Tradeshow Takeaways – What We Saw at Ag In Motion

Jeff English

For three days, a field northwest of Saskatoon transforms into the largest agricultural outdoor tradeshow in Western Canada. With Ag In Motion 2019 now in the books, here are some quick marketing takeaways we gleaned from the event:

Strategy Matters

We are often asked if tradeshows are worth it in the digital era. They can be – if you have the right strategy. While it might seem simple, a tradeshow strategy defines what constitutes success for a company when attending a show. Significantly, this helps create alignment for the staff working the booth, so they can create a more engaging experience for attendees. It was easy to see which exhibitors came to AIM with a plan, and which exhibitors did not.

Giveaways

Farmers (and everyone else) love swag. It is not uncommon to see swag bags full of hats, pens, shirts and various other trinkets at ag tradeshows. Whether it’s a sign of leaner times ahead, or just a recognition that swag rarely has a clear ROI, bags seemed a little less full this year.

Shuttles

Ag in Motion is massive and seeing the whole show can seem daunting. To make life a bit easier, companies can sponsor shuttles to drive attendees around. This remains a smart tactic for a couple of reasons:

  1. Your shuttle becomes a mobile billboard.
  2. It gives your employees the chance to engage directly with farmers, even if it is only for a minute. This is well worth it, especially on a hot day.

The People Make the Show

Canadian ag is a tight-knit community, and if you’ve been around for a while, it’s hard to walk a block at AIM without spotting a familiar face. The show may close at 4:30, but the restaurants and pubs of Saskatoon are packed until closing with farmers sharing stories, networking and generally celebrating agriculture.

It’s the people that make ag a great industry to work in, and if Ag In Motion keeps drawing the right crowd, it will continue to be a worthwhile place for ag companies to be.

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