Conquer PACK EXPO: Insights from Trade Show Titans and Juniors

Posted by Alexa Marmolejo on Sep 7, 2023 11:31:29 AM
Alexa Marmolejo
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Cracking the Code to a Successful PACK EXPO Through Exhibits, Seminars, and Networking  

2023 - Exhibitors Perspective

As the anticipation for PACK EXPO grows, our dedicated Sneed team is diligently gearing up to ensure a successful venture. While our primary focus may revolve around our exhibition, rest assured our team members are poised to immerse themselves in the wealth of exhibits, seminars, and networking opportunities the event offers. The path to a fruitful experience demands good planning and research – a journey involving thoughtful consideration of chosen exhibits, targeted events, and enlightening seminars. While aimlessly wandering around is an option, our team, seasoned with wisdom, opts for a more strategic approach; we’re sure that their "My Show Planners" are brimming with curated selections.

Whether you're a newcomer embarking on your first expo or a seasoned attendee seeking ways to optimize your time at PACK EXPO, the collective insights of our juniors and experts offer invaluable guidance. Drawing from diverse experiences, our juniors, with their recent ventures into the tradeshow realm, and our experts, with their decade-long immersion, stand ready to offer their advice. From seasoned eyes to fresh perspectives, rest assured, our team's guidance encompasses a panorama of advice, ensuring you embark on your PACK EXPO journey with heightened confidence and strategic finesse. 

What Did the Juniors Learn From Their First Exposition?   

It’s refreshing to see a new generation of Sneed members attending these trade shows; not only do they have the opportunity to learn more about their coding and marking industry, but they also have the opportunity to explore countless other industries, sit in on a variety of informative seminars and make meaningful connections with other industry professionals. Now you’ll get to hear some advice from our juniors themselves. 

We started off by asking each of our juniors, “Can you share a standout moment or experience from your first-ever trade show? How did it shape your perspective on these events?” 

Our Digital Media Specialist, Quinton, started us off by telling us, 

  • “My first tradeshow experience with the packaging industry was last year at PACK EXPO, which was held in Chicago. The combination of the size of the convention center along with the amount of people attending/exhibiting was amazing to me. Walking into the convention center and seeing it all was quite the moment for me.” 

When asked the same question, our Tradeshow Coordinator, Daniel, said, 

  • “When I exhibited at my first trade show, the moment that stood out to me was when we had first got to the event. We arrived the day before and were meant to find our booth, unpack the crate, and set up our booth. When we first got to the event, our crate was nowhere to be found; this was quite stressful in the beginning as we had thought our crate had not arrived at all, but we were able to locate the crate later and have staff assist us with setting it in the right place; this made me realize that not everything would go perfectly well, even if you had done all the necessary work beforehand.”   

Our Content Marketing Copywriter, Alexa, recounts, 

  • “PACK EXPO Chicago was way busier than I could have ever imagined; every which way we looked there were new innovations to be seen and experienced. It honestly opened my eyes to how complex our industry really is and how much goes on behind the scenes that consumers have no idea about. From that point on, I realized that these events were gateways for individuals to automate their processes, learn about our everchanging industry, and much more.” 

What Advice Do the Juniors Have to Give? 

Our junior team members have quickly discovered that each event offers unique lessons and opportunities. Their initial experiences have paved the way for valuable insights, and now, they're eager to pass on the wisdom they've gathered along the way.

When we asked our Digital Media Specialist, “What his primary objectives are when attending a trade show, and how he plans to achieve them? Also, What aspects do you find the most exciting?” He goes on to tell us, 

  • “I will be celebrating one year at Sneed Coding while we're at the trade show, and I feel like I still have so much to learn about the packaging/coding industry. I think my first objective will be to continue to learn more about the industry to see how we at Sneed Coding Solutions fit within it all. I plan to explore exhibits while there to learn more. I'm also excited to be able to document our trip to Pack Expo by taking pictures and filming the booth so we can show what people who couldn't attend what happened at the Sneed Coding Booth.” 

In the world of tradeshows, documenting your journey isn't just about keeping a record – it's about digging into different industries and exploring beyond the surface. When you snap a photo or jot down a note, you're opening doors to understanding and connections that go beyond the immediate moment. Our tradeshow coordinator, Daniel, adds a practical touch to this process. With his experience running our tradeshows, he brings a grounded perspective to the table, so let’s see what advice he has to offer.

  • “Always make sure to wear shoes that are comfortable for both people that are attending the event and exhibiting. Due to either having to walk across the hall to visit booths or standing at a booth all day when talking to visitors.” 
  • “On the last day of the show, once it has ended, begin the process of packing up; that way, you have the chance to pack everything into the crate on the same day, or everything is prepared for the next day when the crate has arrived. Then you have less to worry about on the last day when flying back.”
  • “Lastly, Take the time to research events that are in correlation with the show. They are great opportunities to network with others that are attending the show, especially if there are attendees that didn't have the chance to stop by your booth.

We've gained insights from our visual content creator and heard directly from our coordinator, but now it's time to uncover our writer's top three pieces of advice. What wisdom does our writer have to share with us?

  • “My first piece of advice is to ask as many questions as you’d like; everyone at the show is there to either provide information or seek answers. My second piece of advice is to go in there with a plan; these expositions are huge, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed or lost, so make sure to do your research beforehand. My final piece of advice is to immerse yourself in the tradeshow; don’t hold back; go check out all of those new innovations, sit in on those seminars, etc.” 

