Sept. 20 2017 02:25 PM

Exhibitors get creative in utilizing the nation’s biggest dairy trade show to launch new products.

The author and her husband work in partnership with family on a 100-cow dairy in St. Charles, Ill.
A record 139 products debuted at World Dairy Expo in 2016, giving visitors lots to see and exhibitors a lot to compete with.

Throughout its 50-year history, World Dairy Expo has provided an unparalleled stage for dairy companies to introduce new products. At the 2016 World Dairy Expo, dairy companies introduced a record-setting 139 new products — all designed to advance the dairy business.

With 881 companies exhibiting in 2016, sticking out among this crowd can be a challenging task for exhibitors, especially when launching a new product.

An inviting environment

It has become important for companies to find creative ways to connect with the audience of more than 70,000 dairy producers and influencers (including veterinarians, nutritionists, and consultants) who all might be looking for a new innovation to incorporate on their dairy operation.

Milking equipment company DeLaval has exhibited at World Dairy Expo since the beginning and has utilized the show to launch numerous products. In recent years, it has introduced robotic technology like the Teat Spray Robot, farm management solutions like DelPro 5.0 and DeLaval Body Condition Scoring camera, and supplies like the DeLaval Clover liner.

In 2016, DeLaval utilized its booth to introduce the brand promise “We live milk” to World Dairy Expo attendees. Mac Canali, DeLaval's former marketing and communications manager for the North America market area, explained, “It encompasses the essence of what DeLaval represents and ties into our vision of making sustainable food production possible through innovations in the areas of herd health, milk quality, and productivity.”

To engage with attendees and create a dialogue surrounding “We live milk,” DeLaval set up a video area in its booth to capture what customers felt the brand promise meant to them. Canali was impressed with the participation, and DeLaval periodically posted the videos collected during the show on its social media channel.

Canali emphasizes World Dairy Expo is an important opportunity for DeLaval to build relationships by facilitating conversation. “It’s an opportunity for local and global dairy producers to meet with us. We strive to create an environment that is welcoming to those walking through the building. We want them to stop by — look around — and ask any questions they have about DeLaval and how we can help work with them on their dairy farm,” he explained.

Technology helps DeLaval achieve this inviting, open booth layout. The company has introduced touch screens and monitors in the booth to make it more visual. It reduces the square footage needed for equipment and creates open areas for conversations. DeLaval also utilizes a tablet-based application to collect information from customer conversations. This information helps DeLaval gauge areas of interest and provides information for specific follow-ups for individual customers.

“Our hope is to showcase to the market that we are listening to their demands for innovative technology that will help them operate more sustainably and efficiently each and every day,” said Canali.

Every corner of the globe

With 3,108 international guests from 102 countries at last year’s show, World Dairy Expo earns its reputation as the event where the global dairy industry meets. “We’re not only connecting with our dairy customers but also capitalizing on the international market at World Dairy Expo,” Katelin Brown, Patz marketing manager, explained. Patz invites the global audience into its booth with a “welcome” sign translated into 33 different languages.

Throughout its nearly 70-year history, Patz has developed a wide variety of feed and manure handling products focused on saving time and increasing efficiency for customers. The company uses World Dairy Expo to create a hands-on opportunity for the global dairy industry to see its new products. In 2016, this included four new products — Sydex Progressive Cavity Pump, 1200 Series XH Trailer Vertical Mixers, 1800N Series Stationary Vertical Mixers, and liquid manure tankers.

Months ahead of World Dairy Expo, Patz works to create awareness with dealers and customers that there will be new equipment on display in the booth. “We want to create a draw but keep our competitive edge as we move from the proverbial drawing board, to testing, to production of the final product,” Brown explained.

World Dairy Expo reflects the culmination of these efforts, as Patz unveils its new innovations by displaying them in its booth. “This way, everyone walking by will see our new products and have the opportunity to ask our booth staff questions or take a closer look,” she added.

In addition to having the products on display, Patz has detailed information available on all of the new products. “We create new literature — in seven different languages — to hand out and make sure our website and social media channels are updated with product information,” said Brown. This ensures when customers are looking to learn more, the information is there for them.

Launching a new product is always exciting, Brown explained. “We gather feedback from our dealers and customers (during the launch at World Dairy Expo and throughout the year) for product improvement and new product ideas. We enjoy hearing what our customers want and making it happen,” she shared.

Connect beyond the booth

TechMix has been a leader in animal hydration products for more than 30 years. Its product portfolio includes Bovine BlueLite — one of the most recognized hydration products for cattle on the market today.

The company chose to introduce its new branding and company focus on animal hydration at last year’s World Dairy Expo. Tammy Howe, TechMix marketing leader, explained, “World Dairy Expo is one of the biggest shows in the dairy industry, and people are there to learn. We wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to build a better understanding of who TechMix is and how our products can help during the various stress events that dairy cows and calves experience.”

In addition to creating new trade show graphics and updating product materials, TechMix sought out creative ways to reach attendees at the show. TechMix held a press event at World Dairy Expo to reintroduce the company to the media and help others understand the importance of animal hydration. This created great relationships with media and established TechMix as a resource for topics including calf hydration during scouring events, the importance of hydration during calving, and the nutrients that fresh cows need to transition successfully.

TechMix also sponsored the fountain drink cups in the 10 Centerplate concession stands located throughout the World Dairy Expo grounds. Howe says the 14,000 cups circulating during the show served as a “walking billboard” to help drive people to the booth and provided a creative connection with what TechMix does best — hydration.

Howe considers the launch a great success. “We received so many great comments on the fountain drink sponsorship. Our customers loved it and understood the connection to the dairy business,” she said.

World Dairy Expo also helps exhibitors with new product launches. Kayla Sonnenburg, World Dairy Expo trade show manager, explained, “Commercial exhibitors who are launching new products are encouraged to get the word out through the ‘Innovation Unveiled’ page on the World Dairy Expo website.” The page was created in 2014 and is a free service for commercial exhibitors. Sonnenburg added that attendees are encouraged to browse the page prior to attending the show.

“The layout is visually driven with the product name, photo, description, and company name easily seen,” she explained. “When visitors click on a product of interest, the details are enlarged, with a link to the exhibiting company’s booth space location.”

While the complete list of products can only be found on the World Dairy Expo website, new products are selected to be featured in the daily newspaper — the Expo Daily Edition. New products will also be featured on Channel 4 — a brand new station for 2017, launching exclusively on ExpoTV.