The National Hardware Show for 2023 is coming up really fast. It will be held 01/31/23-02/02/23 in Las Vegas. The really exciting thing about the 2023 show is that it won’t just be the National Hardware Show, it will also encompass the National Builders Show and the Kitchen and Bath Show.
For those of you wondering why we make such a big deal out of attending a professional tradeshow, the reason is experience has taught me it’s the best bang for your buck when it comes to marketing a product. While attending a professional tradeshow does cost money, it’s a fraction of what you potentially end up paying for professional marketing campaigns to debut a product. There will be a cost, no matter how you end up marketing your idea. But it doesn’t have to cost tens of thousands of dollars to meet the right people and get the right feedback.
So other than debuting your product, why else do we recommend a professional tradeshow? It’s a great way to get feedback on your product and determine interest. A professional tradeshow offers more coverage, more visibility and more opportunities to talk to interested parties in a few days than in a year of other marketing options. You get exposed to store owners, buyers and representatives from big box stores.
You also get see what other products are in the same industry, get ideas for packaging, and get some price point guidelines. There is so much to learn and gain knowledge about in just a few days. That’s why we say this is the biggest bang for your buck.
When you attend a tradeshow, one of the most common questions asked is about your suggested retail price. And if you have an answer, or at least a range, that’s important. For example, let’s say you invent a new type of or improved flashlight. You can go to somewhere like Target and find the flashlight aisle and have a pretty good idea of the range most flashlights fall into. There will of course be some low end items and some higher end, but you can at least garner a target range. The reason this suggested retail price is important is because it helps you figure out what kind of margin you have to work with making a profit.
The multiple of five is the easiest way to explain this. Let’s say you decide that your flashlight needs to sell for $20 to be competitive. The store selling it puts the $20 price tag on but they are only willing to buy it from you for $10. That means that a distributor will be looking to sell it to them for $5. So you need to be able to make it, package it, and ship it for $4. After all that, you only have $1 left to cover any marketing you need to do and pay all the service providers who helped you in the process.
For a lot of inventors, that’s extremely hard to do. Attending the professional trade show helps you iron out all those details before hand so you know what you’re getting yourself into budget-wise.
Another perk of the professional tradeshow is that they do a lot of online advertising in the days leading up to and following a show. For a little more money on your part, you have the opportunity to piggyback off this advertising and get extra exposure for your product.
Attendees to these shows vary but you have a much better chance of speaking directly with licensees and store owners at them. Don’t attend the basic consumer shows. You may sell a few of your product at them, but at the professional tradeshow you have the opportunity to sell dozens, or meet people interested in signing a contract to sell thousands. Professional tradeshows are not open to the public. You also don’t want to limit yourself to a regional show, think national so you get as much visibility as possible.
You want to focus on tradeshows that are specific to your industry and they exist for every industry imaginable. I’ve gone with an inventor to the National Asphalt Show. It was very well attended by the right people and ended up being very productive for that inventor.
We tend to focus on the National Ha
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