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You’re an electrical contracting business, and you mean business: you want to sell, and at a trade show, people want to buy—in fact, 49 per cent come to trade shows with purchasing intent, according to the most recent Exhibit Surveys Inc.’s Trade Show Trends report.
Not only that: 81 per cent of trade show attendees have buying authority, as seen in this recent Globe and Mail article on the ten top reasons for attending trade shows, a.k.a. “why face-to-face is still relevant in a digitally connected world.”
Add to this the fact that B2B marketing outlook reports show event spending second only to digital, and you have compelling reasons to strategically invest a percentage of your marketing or business development budget on at least one event to sponsor, attend and exhibit in.
If you’re based in Western Canada or are interested in exploring opportunities in the region, here are a few excellent conferences and trade shows to consider (listed chronologically):
1. 28th Annual KEG (Kamloops Exploration Group) Conference & Trade Show Kamloops, B.C., April 14–15, 2015 Visit the KEG Conference 2015 website
One of B.C.’s most well-regarded, long-running, least expensive mining investment, exploration and extraction industry events, the conference and trade show components focus on the latest discoveries, technologies and issues in geological surveying and mining, while the entire weekend has a strong community-building and networking component. If you’re a line contractor specializing in off-grid or remote solutions, looking to make mining industry and related education sector connections in a relatively informal “big, happy mining family” atmosphere, this would be the place—although inside and IBS/VDV contractors could certainly benefit as well, considering the long term nature of mining exploration and extraction development cycles. Register soon if you plan on exhibiting, as they claim their trade show spots fill up fast.
LNG is big news and big business, and the Canada LNG Export event is one big B2B LNG showcase on a global scale—attracting not only more than 450 international leaders in the LNG sector (as advertised), but all the mainstream media and trades hype as well. Now in its third year, the conference and trade show visitor profile skews toward senior level executives and upper management, while the exhibitor profile features representation from the entire LNG project development and supply chain – including electrical and power. Having a presence here guarantees eyeballs, and means high profile leads with multinational reach. In this highly competitive environment, look to bid for subcontracting opportunities as well as long term, multi-phase and multiple-project partnerships from the get-go.
3. 15th Annual Minerals North Conference 2015 Mackenzie, B.C., May 27–29, 2015 Visit the Minerals North 2015 website
If Southeast BC has the KEG Conference, Northern BC has Minerals North. The resource-rich northern BC interior presents a challenging environmental, political and cultural landscape, and the conference sponsors, presenters, attendees and exhibitors—provincial, regional, municipal and First Nations governments; regulatory and advocacy organizations; mining, exploration and extraction companies; and associated services—reflect this complexity. Look to generate leads with regional and municipal governments or First Nations bands, as well as the usual suspects. The trade show is already sold out; at time of writing, some outdoor exhibition spaces (for outdoor equipment or heavy machinery only) are still available.
Running since 1968 and currently managed by global leader dmg :: events, the venerable Global Petroleum Show (GPS) is geared toward all aspects of the heavy oil and gas industries and stakeholders, operators and vendors/suppliers at all levels. Networking, branding, PR and lead gen opportunities are limited only by your budget and stamina; you can expect more than 2,000 international brands to showcase cutting-edge technologies, products and services from upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, to more than 60,000 attendees and media. Listed focus areas include operations, maintenance and logistics, providing quality opportunities for electrical contractors of all classes, service levels and reach—particularly for leaders in innovation and cost effective applications. If you get tired of all that walking, take a seat at the International Energy Capital Forum (IECF), a concurrent networking event for connecting investors with the energy industry, or at the SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference, a showcase and learning forum for heavy oil exploration and production technology, process and best practice.
5. Bonnyville & District Oil & Gas Show 2015 Bonnyville, Alberta, June 17–18, 2015 Visit the Bonnyville Oil & Gas Show website
Hard on the heels of the GPS and squarely in the ballpark is the municipally produced (by the Bonnyville & District Chamber of Commerce), well-funded, strategically timed Bonnyville & District Oil & Gas Show. Given that nothing in Alberta happens on a small scale, and given that Bonnyville is well-positioned in an expanding heavy oil, natural gas and tar sands production region ripe for further international investment, exploration and production, this trade show-heavy event has plenty of opportunities for exhibitors. The attendee, sponsor and exhibitor profile draws mainly from local and regional businesses, and industry vendors/suppliers. This year’s biennial show is Bonnyville’s third since 2011, and focuses on safety, the environment and production; if your company has a great safety record or eco-friendly product and service options, this year’s event may be an ideal showcase.
6. Oil Sands Trade Show and Conference 2015 Fort McMurray, Alberta, September 15–16, 2015 Visit the Oil Sands Trade Show and Conference website
Also currently run by dmg :: events, the Oil Sands Trade Show and Conference has been the premier oil sands industry event in Western Canada since 1985. More than 450 vendor/supplier companies showcase their latest technologies, products and services to industry policy makers, business owners and investors, while the conference spotlights current issues, developments and forecasts for the sector, including associated technology, processes and community engagement trends. This event offers not only the usual exhibitor, business networking and community building opportunities, but also invites conference session presentation proposals as well. As an expensive, politically charged and environmentally sensitive flashpoint industry, contracting companies with innovative, cost effective or green offerings could have an edge here.
7. Third Annual International LNG in BC Conference 2015 Vancouver, B.C., October 14–16, 2015 Visit the LNG in BC Conference 2015 website
This B.C. provincial government-sponsored LNG sector event in the fall was sold out last year, so if the summer Canada LNG Export Conference won’t work with your schedule or travel budget, consider applying for this well in advance. Last year more than 1,400 delegates attended the three-day conference and 250-exhibitor strong trade show, including local government and industry representatives, international investors, and major suppliers. This event is geared toward showcasing B.C.’s LNG sector internationally, and toward providing the province’s vendors, suppliers and businesses with business and networking programs and opportunities; a presence here may be most beneficial if your operations are B.C.-based.
8. BUILDEX Calgary Calgary, Alberta, November 4–5, 2015 Visit the BUILDEX Calgary 2015 website
Produced by event management heavyweight Informa Canada, BUILDEX Calgary (along with similar annual events in Edmonton and Vancouver) is one of Western Canada’s bigger premier real estate sector events and certainly Alberta’s largest, with more than 225 exhibitors and 4,000 visitors expected this year. BUILDEX incorporates both B2B and B2C exhibitor, educational and networking opportunities for industrial, commercial, resort and residential real estate designers, builders, contractors, managers and clients. This event has huge lead gen potential for electrical contractors of all classes and levels, but may skew toward inside and IBS/VDV contractors in terms of volume of work, given the event’s scope and broader attendee profile.
If you’re looking for both quality and quantity in a roomful of prospects, you can’t get much better than organized, targeted conference exhibition, networking and pitching events; an electrifying (pun fully intended) live demo, a solid handshake and face-to-face interaction can be hard to beat when creating that critical first impression. See you on that trade show floor.