Determining The Value of Virtual Tradeshows

If you’re anything like us, the team at DMA Solutions, you’ve likely figured out by now that one virtual tradeshow is not like the next.  We have had the great pleasure of experiencing two of our industry’s most anticipated virtual events of the year (United Fresh and PMA Foodservice) and as we plan for Fresh Summit, we find ourselves having to explain “the value of the virtual tradeshow.”

This line of questioning is completely valid at this juncture in our virtual tradeshow journey in the fresh produce industry. United Fresh and PMA Foodservice were two very different events and as a result, offered two very unique experiences.  As we plan for Fresh Summit, collaborate with our clients and learn more about the show, we are expecting this show to provide an even more unique experience. Even though the same team at PMA that hosted PMA Foodservice will host Fresh Summit, the show is expected to be different in the way that the user interacts with the platform. This show is open for registration and is scheduled the week of October 13 – 15, 2020.

So how do we define “value” in a virtual tradeshow?  At DMA Solutions, we believe this is determined individually by the company.  Value in tradeshows specifically must ultimately support the overall goals and objectives that the company has set forth.  In the instance of a tradeshow, those goals are likely related to 1) sales, 2) brand presence and exposure, and 3) education.  When one asks my opinion on the value of a virtual tradeshow, I find myself needing to stop and think before I speak, then follow with a response that is custom based on the circumstance of the person that asked the question.

But if you were to ask me generally speaking, here is what I would say:

  • PMA offers a variety of options for companies to consider when participating in Fresh Summit.  A company can participate for much less than they would if they were traveling to a destination, paying for hotel, flights, cars, dinners and all of the fees that come with procurement and management of a booth.
  • Our team is in full agreement on this next point so please take our advice, if you are going to participate in Fresh Summit, skip past the Bronze level and find more value in the Silver participation level.  The additional $4,000 investment that you will make for the Silver level will get you visibility during the buyer preview where the Bronze level will not. If sales is the key to your participation, this is a good starting place for you. PMA has offered a nice visual comparison to show you how sponsorships and participation work.
  • If you plan to participate in future Fresh Summit shows whether virtual or in person like the old days, I encourage you to participate this year. 
  • Consider amplifying your presence as a supplier at Fresh Summit with a la carte options that allow you to showcase your team, your products and your solutions like the Fresh Ideas Showcase ($1,000), Featured Product Demo ($1,000), Pitch Session ($3,000) or Speed Meetups.  For the Speed Meetups, registration and information is coming soon but stay tuned because this is your one-way ticket to the buyer conversations you likely want out of the show.
  • Maintain a positive outlook!  We are all experiencing Fresh Summit for the very first time off of the traditional show floor.  The same can be said for PMA.  The team cares deeply about your experience and like us, they know that the output of the show will only be as good as the input.  This means that if you choose to participate as either an attendee or a sponsor, you will need to pave a path for your brand’s ultimate success.  PMA is providing the forum and you must make the most of your presence within that forum to achieve your goals.
  • Get creative and re-imagine the way you present your brand.  Take advantage of the opportunities that the show offers you AND take advantage of the marketing activities that you know help drive traffic.  

The DMA Solutions team is happily hosting a webinar titled Planning for a Successful Virtual Fresh Summit on September 3, 2020 and we’d like to see you there.  We will be sharing what we know to be true about Fresh Summit and how we recommend you capitalize on the opportunity for your business.  So whether you’re on the fence or already planning your company’s presence, join us for the conversation and let’s produce VALUE together.

If you need help and are interested in our Virtual Event Services or just want to brainstorm, contact us and we’ll book a free marketing consultation.