Well, I’m closing in on the third major conference that I’ve exhibited at… and each one gets better, but they all have a lot of up front headaches and tasks to complete. Last year, my partner took care of all these tasks, but this year I’m covering it… For those of you with an idea and you’re thinking about doing a tradeshow, here are some of the tasks that you’ll need to be prepared to tackle.
- Finding people to work the booth. Now, if you’re a decent sized company this isn’t a big deal, when you’re small like I am, finding people to help that aren’t in the middle of a project go-live can be a challenge. Plus don’t forget there is travel, corporate shirts, and if the people aren’t familiar with your stuff, some level of training..,. no shortage of work there.
- General conference requirements. So many silly little things that take time, like booth selection (critical), insurance requirements, registration, press releases and general administrative stuff that you have to do in order to exhibit.
- Booth design. Another big one. For SAPPHIRE, it’s a little nicer because they do the graphics and stuff for you, but you still need to design what you want and they print it for you.
- Swag… after our first conference, like it or not, it’s a requirement. if you don’t have a toy to give away, very few people are going to give you the time of day. Incredible how a $1 trinket brings people in.
- Company shirts for your crew. Another simple one, but still needed.
- Sales pitch… what are you really trying to accomplish. it’s great to collect names, but at the end of the day it’s about sales. If I just wanted names, I could go to a list broker. What I need is connections… true human interactions. And since you have a limited time to make that connection you need to know your game plan. For me, it’s tough because I know the products so well, I get excited about “features”. But I need to remember to focus on benefits… so many pieces like that. then of course, making sure your team is on the same page.
- Then don’t forget the logistics of getting everything to the conference. you buy all that swag in advance… but you need to get it to Orlando.
- Try to get a list of who’s going. I’ve discovered this is tough. with all the privacy laws/contacts, no one wants to give out information. This unfortunately makes it tough to target certain companies or certain people. I believe I’ll get a list of companies that will be attending, and the list of speakers… but it won’t be easy to prepare in advance. (good thing I’m good at improvising).
Trying to stay on top of all of this can be exhausting. Especially when I still have my day job requiring way more of my time than I’d like 🙂 Anyway, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the level of effort required to setup for the conference.
BTW. if you can make it to Orlando, I’d like to see you. Booth 495B. Thanks for reading,