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Gain the Most Value from GlassBuild America

In 30+ years in the glass industry, I have experienced being on both sides of the aisle at numerous events and conferences and I’ve managed more than a decade of GlassBuild America exhibits. In 2017, I revisited the role of attendee at GlassBuild for the first time in many years. No matter my role, I have always seen value in participating in the show.

Value for every sector

There are obviously many ways to gain value from a trade show, but how you participate is a matter of the role you play within the industry. At GlassBuild, I see value for three specific audiences:

Owners of glazing firms should, at minimum, attend the show. Participating in educational seminars, live demonstrations and networking events at GlassBuild are the surest way to stay relevant and grow in the industry. The event also can be used as a training experience for key employees in sales, customer service and glazing. Rewarding employees with the opportunity to attend GlassBuild can motivate employees to learn more about the industry, new products, and installation techniques. This is particularly ideal for employees that are within driving distance of GlassBuild.

Exhibiting at trade shows gives fabricators and manufacturers a powerful competitive edge. My first GlassBuild in the late ’80s taught me a powerful lesson about the value of trade shows for suppliers. While at the event, I saw in the aisle a prospect who had never given me the time of day—his words, not mine. I stepped out of my company’s booth to catch up with him and called him by name. He then walked back to my booth with me and I was able to capture about 15 minutes of his undivided attention. Thanks to that in-person connection, this contact soon became a regular buying customer. I would estimate over the course of time I managed this account, product sales amounted to over $1.2 million.

This individual had always refused my request for an appointment because he was very loyal to my competitor. He refused to meet with me when I made a cold call. Only at this GlassBuild event did I have the unique opportunity to connect.

Exhibiting not only gives your company a show of strength, but also provides an opportunity to build loyalty with existing customers, connect with potential buyers and learn what competitors are doing.

Architects and designers local to the venue will find GlassBuild an excellent opportunity to explore what’s new in the fenestration industry. While events positioned specifically to architects can provide exposure to fenestration products, they also can be overwhelming in the sheer scope of product types on display. The building envelope is the largest part of a project from the standpoint of design aesthetics, energy efficiency, and daylighting, making GlassBuild the perfect venue to gain expertise and to make connections in this area.

Plan your approach

While digital marketing has changed how we go to market in more ways than one, I remain a firm believer in the potential benefits of trade shows. As an attendee, events are an opportunity to learn who and what is new in our industry—and, to identify what’s trending. It’s a chance to stay current with products and regulations, and to discover new processes to help your business function more efficiently and profitably.

To see value as an exhibitor, it’s critical to plan your approach. Make sure exhibiting will support your overall marketing strategy, goals and objectives. Have the proper exhibit display materials and team members in place to make the show a success. Think about how you will measure ROI.

GlassBuild is the largest annual event in our industry, allowing exhibitors the opportunity to reach the largest number of people and achieve the highest level of exposure.

Alice Dickerson is the founder and managing director of Division 08 Marketing LLC, a full-service ad and marketing firm dedicated to the building products and construction industry. She can be reached at alice@division08marketing.com.