Trade shows are one of the most effective ways to network and learn about companies and new products. In the automotive world, nothing is bigger than the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Some companies plan their whole year around the show. The week-long show sees over 130,000 industry professionals and 2,500 exhibiting companies. To see all the booths and navigate around the several different halls at the Expo center requires a ton of walking. We learned a lot this year and the top five most helpful tips that would have helped us are:
1. Comfortable shoes. Everyone kept saying this leading up to the trip. I thought the casual business shoes that I wear on a daily basis would be just fine. Well, I didn’t factor in many variables and obviously I was horribly wrong. After just two days of the four day show, I realized I had made a mistake. My suggestion to anyone going to the show: sneakers, running shows, tennis shoes, whatever you call them, light airy shoes is the key.
2. Phone Charger. You’ll want to take photos of everything, post on social media, brag to your friends, etc. Trust me, I spent 8-10 hours of walking around taking pictures and my phone kept running out of juice. I used a 5000mAh Mophie brand charger that way I wasn’t bound to a wall like make others were while they got a few minutes of juice on their device.
3. Make a plan. We attended the event as an Advertising and Marketing agency and our goal was to network with companies and learn about new innovations in the industry. To see 2,500 booths in just two 8-10 hour days is an impossible goal. SEMA provides a list of all exhibitors and their locations and I suggest studying the list and making a route and a list of must-sees before ever entering one of the halls.
4. Pictures. As much as the show is about work and growing business, it is also fun. We saw some of the coolest custom vehicles ever built, and some very impressive product innovations. Now that the show is over, I’ve got hundreds of photos to show for it. Hard not to brag to your buddies when you got the proof!
5. Plan your flight around the SEMA Cruise. By far one of the most impressive events of SEMA and unfortunately due to scheduling we were not able to attend. Every show vehicle cruises through downtown Vegas—from Monster trucks to race cars.
Don’t wait, apply for SEMA 2015 now!