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5 Ways to Replace the Benefits of Trade Shows for Your Crew

COVID has wreaked havoc on annual conventions and trade shows the past few years, and the outlook isn’t looking much better for 2022. Before the pandemic, fire departments used these trade shows to gather information about new products, speak with product reps, get ideas about new equipment, and more. Going to market for a new fire truck without them has been difficult for many crews.

In your own department, you may be wondering how to replace the benefits of trade shows for your crew, and that’s an excellent question. Today, we’re going to talk about some ways you can recover these trade show opportunities through alternative channels.


Virtual Trade Shows

Amid the pandemic, many events have moved to a virtual setting. For fire chiefs, these are excellent opportunities to meet with numerous suppliers and also to socialize with other firefighters. Just because you’re not there in person doesn’t mean you don’t get to interact with other attendees. Virtual trade show technology allows attendees to display exhibits, visit other exhibits, attend seminars and keynote speeches, and even chat or talk live to others. Swap electronic business cards with the click of a button to save that data instantly in your database.

To help make virtual trade shows a reality, some convention centers, such as New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, are installing broadcasting centers. These are state-of-the-art facilities that help ensure remote attendees’ experiences are as strong as that of those attending in person. Because virtual trade shows are more cost effective for suppliers, you will also likely find a greater number of suppliers at a virtual trade show versus a live one. It’s a win-win.


Manufacturer Newsletters

Manufacturer newsletters are filled with valuable information for your department. For the latest products and industry trends, subscribe to the newsletters of some of your favorite manufacturers. This will also help give you ideas for new additions to your fleet. At Metalfab, we repurpose our best blog posts into our company newsletter so our subscribers get the highlights each quarter. You can subscribe to Metalfab’s newsletter on our website.

Face-to-Face Meetings

Although COVID has made face-to-face meetings few and far between, there are still opportunities to meet with manufacturers and suppliers in person. You can schedule meetings with your favorite suppliers by simply picking up the phone and making an appointment. If you are considering working with Metalfab, we will gladly meet you in our office or yours.

White Papers

A white paper is an advanced problem-solving guide that advocates a brand and lets you know why a product might be a good fit for you. It is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a problem you are having with a built-in, tailored solution. At Metalfab, we use white papers—in addition to our company blog—to educate fire chiefs and to promote our manufacturing components and processes.

Company Websites

Most fire truck manufacturers have a company website you can visit to view their latest builds and learn more about their company. Perusing company websites is a great way to filter through manufacturers and to pinpoint one that is compatible with your department and aligned with your crew’s values. If you aren’t sure of the addresses for your manufacturers’ websites, just ask!

Social Media

Social media is another great way for manufacturers to keep in touch with fire chiefs and firefighters. At Metalfab, we use our social media presence to share product and industry updates, tell you about current events, spread industry-related news, and promote safety in our communities. You can find us on Facebook @metalfabfiretrucks.

Use Metalfab as a Resource

Just because trade shows as we once knew them are no longer an option doesn’t mean you can’t find the right manufacturer with ease. If you are in the market for a new unit, consider all of these options to help you find the perfect fit.

As you can see, Metalfab is a fabulous resource to have when in the product development stages of the next addition to your fleet. With knowledgeable and friendly staff, a blog filled to the brim with valuable fire service information, and an incredible team of suppliers behind us, there’s really no reason not to use Metalfab as a resource for your next custom fire truck. Reach out to us at 1-800-561-0012 to start throwing ideas around today.