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Tier 1 and Tier 2 Trade Shows – What’s The Difference?

Many people know that popular trade shows in a lot of larger cities are categorized by their industry. When looking into these shows either as a spectator or as an exhibitioner, you generally choose which ones to attend based on the industry that you can relate to the most. Aside from these shows being split up by industry, there are other categories that they can be split up into as well. You may have heard the terms tier 1 and tier 2 in your scouting out of trade shows to attend and may have wondered what the difference was between the two. You may have also wondered how that differs from the categories of being separated by industry. In order to understand the different categories of trade shows, as they are categorized in tiers 1 and 2, it is important to know where those terms come from in the business world and how they relate to these world-wide expositions. 

The Supply Chain

Every business, no matter how small, has a supply chain. Obviously the smaller businesses will have a smaller supply change, but they all have one nonetheless. Supply chains are essential in getting the final and finished products off to consumers. Within these chains, there are different levels of tiers. These tiers also have a lot to do with your closeness to suppliers and how they engage with your specific business. Tier 2 is when a product is still in the stages of being completed, or in a raw or semi-manufactured state. Tier 1 often refers to when the product is in its final stage and ready to go to a consumer. There are more tiers that can go into the process of creating a product in a supply chain. It depends on how long the chain is and how often you, personally, need to outsource. 

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The Trade Show Tiers

Now, how does this relate to the tiers that are described in different trade show events? 

Tier 1 Shows

Tier 1 trade shows are often referred to as the major shows, or the more strategic shows to attend. Many times these tier 1 shows have corporate marketing involved as these are your “end product” and the goal-completing type vendors compared to vendors selling goods to create other products. These shows are typically larger with many different products, brands, and larger and more elaborate trade show displays for the company that they are representing. 

Tier 2 Shows

These trade shows are, more likely than not, considered regional shows – as they are smaller and normally cover a smaller region. The vendors included in these types of shows are more suppliers than the other companies that make the finished product. Many of the exhibits exhibited at tier 2 shows are subcontractors for many of the vendors’ businesses you would likely see in tier 1 trade shows. 

Choose Which Tier Trade Show Represents You

If you know that your business mostly deals in raw materials and you subcontract for many larger businesses, tier 2 shows are more likely going to be within your interest range. If this is true for your company at a more regional level, you can gain a lot of insights by attending these shows and finding business partners or being able to scope out your competition. If your business deals with the final products for most consumers and more on a national level, then the tier 1 shows will help give you a better understanding of your category. Whichever tier seems more up your alley, research which level-tier trade shows are going to work the best for you, dust off your trade show displays and go exhibit!

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