Tricks of the Trade Show
“Knowledge has become the key economic resource and the dominant, if not the only, source of competitive advantage.” – Peter F. Drucker
Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year participating in industry conferences, trade shows, and seminars. While your company may be maximizing your sales efforts at these events, a conference or trade show may be the single best place to collect market and business information that can be developed into competitive intelligence. Because industry players – competitors, suppliers, customers, regulators, potential partners, gurus – are all gathered in one location, you can learn about customer needs, emerging technologies, government directions, competitor plans, how to compete in specific markets, and more at a fraction of the cost of traditional research methods.
“If there’s a more ‘target-rich environment’ for the collection of competitive information, I’ve never seen one.” – John Nolan
Making the most of each intelligence gathering event requires careful planning and preparation whether attending as a team or going solo. Working smart at the show requires focus, organization, and seizing opportunities. Determining if a particular conversation is elicitation or merely an innocent question can be very difficult to tell. Ultimately, it makes no difference in one’s need to be cautious and aware of what can and cannot be said. Working the show smart means being aware that competitors are as interested in you as you are in them.
In upcoming blog posts, I’ll cover Key Intelligence Topics (KITs), Rules of the Game, The Interview – Art & Science, and Protecting the “Family Jewels” While Scouting the Competition.