Agriculture And Trade Shows

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Last week while in Denver, CO, for a trade group meeting, I had the chance to visit with some of the good folks at Trimble Navigation Ltd., one of the industry’s key suppliers of precision ag equipment and services. Naturally, much of the conversation had to do with precision ag industry trends, key ways Trimble is tying into these with its products and service offerings and how the overall agricultural marketplace is playing out here in 2013.

But the one thing that really stuck me was how Trimble’s people talked about agricultural trade shows. Now I’ve heard from friends in other industries that trade shows are something of a dying breed. Much of the information that used to be shared exclusively at exhibit booths is now available to anyone online, so attendance for many events has fallen steadily over the past few years.

[Poll: How many trade shows do you attend each year?]

This isn’t the case in agriculture, however. Here, most trade shows are seeing healthy bumps in attendance year-over-year. In fact, some events such as InfoAg have grown so fast that they are now moving from biennial to annual frequencies as a result.

Trimble, too, sees the importance of trade shows. In fact, according to the company’s Courtney Gaudet, marketing communications representative for the Trimble Agriculture Division, the company exhibits at approximately 40 trade shows each year, with many of these taking place in agriculture.

“Ag is unique when it comes to trade shows,” said Gaudet. “Most of the folks that attend these events already know 90% of the information there is about the products they are looking at. They want the ability to touch them for themselves before making the decision to buy or not. That’s a quality only a trade show or in-person event can deliver.”

And I agree whole-heartedly with this observation. I’ve seen this same dynamic at work at many of the trade shows I attend regularly. As one attendee once told me: “There’s just something special about being able to kick the tires of something before I buy it!”

Sfiligoj is the Editor for both CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines. He travels regularly to cover industry events and has been dedicated to the ag retail industry since he joined the staff in 2000.

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