July 14, 2024 1:00 PM
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As_The_Saws_Turn Jim Obermeyer
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As The Saw Turns: Cow Bellies and Jet Fuel

by Jim Obermeyer

One of the things I have always liked about this industry is the great opportunity we have to learn about other industries and other companies. Part of the process of helping our clients achieve positive results at their tradeshows and business events involves learning as much as we can about what they do and how they do it. Most of the time this learning takes place in a conference room or occasionally on a plant tour.

A Working Dairy Research Farm

I was once asked to offer recommendations to an existing client on how they could improve their VIP client tours. We jumped at the opportunity. Then we learned that the VIPs were dairy farmers, and the tours took place on a 1,200-acre, fully functional dairy research farm.

We were invited to spend a day with this group as they heard presentations on everything from improving heifer performance to large animal metabolism to herd health to composting technology. And then we were given an in-depth tour of the farm and all of the research facilities, including the calving operation, metabolism labs, feed barns and compost processing areas. I saw—and held—parts of a cow that I never thought I would be near.

After a full day immersed in how a dairy farm operates and how a dairy farmer improves the milk-producing performance of his herd, I had a new appreciation for their business and a better understanding of what it would take for us to help our client with their program for these guys. The bottom line is that I was grateful that our client allowed us to participate in this program. It really did help us help them.

We All Try to Learn Everything

As much as we all try to learn everything we can about our clients through internet research, meetings with our clients and other industry-specific contacts or industry shows and events, sometimes it takes an immersive experience to really understand the issues our clients are dealing with.

I have had other clients in the business aviation industry and have worked with them for many years. I really enjoy working with these clients and have spent a good bit of time reading and studying this industry. I have toured several related businesses and talked with numerous companies in the industry. But an opportunity to have an in-depth experience similar to the dairy farm has not presented itself and may never. So, we use whatever tools we have to learn as much as we can so that we can provide value to our clients.

In doing that we must apply all we know about our business to the issues and challenges our clients are facing. Thats where our expertise comes in. The more we know about what works and what doesnt, the easier it is for us to apply those solutions to the challenges we find in our clients’ programs.

Improving Our Own Knowledge

What this all comes down to is improving our own knowledge of our industry. It doesnt help for us to spend a day on a dairy farm learning about a clients business if we cant bring a level of experience and expertise in our business to the table. Weve got to stay sharp. And that means getting involved in this industry. Listening to the experts, talking to our peers, being a part of industry associations and attending industry events such as ExhibitorLIVE and EDPA ACCESS. At least at these events, though, you dont have to hold the insides of a cow in your hands. That was a very special moment.

See you on the show floor.

Jim Obermeyer has been in the exhibits and events industry 40 years, both as a corporate tradeshow manager and exhibit house owner. He can be reached at jobermeyer903@gmail.com

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