Welcome to episode 293 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Matt Dobrowolski from Envoy B2B, Rumpl’s Patrick O’Neill, buyer Jill Jacobson from Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, and Michael Stevens from sales agency True North. We talk about Trade Shows, what’s working, how they facilitate buying and selling, and what we can improve on.
Brought to you by EnvoyB2B
Jill Jacobson from Bill and Paul’s Sporthaus
Patrick O’Neill from Rumpl
Mike Stevens from True North
Matt Dobrowolski from Envoy B2B
What are the most impactful shows for your business?
Mike Stevens: It seems it always fluctuates. I find that they’re all important in different facets. My end goal is to show up and have the best representation for our brand partners. But also meet our buyers and the owners and where they need to be seen and where it’s the best opportunity currently, what’s leading for us is the regional trade shows.
Patrick O’Neill: We view it in a couple of different ways. Big national trade shows as a small brand entering the outdoor industry have been crucial to getting our footing and making connections, whether with, maybe potential hires, sales agencies, retail partnerships, other brand partnerships at Rumpl. We do a lot of brand collaborations, so shows like OR have been absolutely vital and our ability to create those connections.
Looking forward we see what Mike sees. There’s more business, actual transactions of dollars happening at the regional shows. And it’s more focused and we can have those one-on-one conversations and spend more time.
Jill Jacobson: As a buyer, I completely agree. The regional shows are where we are working. It’s a working show and it’s appointment after appointment. It’s where we’re looking at everything where we’re deciding everything. Also, we do have some in-store and there are some showrooms here. We’re fortunate, there are a lot of people who in our territory are pretty low key are located very close to where we are so we can do a lot in-house just going to their showroom or going to their house, or they rent a hotel room.
We go to the national shows. It’s important for us, for me anyway, that’s where I find something that’s a little more unusual or different than regional shows,
Matt Dobrowolski: I agree with everyone here in the sense of, the impact of these shows is quantifiable in all aspects. I definitely see, for myself, the national trade shows are the places where I’m going to see the new and up-and-coming brands. The relevance of the A-type brands is less, I think more and more as we’re moving forward on these national shows. Their marketing presence is already so strong that, we’re seeing less of an impact of them on the trade show floor.
I think on the business end of it, though, the shows that are truly quantifying themselves, as far as, the retailers investing to go, the brands investing today is exactly what both Mike and Jill are talking about. It’s working shows where we’re actually writing orders. We’re actually going to merchandise. Those are the places where business is being made.
What would you like to see for the future of trade shows?
It’s changing so fast. It needs to be planned better for the safety of everyone first and then business, and then whatever the order is that you put after that. But really we need to put safety first.
Mike Stevens: Oh man. I really enjoy all the different trade show shows there are now. So as a brand representative, as someone that’s connecting with retailers, I don’t know, I don’t think there’s anything from my side that I necessarily need to be fixed other than the fact that, safety is first.
So at True North, we haven’t been to a regional show or to Outdoor Retailer since COVID started. And we’ve found other ways to represent our brands and meet our customer’s needs. So we’re excited as a team to get back in person. It’s all about people, right? That’s why we do this. It’s the outdoor industry, but it’s all about the people and it’s such a great community. Let’s just make it be safe and let’s get rolling again.
Follow up with our Guests
Patrick O’Neill- firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Jacobson- Jill@billandpauls.com
Mike Stevens- email@example.com