Whether your team is two or 12 people, make the most of your investment in Pack Expo by setting clear goals in advance.
The latest in packaging technologies will be on display at Pack Expo in November. Knowing that my colleagues and I at Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions have attended the show countless times over the years, buying teams often ask us for tips on how to efficiently and effectively cover the show floor. Here are recommendations we share with clients and friends to help them make the most of their investment in Pack Expo and ensure they gain several new ideas and insights.
1. Before arriving in Chicago, identify individuals/teams and their respective charters at the show. Will they seek out innovation, cost reduction opportunities, specialty topics such as the environment or regulations? All teams should have a clear understanding of their objectives for attending Pack Expo, as well as a roadmap to help them achieve their goals, complete with a list of vendors to visit, exhibitions to attend and technologies to review.
2. Develop a template to capture information. This could be an Excel spreadsheet, Word document or other proprietary tool. The only requirement is that it must be EASY to populate, sort, read and share. Consider the information you hope to gather and create fields accordingly. Include space for teams to record ideas, list potential applications of the technology and innovations they uncover, capture conversation notes from the show floor and identify follow-up action items.
3. Watch and listen. Ask questions, engage with others and meet new contacts. You never know where you will meet a new partner, discover a lead, learn about a new technology or uncover the latest trend. Don’t forget to ask the exhibitors what is new that they are not showing—this is how you get the latest information and insight!
4. Upload information, insights and findings from the show and share with colleagues (including those not attending Pack Expo who may have cost or benefit knowledge) each day. Invite their feedback and questions. Leverage their input to shape the next day's agenda, plan follow-up meetings and research.
5. Build in time to revisit booths and platforms and bring colleagues on return trips. Pack Expo is huge and there is a lot to see—so it can be tempting to schedule every second of every day. Don’t. Allow time to change course and adapt plans during the event based on others’ feedback. Return to booths and reevaluate innovations in a new light; drill down for more information. Broaden your perspective to uncover macro trends. What themes do you see emerging at the show that will influence the future of your business?
6. Don't forget measurement. Measure against short-term objectives at the show. Did teams visit all of their targets? Also develop simple measurements of ideas to platforms to projects to commercialization to demonstrate the show’s value and determine next year’s scope of involvement.
A little preparation goes a long way. Take the time to develop a strategy for your visit to Pack Expo and you’ll likely increase your ROI tremendously.
Good luck and I’ll see you in Chicago!
Michael "Mike" Richmond, vp at Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions, is a leader in providing strategic and operational expertise across the packaging value chain, to help you grow your business and position your brand with maximum impact for people, planet and profit.