Trade Shows: Why We Go


We attend a lot of trade shows, they’re a big investment of time, money and human resources — they’re also a vital part of our business. If you’re reading this, the same might be true for you and your company. To help, we developed an internal “Trade Show Best Management Practices” (TSBMPs) document to help us put our best foot forward at each show, in essence; to set a standard for our own performance. If you’re exhibiting at, or attending, trade shows this year, we encourage you to read this through. It might be helpful in your own preparation for your next show. Should we see you at our booth, we hope you’ll tell us how we’re doing and what we might do better or differently next time around. Whenever you visit us at a trade show, it’s our firm belief that you deserve a return on the investment of your valuable time. We welcome your feedback.

First & Foremost: Listen & Learn

Our primary goal at every tradeshow is to listen to, and learn from visitors to our booth. If we don’t learn about the challenges a prospective customer faces, we can’t possibly understand how our systems might help them solve their problems. To be sure, analyzing a stormwater facility can be a complex equation, taking into account atmospheric, fleet, rainwater and runoff disposition of pollutants, inbound/outbound (both forklift and vehicular) tracking of pollutants, and legacy material in the underground system. Add to this the challenge of accurate testing at mission critical points in the system, and one can appreciate how difficult it is to isolate a pollutant source, and treat stormwater effectively. That’s why we listen carefully, and ask questions (and follow-up questions) throughout our one-on-one interactions.

An “Earned Opportunity” To Inform & Educate

Only after listening carefully, and learning everything we can about our visitor’s challenge(s) have we “earned” the opportunity to share our perspective, and the unique features and competitive advantages of our products. People are often surprised to hear, for example, that all of our MTDs have patented testing ports; that our patented MetalZorb product is unique in the industry; and that we custom blend filtration media to solve specific filtration challenges. Every interaction is also an opportunity to anticipate future challenges a customer might face. For example, new permits increasingly call for lower bench-marking and higher water quality standards, so even if we help a permit holder achieve compliance under their current permit, we also anticipate how we can help them “up their game” in order to comply under the terms of a renewed permit.

“We send our best, most experience people to every trade show because we understand the value of the one-on-one interaction. We often learn about new and unique challenges from customers in our own “backyard” as well as challenges that might be unique to a different part of the country with ever changing and evolving regulatory and environmental conditions. When you visit us, you’ll find problem solving partners that approach each interaction with complete transparency and free sharing of knowledge and ideas. That’s a promise.”

Matthew Moulton, General Manager - CleanWay Environmental Partners, Inc.

The Trade Show Calendar

As you can see from the list below, our trade show schedule keeps us busy planning, producing, traveling or exhibiting virtually year-round. At the same time, we realize the commitment is vitally important. Trade shows give us the opportunity to learn, to network and to connect with our customers and prospects one-on-one.

If you attend any of the shows below, we look forward to seeing you. If you’ve thought about attending, and would like our perspective on the benefits of being an exhibitor or attendee, please click through to our contact page here, and we’ll be happy to relate our experiences and share our thoughts:

SWS Conference, Tinley Park, IL, November 13 – 15, 2018

NEBC Oregon, Portland, OR, December 11 - 12, 2018

NEBC Washington, Tacoma, WA, March 6, 2019

Waste Expo, Las Vegas, NV, May 6 – 9, 2019

Ohio Stormwater Conference, Sharonville, OH, May 8 – 10, 2019

NEBC Oregon, Salem, OR, June 19, 2019

StormCon, Atlanta, GA, August 18 – 22, 2019

WEFTEC, Chicago, IL, September 23 – 25, 2019

CASQA, Monterey, CA, October 7 – 9, 2019

Opportunity Assessment

As you know from your own trade show experience, each show has its own focus each year, its own audience, its own personality, and its own opportunity set. WEFTEC, for example, is one of the largest trade shows in the world for the stormwater industry, with attendees exceeding 20,000 each year. When one considers that WEFTEC membership is almost double that number, marketing to the membership base through the show’s digital offerings (email blasts, social media announcements, etc.) makes a lot of sense.

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When you reach potential customers through show channels, even if they won’t be attending the show, you are now on their “radar screen”, and you’ve created an opportunity for a future conversation. As an exhibitor, refining and adding to your booth keeps it fresh and creates unexpected opportunities. At WEFTEC18, we won the “Best Inline Booth” award for “clear messaging and benefit statement supported throughout the space”. The award was posted on the WEFTEC website and on their Twitter account, and that gave us an opportunity, post show, to engage in a social conversation. So while each show is an opportunity to engage one-on-one, in group settings and technical sessions in the physical space, it’s an opportunity to engage in the digital space as well — before, during and after the show. We take the time to look at the whole trade show mechanism, and discus internally the cost/benefit of investing in the communication channels offered by each show. In the case of digital opportunities, we look at how the show’s digital offerings (advertising, social media, email announcements, etc.) might tie into our own digital enterprise.

Our consistent attendance at the SWS Conference and our long standing relationship with Stormwater Solutions Magazine, both as an advertiser and a participant in their digital Storefront program is a good example of leveraging a long term relationship and linkage to digital opportunities associated with the Conference. We’ve found that it’s always a good idea to ask about existing customer programs, discounts and advertiser/show programs to leverage our advertising investment.

With over 25 years of experience, CleanWay Environmental Partners is dedicated to providing clients with affordable stormwater runoff solutions. Located in Portland, OR, our skilled staff is committed to serving customers nationwide with first-rate catch basin filters, downspout filtration units, and heavy metals extraction products. Call (800) 723-1373 to request a quote and to learn more about how we can help you comply with environmental regulations.