This article was originally written for and published in Agri-Marketing.
Over the course of my career, I’ve attended far too many events to count. I’ve probably forgotten more than I remember, but there is one that always sticks in my mind: My first experience at NAFB Trade Talk in 2011.
That year, I was new to the agency, my client was new to PR and neither of us had attended the event before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. One Kansas City BBQ dinner with clients and 20+ interviews later, I was sold and have been back every year since.
For those who are not as familiar with the event, here are seven reasons why I continue to encourage our clients to participate.
1. Everybody’s doing it!
Each November, more than 100 farm broadcasters from across the country descend on Kansas City for the annual NAFB convention, which includes Trade Talk. No other event gathers this volume of broadcasters. They come armed with an array of recording devices, cameras and business cards, ready to tackle farm broadcasting’s version of speed dating.
As a result, approximately 100 industry organizations, participate in Trade Talk. This tells us two things: First, this event presents an unmatched opportunity to reach growers, ranchers and producers. Second, if your organization or client has competition of any sorts, you can bet they will be there.
Since there are a limited number of highly coveted booth spaces available, I always recommend clients work well in advance to secure a booth.
2. Get in front of audiences at a key time.
There is roughly a two-month window between November and January when interviews from Trade Talk will air. In some instances, broadcasters conduct live interviews, but in most cases the interviews are pre-recorded.
When it comes to helping clients influence key audiences, this is the ideal time of year for such a media relations opportunity. It coincides with annual planning for many farmers, delivers timely information for year-end buying decisions and gets to farmers when they’re not racing Mother Nature to their fields.
3. You’ll have tangible results.
As a career agency guy, I’m always on the hunt for ways I can gather meaningful data and deliver insights that show how PR helps drive business results. This can be a challenge, since securing earned media coverage is never guaranteed.
I appreciate how the Trade Talk format is conducive to merchandising these efforts. It allows PR professionals the ability to easily track who, what, where and when, as a result of the interviews conducted at the event.
This is where I will give a well-deserved pat on the back to the broadcasters and sales professionals who take the time to send interview clips to exhibitors after the event. This is certainly not expected, but often happens and is incredibly helpful and most appreciated.
4. It requires minimal investment.
Leave the headaches of planning an elaborate booth and staffing it with a small army for another time. A simple branded presence, two spokespeople and a PR staffer or two are all that are needed to make the most out of this event.
A simple backdrop or pull-up banner is more than plenty when it comes to branding, and a set of tables and chairs for spokespeople and broadcasters makes for a great place to have conversations. Pro tip: Always bring printouts with spokesperson bios and interview questions to help broadcasters when conducting interviews.
5. It’s quick and easy.
From start to finish, Trade Talk lasts 6.5 hours. I bet some of you spent more time tailgating last weekend than that. Most times, client spokespeople can make it a one-day trip. Given the format, there is a lot less standing around than a typical trade show, putting our client’s valuable time to good use.
The NAFB team does a great job of keeping exhibitors on task and on time with deliverables. Whether it’s related to Trade Talk, specifically, or another aspect of the conference, they have you covered.
6. The food in KC is top notch.
There are countless options for fantastic food and drink, which helps build relationships and makes the experience more enjoyable for clients. BTW, make your dinner reservations early.
7. It’s fun!
The people at NAFB Trade Talk are there for business, but it’s impossible to overlook the smiles, handshakes and hugs that warm up the Westin Crown Center.
I hope this list was helpful for understanding the opportunities that Trade Talk presents for ag industry organizations. Please feel free to reach out if our team can be of assistance with the event in the future.