Extraordinary Events Podcast

Ep 50: Tradeshow Careers

February 09, 2021 Extraordinary Events
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 50: Tradeshow Careers
Chapters
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 50: Tradeshow Careers
Feb 09, 2021
Extraordinary Events

Interested in tradeshows? This podcast episode is for you! In this very special episode, I discuss all the different viable career paths in tradeshows. I also give examples of my experience with tradeshows, new trends in the tradeshow industry, and how tradeshows may be easily misunderstood.

Interested in our Friday webinar series? It starts back up this Friday, February 5, and continues every Friday for the rest of the year. February's series theme is on Online Event Technology. To register for this free event, click here: https://go.unl.edu/nextlevelevents

Want to connect with us in other ways? Connect to all our social channels at our website, extraordinaryeventinitiative.com!


Show Notes Transcript

Interested in tradeshows? This podcast episode is for you! In this very special episode, I discuss all the different viable career paths in tradeshows. I also give examples of my experience with tradeshows, new trends in the tradeshow industry, and how tradeshows may be easily misunderstood.

Interested in our Friday webinar series? It starts back up this Friday, February 5, and continues every Friday for the rest of the year. February's series theme is on Online Event Technology. To register for this free event, click here: https://go.unl.edu/nextlevelevents

Want to connect with us in other ways? Connect to all our social channels at our website, extraordinaryeventinitiative.com!


Hello, Hello, my friends, episode number 50. Wow, I just can't even explain the thoughts that are going through my head right now. I am a person who used to start blogs like opinion blogs. And I would maybe write one or two. I think one of them I actually wrote three different blog posts, and they just kind of withered out. So I think this has the potential to be the most consistent thing that I have done in terms of putting my voice out there consistently, week in and week out for the general public. So thank you all so much for listening. And for supporting this and making me feel like there's a reason to share. And for all of your amazing comments and feedback and messages, they mean the world to me! 

For episode 50, today, I had no idea what I was going to talk about originally, and then I was actually invited to speak on someone else's podcast. And that podcast would be Trade Show University. It actually drops this week. And I had the pleasure to have James on my podcast, which you will hear on Thursday. And we're talking all about the trade show industry. I have such a unique and interesting past with trade shows, in the fact that I was an Executive Director of events in Las Vegas, I planned events that have major trade shows, we had a class at the University of Nevada, of which I helped teach with the infamous Dr. Curtis Love. I have such a background information in trade shows and marketing and business to business. And being able to share the love of trade shows with my students.

That was probably one of the most surprising things for me, when I moved from Las Vegas to Kansas, in order to teach was the availability of events to show my students to. Granted yes, it's Las Vegas. So we were a little bit spoiled. I got to show my teacher card and got all my students behind the scenes of these major, major trade shows. And then here it was in the Midwest, I couldn't even expose my students to trade shows in-person. And yet I was emphasizing that this is a super viable career path and career option. One of the cool things that I've always loved doing is taking my students to IMEX America, which is in Las Vegas, one of the largest trade shows in the world. And I just love, love, love taking students to Las Vegas. And we always set up a bunch of side tours. But then we get to see the IMAX show floor, I get to expose them to different types of booths, single booths, double decker booths, custom booths, different sizes of booths all in one show. And I was so blessed to be able to still do that when I was in Kansas and now in Nebraska. 

And so it was a little hard for me when IMEX was moved online because of COVID. And I know that might sound selfish, but sometimes it's hard to show students or future leaders in training here that this is a very viable career path and career industry when they've had zero exposure to it. Now, I asked my lovely guest on Thursday, a series of questions to go behind the scenes and trade shows. And I really wanted to take today's podcast to talk about all the different viable career paths in the tradeshow industry. Now this is definitely a trick question. Because if you are in the tradeshow industry or you've had exposure to the trade show industry, you already know that the career paths, they're so broad, you can never cover them on a single podcast. There's career paths in both the supply side, the exhibitor side, the show management side, the venue side, all the marketing side, there's just so many. We are going to sit and break down just a couple of those. 

