Choosing the right trade show to boost your business is an essential part of your ongoing marketing strategy. The right show can really take your operations to the next level, while the wrong one can be, at best, a waste of time and effort. If you have a business catering to sport fishing in any regard, the ICAST convention – the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association, is the trade show to attend.
At the ICAST show, you’ll both see and exhibit the latest developments and innovation in apparel, accessories and gear for modern sport fishermen, as part of the industry’s cornerstone show. Learn about the ICAST 2018 conference, the largest sportfishing trade show in the world, and how you can take advantage of your booth appearance there.
American Sportfishing Association
The conference is sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the industry trade association for sportfishing. First established in 1933 to represent the business interests of tackle manufacturers, it has since evolved and grown to be a representative and advocate group for the entire sportfishing community.
The American Sportfishing Association exists to support the interests of hundreds of different organizations, agencies and businesses and to champion the entire industry. Members include everyone from individual fishermen, to state wildlife agencies to federal management agencies, to boating and sportfishing manufacturers, conservation groups and more.
One of the ASA’s primary means of funding, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades is the seminal show for the sportfishing industry, the largest of its kind in the entire world. It’s being held from July 10-13, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. It offers a wealth of events that are of import to the industry, and if you’re a manufacturer or vendor of apparel, goods or equipment for the fishing industry, this is certainly the place you want to be.
From the many “Super Tuesday” events, through the new product showcase, showroom floor demonstrations and press conferences to the State of the Industry Breakfast, there is a wealth of opportunities here to engage, build your client list, and take your business to the next level.
A New Location
It’s important to note that the convention is moving this year. Ever since it’s been in Orlando, the convention has been held in the West Building of the Orange County Convention Center; this year it’s moving to the North/South Building. The On the Water product exhibits are still going to remain in the same place.
Super Tuesday Events
Super Tuesday is one of the most exciting days of the convention. The centerpiece starts at 10 a.m. with the ICAST On the Water event, where exhibitors demonstrate their product outdoors; the event is a special one, open only to IFTD and ICAST buyers and media. The ICAST Cup, of course, is always an attraction. The Industry Bass Fishing Tournament on Lake Toho is always a great time.
Of course, there’s also the Bass & Birdies Classic Golf and Fishing Tournament, held annually the day before the show officially opens. It’s open to all ASA members and registered attendees of the con, and part of the proceeds go to support Keep America Fishing. Finally, Super Tuesday caps off at 5:00 with the New Product Showcase Preview Reception, where members vote for the “Best of Category” in over 25 different product areas.
Should I Exhibit?
Any company who is a manufacturer or distributor in the sportfishing industry, or who is a media company that deals with the same, can benefit from this trade show. Whether you produce apparel, outdoor accessories, fishing gear, boats, or other related activities, the show will open a wealth of opportunities. Here you can promote new products, network with other contacts, meet potential new clients, obtain media exposure, and see what’s going on at the international scale.
It’s the perfect way to grow your business, sell your product, and see what the competition is up to. By joining the ASA and visiting the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, you’ll get access to some of the most respected industry leaders from over 80 countries all over the world, and engage with the best buyers around.
The Benefits of Exhibiting
Exhibiting at the trade show opens the opportunity to meet and engage with thousands of other dealers and hundreds of media representatives. It’s the ideal way to expand your business network, going from local to national or even international in scope. To become an exhibitor, you must first be a member of the ASA, and you can complete the membership application right from the show’s website.
From there, you can take advantage of a wealth of resources, read an exhibitor prospectus, review the exhibitor contract, show rules and more. At the show, you’ll create a new pipeline of outstanding leads for your company, you’ll network with the movers and shakers in the industry, building relationships that last a lifetime, and you’ll meet thousands of potential new clients. You’ll get instant feedback on your products, and even reach new international markets.
Getting the Most from ICAST
Of course, attending any trade show is a major investment, in money, time and commitment. You want to get the best possible return on that investment, and that means doing the convention right. It’s quite simply not enough to just set up a table and be there. With so many competitors there, you need to do something to make sure that you stand out. At the same time, however, you need to remember the most important rule: enjoy yourself.
If you treat the convention as more work, your potential clients will see it. You need to have your focus on the convention and all the things going on around you. Be tuned in and present every step of the way. Don’t think about the office, about your next deadline or about what you’re not getting done. Your networking efforts depend on you being focused and in the present.
Get Out and About
Sure, after a day in the exhibitor’s hall you’ll be tired, but if you simply grab food and head back to your hotel, you’re not accomplishing anything. You need to be engaged with the convention. Take on some extracurriculars—meetings, seminars, receptions and other group activities. If you can, work on hosting a few of your own. This will really boost the visibility of your business and improve opportunities for growth and networking.
Get involved. If you can, get on panels and speak about who you are, what you do and how it benefits the industry. Present yourself as a knowledgeable and approachable expert. It will draw people to your booth.
Be Visible Outside the Convention
While you’re taking part in the ICAST festivities, be visible on social media. Post regularly, and if you can, live cast from the con. This will remind people you’re around, will engage your clients, and will encourage visitation at your trade booth. Remember that visibility is the entire reason you’re there. It’s not about selling your product—at least not right here. It’s about building clients and expanding your network.
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants while you’re at the con. Plan and be prepared in advance. Know which events you want to attend, which events you need to attend, and keep a list of the people you need to meet. If you can, schedule those meetings in advance. Just like your daily business, the more preparation and pre-planning you do, the more you’ll get out of the convention.
Be sure to check out our Trade Show Preparation PDF for an easy to follow guide to planning a successful trade show!
Yes, there are a lot of your direct competitors at the convention. There are also, however, a lot of complementary businesses and you can use that to your advantage. Ally with them; offer an exchange of professional courtesy—you’ll direct people to them if they direct people to you. Even if there’s someone who is a nominal competitor you can take advantage of this. If, for example, they offer a product you don’t, and you offer something they don’t, you can agree to exchange references for those products.
Have the Right Giveaways
Giveaways at your booth are essential to draw people in. However, avoid the usual keychain bottle openers and can cozies. While these are fun, they’ll just get tossed aside. Give something out that’s useful. Bottles of water with your company logo will certainly bring people to the booth. Flash drives with your company logo on them, pre-loaded with your product catalog and information are a great idea. How about inexpensive, but effective, fishing lures?
Create an Interactive Booth Experience
Of course, the best thing you can do is to create a booth experience that is unforgettable. That’s where Xibit Solutions comes into the picture. We are here to help you put together the most outstanding trade show experience possible. We can help you plan and design the perfect experience, from the things you offer to the perfect lighting, from setup and break down to custom graphic design.
If you’re ready to get the most out of your ICAST 2018 appearance, contact us to get started today!