Event management of trade fairs where companies can exhibit their latest products and services. Definition, “fairs:” cotton candy, funnel cakes, hotdogs, and roller coasters. Actually, not all fairs possess such frivolity and festivity; trade and career fairs are decidedly less entertaining, albeit more useful. Headed by a knowledgeable event manager, a trade or career fair is a special opportunity through which buyers and sellers can meet. Trade fairs are occasions in which corporations of a certain industry gather to display their latest products and innovations. Career fairs, a close cousin, occur when companies conglomerate to solicit potential employees. In today’s competitive economy, both events are essential. Trade fairs are engaging, living advertisements, while career fairs are necessary to recruit college graduates and other superior employees from the rank-and-file lines of unemployment.

When initiating the planning stages of a fair, first determine a theme. Is the trade show focused on florists or dentists? Will the career fair seek out engineers or marketers? Do not waste time marketing irrelevant prospects; select the target audience and focus accordingly.

Before solidifying times and dates for a fair, be sure that no similar show is occurring nearby or has occurred recently. Additionally, check the success of past trade shows in the area. If they failed to elicit much interest, reconsider the location.

When an event manager selects a venue, he or she must anticipate expected crowd size and vendor participation. Locations should be easily accessible to the public with nearby parking lots. Add carpet, lighting, furniture, and perhaps some audiovisual equipment to enhance the atmosphere.

Now, to solicit vendors. Aye, there’s the rub. Vendors are the brick and mortar of a show. Prospects come for a vendor’s goods; second-rate sellers will elicit second-tier buyers, which create a second-tier event. After carefully listing a collection of targeted companies, send each company an e-mail, call their business executives and marketing branches and eagerly promote the event. Offer each company floor area and a space in the event directory, along with other incentives.

After inviting vendors, market to prospective customers or employees. Avoid direct mail. Use worth-of-mouth, press releases, media coverage, newspaper advertisements, and industry-inside channels to disseminate invitations.

A few personnel logistics should be attended to during the actual event. A small crowd control force should patrol the area; a receptionist should welcome customers and offer pertinent information; and a set-up/tear-down crew (paid professionals) should take care of general equipment installation.

Definition, “fairs:” a place for a buyer and seller to meet. A place for an event manager to smile and say, “success.”