Last week marked a “first-time” for the fresh produce industry - a virtual tradeshow. The inaugural format for the show was an indicator of how our industry has become nimble to the times at hand, and a potential prediction of what’s to come.
We found the United Fresh Live! online format easy for the novice online user to maneuver, yet advanced enough to look modern and perform well technically. We came together after the show to put our list of things we learned, from both an exhibitor and an attendee point of view. Here's what we took away from the event; from both perspectives:
Exhibitor Lessons Learned
Invest In Appealing Booth Videos and Graphics
We knew it would be important to have brand assets, but finishing a week of “virtuality,” we saw just how important they really were. In an online world, visuals are everything. If you don’t have the tools internally to build out eye-catching videos and graphics, consider outsourcing a firm to build these for you and investing in these materials. For networking events, we quickly learned that breakout sessions are a great place to brand your company using the tools available to you through Zoom! By updating our profile photos to our company logo and creating a virtual background, it was easy to spot the DMA team during online learning and networking events.
Be Ready With Marketing Materials
After guiding our clients and hosting a booth ourselves during United Fresh LIVE!, we learned very quickly that the difference between hosting a good show and a great show was in the marketing assets.
From videos to downloadable sell sheets, we found gems hidden within the "Content Tab" available in each booth. You can read more about what blew us away at the Expo here.
Have Your Staff Trained and Ready to Engage
It is imperative that you have a team that is prepared and properly trained to facilitate “virtual communication.” Lay out your team’s responsibilities and be sure that each team member knows when and where they need to be present within the virtual booth. We maintained the show throughout the week with two staff members and we focused our time engaging with booth visitors during the power hours designated on Monday through Thursday. Preparing your team with training and setting expectations will guarantee productivity throughout the show and help draw in leads. Keep up the momentum from the show up to three weeks following the event with follow up and re-connection with the leads garnered throughout the show.
Attendee Lessons Learned
Be Ready to "Chat" and Engage
One of the many great things about a virtual trade show is the ability to quickly engage with brands at their booth. No shouting over other conversations or music, the floor is yours. Be ready to talk via chat boxes and get to know the company first hand. If you're an extroverted person, the networking receptions are maybe the best thing since sliced bread. People show up to a room and the party begins. We were impressed with the way that United Fresh navigated and lead the breakout sessions offering people the chance to converse with people in smaller groups for more intimate and lively discussion.
Attend As Many Events As Possible
With a thought out show such as United Fresh, there are events, seminars, workshops and happy hours throughout the day. One of the benefits of a virtual show is there’s no running from one side of the convention center to the next trying to make the next session or meeting. We learned to maximize the show in light of this and made sure that a DMA team member was present as much as possible throughout the learning sessions and networking events. Learn more about what blew us away with the education sessions here.
Take Notes and Don’t Forget To Follow-Up!
In a virtual show, it’s easy to become swept up in the next conversation or workshop. Be sure to have a pen and paper next to you during your time online and take notes of important conversations and names of people you meet, whether it be in the booth or in a break out session. Once the show is over, remember to follow-up with those you met, and keep these relationships going. Whether you connect via email or via LinkedIn, embrace the opportunity to stay connected after the show is over. After all, there will be another next year!
United Fresh was our first virtual tradeshow as an industry, and in these quickly changing times we estimate it won’t be our last. Thanks to United Fresh LIVE!, we have gained the confidence we needed to know that we and you can navigate a virtual show with ease, confidence and success!
Need help preparing for your next virtual tradeshow? We're happy to discuss and brainstorm the possibilities with you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let's set up a meeting to discuss.