Strategic Mastery at PACK EXPO: Wisdom Shared by Sneed Experts

Advice From Our VP of Sales and Marketing 

While the new generation's perspective is enlightening, the wealth of knowledge held by our seasoned experts, who have accumulated years of field experience and attended many tradeshows, is truly unparalleled. Their deep understanding of the industry nuances, honed through countless engagements, is now at your disposal. Seize this unique opportunity to glean insights directly from these industry stalwarts and enhance your PACK EXPO journey with their invaluable guidance.

Beginning with our VP of Sales and Marketing, Ken brings a wealth of insights to the table. With over a decade of experience in the industry and a track record of attending shows since 2011, his reservoir of knowledge is truly remarkable.

Interestingly, the adage "great minds think alike" holds true here. Daniel, Ken's younger brother, shared strikingly similar advice when asked, "What’s some advice you wish someone had told you before your first expo?" 

  • “Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. Wear comfortable shoes. Having casual shoes (and even attire) at these shows has become increasingly acceptable. I highly recommend getting a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes. If you’re committed to a nicer shoe, then upgrade your insole.” 

While not strictly advice, gaining insights into the shifting landscape of trade shows over the years is undeniably intriguing. In response to the question, "What's your perspective on the ever-evolving trade show landscape? How have technological advancements and evolving industry dynamics impacted your strategy for optimizing these events?" Ken offered his perspective:

  • “I haven’t seen many changes to the shows themselves, other than technology enablement like having a lead scanning app for smartphones. When I started, we had an old-school hand scanner that printed out leads on a printer. However, I have seen a big influx of robotics, cobots, and especially AI over the past year at the various packaging shows we have participated in, much more than I remember in the past.”

Advice From Our National Account Manager     

It seems that the Mogensen brothers aren’t the only ones that thought of that advice seeing as though our National Account Manager for the West, Santos, also said, 

  • “Comfortable Shoes, 2. Comfortable Shoes, 3. Comfortable Shoes! Jokes aside, wearing comfortable shoes is paramount. My first time working a booth, I wore leather-soled dress shoes and could barely walk the next day.” 
  • “Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated was a bit of a struggle for me, especially since you're talking to people all day long.” 
  • “Lastly, while working in the booth, If you don't know the answer to a question, it isn't the end of the world. Most attendees and people appreciate you gathering accurate information versus "spitballing." Take it as a talking point when you circle back to them after the show.” 

However, wearing comfortable shoes isn’t the only advice our VP of Sales and Marketing and National Account Manager has to share; when asked, “What strategies have you developed over the years to ensure you maximize your time and connections at trade shows?” he goes on to tell us, 

  • “If I’m attending the show, the primary thing is pre-show research. Identify which booths I want to stop at, so I can schedule my days and map out my route accordingly. Also, be mindful of the time and how long you are at the show; make a list of priorities to ensure you knock those out first if you’re only working with a limited amount of time at the show.” 

Advice From Our VP of Technical Services 

We’ve heard from our VP of Marketing and Sales and our National Account Manager, but now it’s time that we get some perspective from our VP of technical services. When asked, “What strategies have you developed over the years to ensure you maximize your time and connections at trade shows?” Charles told us,

  • “The best way to maximize your time at the show is to start with a plan. Have a list of the different vendors and people that you want to see, and take the time to schedule meetings in advance. This will help you make the most of your time, see the people you want to see, and have an opportunity to make time for some unexpected visits. Also, don’t be afraid to attend after-hours events. It’s a great place for networking and meeting great people.”

Charles was also asked, “For both our junior and expert team members, what are some effective ways you’ve found to strike a balance between attending seminars, exploring exhibits, and engaging in networking events?” 

  • “The only real balance is proper time management. Set aside time for the events and seminars you want to see, especially those important to your position and industry. This is something that should be discussed with your team before the show so that everyone can visit the booths, vendors, seminars, and events on their list. The other part of the balance is not finding yourself out late every night and coming to the trade show hungover the next morning.” 

Now that we have some advice from our VP of Technical Services, we also asked him, “What’s your take on the evolving landscape of trade shows? How have technological advancements and changing industry dynamics influenced your approach to maximizing these events?” 

  • “Since I began going to trade shows, they have not changed much. However, some of the changes have been very similar to what we’ve seen worldwide: more connectivity through Wi-Fi and smart devices. On social media, we have seen growth in trade show participants not only emailing before, during, and after the trade show, but now individuals post to various social media platforms daily and sometimes multiple times per day. I am excited to see how it continues to grow and change.” 

Get Ready for PACK EXPO

Given a chance, our team could talk your ear off, as the wealth of advice is truly boundless; however, you’ll see for yourself once you get to the show. Each individual's unique experience and motivations at the show contribute to this rich tapestry of insights.

As you step into PACK EXPO, equipped with carefully curated strategies, firsthand lessons, and a profound grasp of the ever-evolving trade show landscape, you stand ready to extract the utmost value from each fleeting moment. Embrace the wisdom generously shared by our team; let it be your guiding star as you embark on an experience poised to redefine your industry perspective. With every stride, conversation, and interaction, may you discover inspiration, forge connections, and attain knowledge that casts a brilliant light upon your path ahead.


Topics: Pack Expo, coding and marking, #KeepCodingSimple, We're Coding Everywhere, trade show, Networking, small business

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