Now if you represent a company in an organization that does business, your company might decide to exhibit at a trade show. And trade shows might not be called trade shows globally, they can be business to business marketing events, hosted buyer summits are similar to trade shows. But really, trade shows are anywhere where you're connecting businesses to other businesses, to do business, the BBB, business to business to do business. And you can be in any aspect of those. So if you're with an organization, and you want to get your product out in front of other businesses, you want to sell directly to businesses and not necessarily directly to consumers, then you would have a variety of career options in that exhibitor side. You could be doing booth design, you could be a salesperson that's standing in the booth, you could be working on the back end, in terms of sales, following up on leads, there's so many different opportunities. But I would say those are really, outside of the booth design and marketing, I say a lot of those maybe come from the sales perspective.

Now, there's a lot of different options in terms of hosting or planning events that include trade shows. That's really been a lot of my main experience, I have had the pleasure and fortune to actually sit in booths about three times to make business relationships with other attendees on the show floor. But most of my experience is actually in planning events that involve a trade show component. So especially if you work in the association world, you could be planning a big annual event, which more likely now because COVID is a series of smaller regional events, and they would have a trade show component to them where you would maybe have traditional booths, they would come in, and they would market and sell to your attendees. Now, this is just a planning job an event designer an event professional job, but yet you are still involved in the tradeshow industry.

Now outside of planning conventions, where you have a meeting and a tradeshow component, there are also shows that are just trade shows. There are event owners and event planners that only plan trade shows there's actually no outside meeting or conference components to that and that is also a very viable career path. In a lot of my intro to event classes, I have required a trade show component in our event. And I’ve required doing exhibitor prospectus and sponsorship levels, and really envisioning what that looks like. Throughout the years of having and planning this project in my class, I have definitely seen a huge shift in the tradeshow industry. And I kind of wanted to touch on that just a little bit. The tradeshow industry used to just be about doing sales on the show floor, you would have salesmen in booths, and you'd be pitching to the attendees who were on the show floor. And over the years, I've really noticed a huge uptick in education that's being offered on the show floor, and in the booths themselves. 

So maybe you're an attendee, and you're wanting to walk around and see all of the fantastic organizations that are there. And there could be a dedicated space on the show floor for education. And then at specific times, you could go to that specific dedicated space for education. But what we've really been seeing a lot over the past probably five years is booths, hosting education within their own booths. And that would be companies showing that they're a thought leader and an expert. So instead of just pitching a product, “Hey, I have this really cool software!” They're actually pitching the foundational principle. And then of course, sliding in there showing how their product meets that foundational principle or does that foundational principle better than anybody else. And this is really a win win, because then the attendees are getting really good information. But then they're also getting real time exposure to these companies outside of just a lead qualifying and a sales pitch. So that's one really cool thing that's been going on on the trade show floors. And that is also another viable career path. Instead of maybe just being that salesperson, you can actually be contract for hire for being an artist or an act inside of a sales booth. Granted most of my trade show experience is in Las Vegas, and they're more flashy and showy shows and therefore a lot of them booths had really cool things, you'd have the show girls, you would have musicians, you'd have all the different types of acts. All of those are almost always hired out as contract positions. Not a lot of companies necessarily have a paid showgirl on staff. So they would hire that out, they could also hire out for models for different products, or comedians, or people that do a very specific type of trade. I remember when I went to a show, and there was lots of different destinations. And one of the destinations was doing hand origami. And the line was so long, because they would come up and say whatever you want, and they would make it for you out of origami. And I still actually have that in my house, which is a really cool talking point. 

The tradeshow industry, I think is overlooked a lot. And I think it's easily misunderstood. There's the business to business side, which is your traditional trade show. And then there's also a business to consumer, which is more of your public shows like your lawn home and garden show, boat show, Christmas show, etc. In business to business shows, oftentimes the businesses pay a booth fee, and the attendees are more than likely free, or have some small cost. But really the booths covered the majority of the costs. In public shows, you are really targeting people's interests, their interest in a boat, their interest in a particular holiday, your interest in lawn and garden. Whereas in trade shows you're typically targeting the person's professional career, their professional aspect, and it'll be really, really fascinating to see where trade shows go in the future. As these concepts start to merge a little bit. We are starting to design experiences for people in a 360 capacity. People are no longer just their job. They're no longer just their hobbies. We need to design experiences for someone's entire life in someone's entire interest and more and more specific and niche industries. 

I am so, so excited to see what will happen in the tradeshow industry. I am so excited to share with you Thursday's podcast. I'm having James on and if you think that I am passionate, James rivals me in passion, and together we are going to change the world in our podcast sphere. With that, I want to thank you all so much for taking the time to make the time. I'll see you Thursday!