2014 Tradeshows/Conferences

I had someone make an interesting comment to me yesterday. When discussing how to grow a new business, she suggested I “travel more”. As in, travel to trade shows and conferences.

So, my question(s) to you:

  1. What shows/conferences do you have on your docket for 2014? Not for design education etc…but for building your brand and business development.

  2. What is your go-to source for searching out shows you want to, or will travel to?

February - HIMSS (Healthcare Information Management Systems Society) in Orlando
March - APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control) in Anaheim
April - SHEA (Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America) in Denver (maybe)
June - WOCN (Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses) in Nashville
September - Transform 2014 in Rochester (maybe)
November - MEDICA (World Forum for Medicine - International Trade Fair with Congress) in Dusseldorf

building your brand as a design consultant?

The answer is probably very different for corporate guys vs consultants.

The answer is probably very different for corporate guys vs consultants.

To say nothing of “field”. Crikey, look at iab’s list! And I imagine yo could spend every day of the year cruising trade shows.

The Trade Show News Network might be one source to consider.

Ironically I’ve been making a list of shows for my team and I to divide and concur for the year. This is my list, based more on our corporate needs:

January: CES
March: International Housewares show, Chicago
April: IDSA West conference, Denver
May: ICFF (furniture), NY
June: E3 (gaming), LA
August: IDSA national conference, Austin
Sept: IFA-Belin (the European CES)
Sept: CEDIA Expo (Home technology and installation), Denver
Nov: LA Auto Show

For me it is building a consulting firm.

Ya, I know this is a broad topic…this is more for me to get a read on where people focus their energy…to gauge my friends advice vs the budget I have, etc.

Corporate/consultant, I don’t think it matters much. I do think field matters. As a consultant I “specialized” in mostly diagnostics and radiology. For those, AACC (American Association of Clinical Chemistry) and RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) are the two big boys of the year. But if you were something specific, you could hit a specialty like ACC (American College of Cardiology). Now, infectious disease rules my world.

For funsies I would hit local shows. I always enjoyed doing neocon and such.

Working in exhibit design for quite some time I can safely say that there is a tradeshow for every industry and it’s all about face to face marketing. I’ve designed or managed designers creating designs for a lot of the shows mentioned in this thread.

If you’re looking to build a consulting firm consider your target industries, or ideal clients, and then attend shows where they exhibit to meet them and learn more about them, their industry, and their competition. Granted I don’t know that I would try to pitch business to them at a show (remember they’re there to pitch their business!), but sometimes more business gets done after hours during shows. Some shows host seminars, presentations, workshops, etc… As a consultant you might have expertise to share as a guest presenter at a particular show in a particular industry. This could be great exposure for you to build your consultancy’s client list.

That’s the networking side of things, but shows are great for research and sourcing as well of course.

Since I work in the industry some relevant shows I attend would be Exhibitor, Euroshop, and NeoCon, but my go-to source for finding shows that I want to attend in other industries would likely be exhibitoronline.com and exhibitcitynews.com.

I think that pretty much covers them all. If you are looking to venture in the branding/packaging world I would add Fuse in Chicago. Different crowd than most ID style conferences with a mix of Corporate and Consulting. Just be ready to compete with the big branding agencies. They can be a bit territorial.


We’ve done a fair amount of projects going to Pack Expo, but that would be more on the engineering/manufacturing/processing side of that industry, have you ever gone to that show?

Yeah I used to go to Pack Expo. Its very equipment and vendor heavy and wasn’t providing the value I needed. I haven’t been in a while. Had other show I wanted to attend through out the year and needed the budget.


On a side note, a tactic we used with some success at tradeshows was to create a competitive analysis of the companies there. Branding/marketing/product features and benefits/etc. That report would be a calling card, sometimes for a fee, to the companies we were targeting at the show.

Definitely spec work at the start, but after time, companies knew what we could offer and “order” it prior to the show. As anything, you need to build the client base. And as we grew that base, we could hire industry kol to get their perspective into the research, adding value.

That is a great idea. I’ve had so many retailer, vendor, and technology partner meetings, i’ve barely seen any of CES this year. I have my team doing a recon and breakdown if the show, but if I could get a packet for a fee I might do that as well.

Exhibiting X-Jetpacks at the Dubai Boat Show. Had to take this photo-op with a two million plus real working police car. The McLaren police car was across the aisle but somehow less of a spectacle.

Just crazy! That super car stable of police vehicles there is just nuts!

How about the TED Conference in your own backyard next week? I was in town for the Heritage Classic last week, I have yet to figure out those flashing green lights. :open_mouth:

LOL…ya…took me a while too. They just mean that they won’t change unless a pedestrian presses the button.