by Christopher Finn, Research Manager
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has an aggressive travel schedule. As I type this blog post, two of BNE’s team members are in Germany attending Hannover Messe 2013, one of the world’s largest industrial technology trade shows. Each year BNE’s Business Development managers spend a significant portion of their time on the road, publicizing the assets of Buffalo Niagara. They attend trade shows, industry seminars, economic development summits; any event that will help us achieve our mission – attract investment to western New York. But how can dealing with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees be efficient? This is a resource intensive effort that requires careful planning to ensure a maximized return on investment.
The most critical piece of traveling is pre-event due diligence and planning. BNE’s research department analyzes vendor lists, targeting operations for email campaigns that inform the companies of our presence at the show, offering the opportunity for individual meetings. Our marketing department creates customized collateral for distribution, targeting the exact needs of the specific show. If appropriate we can partner with other strategic partners to provide a more robust message. This could include legal, accounting, or commercial real estate professionals, or if it is a Canadian event, attending with our Canadian consultant, Lee Meister. In Germany, we are lucky enough to work with the US Dept. of Commerce, who has created matchmaking sessions between groups like BNE and companies that have a desire to expand into the United States.
We also do not limit the travel to just the event. We take the opportunity to arrange for meetings with site selectors, corporate real estate professionals, or targeted companies. Making these connections, in their own offices, helps build the relationships that create opportunities for our region. As one of the top sources for BNE “Wins” come from these personal interactions, we diligently work to enhance these networks.
Over the next six weeks, we’ll have attended another 10 shows/events. Even though trade shows are just one tactic we employ to attract businesses to Buffalo Niagara, they are a critical one to keep our project pipeline full.