This year, our friends at CMS pioneered an event that made trade shows seem like a thing of the past. Teaming up with Marques Countertops in Louisiana, CMS hosted a special event showcasing the range and capabilities of multi-axis CNC machines. Roughly 40 people showed up—most of whom were business owners and manufacturers—and they were all treated to four days of exclusive training on the unique capabilities of CMS routers.
This was a big win for everyone involved. In the New Orleans region, Marques Countertops is the premier source of artisanal countertops, utilizing top-notch CMS machines. Chris Marques opened the doors of his shop for presentations, hands-on learning, and networking, and the results were even better than anyone anticipated.
After this successful event, we’re confident enough to say that private events like these are the way of the future. Here’s why.
From planning to execution, the most obvious benefit of a private event is the many opportunities for partnership. No company has to shoulder the financial burden alone, and the gains are enjoyed by all.
Marques hosted the event at his shop, while CMS invited guests who had a good relationship with their company. Then they invited several vendors who worked in the same industry but weren’t direct competitors. All parties were invested in the event’s success, and all parties came away with successful sales and new relationships.
Better Return on Investment
Big trade shows may attract thousands of attendees, but the return on a vendor’s investment is generally low. If you have a booth at one of these trade shows, you might have conversations with dozens of potential leads, each of which feels rushed and distracted. While you talk, hundreds of other people are passing by, and most of them become missed opportunities.
At a private event, each person who attends is fully engaged and deeply invested in your company. There is no trash talk between competing vendors, no grappling over limited space or attention, and no rush to make a pitch in ten minutes or less. CMS had the best return on investment of any event they’ve put on, and guests came away with huge gains in knowledge of their machines.
A Huge Networking Opportunity
One thing no one predicted was how much networking people would do during the event. It makes sense though—how often do you get to be in a room full of manufacturers from all over the country?
As the event progressed, people kept breaking off into spirited discussions of the nuts and bolts of their businesses. Some discussed various hangups they had encountered in their work, while others offered solutions from their personal experience. People who were new to certain machines came away with hands-on experience of CMS machines, as well as troubleshooting advice from their peers in the industry who were experts in the day-to-day use of those machines. Over lunch or during breaks, you could hear people offering tips and advice to each other and trading contact information. These conversations were a huge value add for everyone attending, as they found networking opportunities that are hard to come by.
Ability to Demo
At a trade show, it would cost thousands of dollars to get the necessary permissions and setup to demo a CNC machine. But when you host a private event on a working shop floor, you have the freedom to demonstrate as many builds as you want. For the cost of materials and power, you can show your machines in action and build real projects of value together.
At the CMS event, everyone worked on a different project each of the four days. They were able to demonstrate a range of the machines’ capabilities, from a sculpted fireplace to a shower basin cut from a single block of stone.
And We Should Also Mention…
This event had one other thing going for it—fun. While trade shows can be stressful and overcrowded, a private event gives space for everyone to take a load off and have a good time. Since the CMS event was hosted in New Orleans, they were able to enjoy live music on Bourbon Street and fine dining downtown. In the morning they could start the day with mimosas in hand, and by lunchtime they’d be chowing down on crab.
An exclusive event like this builds real community, where everyone benefits from each other’s work. At Diversified Machine Systems, that’s the kind of community we want to be a part of.