitors. After all, it is these companies that will move their respective industries forward, and, by welcoming them, you open your association up to potential new revenue and future engaged members.

What are you doing to help out or highlight new products, services, or exhibitors at your tradeshows? Share what’s working in the comments.


Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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